Blye Frank, PhD, is dean of the Faculty of Education and a professor of Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia. A scholar and advocate for social justice and equity with over four decades working in education, Dean Frank is an experienced educator and administrator who brings a strong commitment to excellence in research, teaching, and academic leadership. He has an active research career and is a recognized expert in the field of gender studies with academic interests that include masculinity and the sociology of boys’ and men’s health.
What inspires you to lead?
I made the decision to take on the role of dean in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia (UBC) because I was inspired both by the Faculty and UBC more generally. What continues to inspire me is the environment in the Faculty, and at UBC—great people with whom to work and great students, whether those are undergraduate students doing the BEd or the masters and doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows.
What makes the Faculty of Education an exciting place for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows?
It is an exceptional faculty doing outstanding research. Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked our Faculty 13th in the globe this year, tying with Columbia Teacher's College. We offer a first-class academic, scholarly environment for our graduate students and we also have faculty who are excellent citizens with whom graduate students can work. As our Indigenous scholars and community members would say, it is all about good relations. I hope that our graduate students find our Faculty an exciting place to work in terms of scholarship and a great place to work in terms of good relations.
What achievement related to graduate students or postdoctoral fellows are you most proud of?
Our graduate students and postdocs make innovative contributions to research and scholarship. We have 1298 master’s students, 386 doctoral students and 140 supervisors. You can imagine a number of those doctoral students go on to academic careers in higher education and continue to make significant contribution to research, scholarship and teaching. But many of our graduate students, both masters and doctoral, pursue a wide range of careers as researchers, working in government, working in healthcare, and make considerable contributions to the area in which they choose to work.
What would you consider is most needed to further advance graduate or postdoctoral education at UBC?
There are two major factors needed to further advance graduate or postdoctoral education here at UBC. One is enabling students to have an experience with us that they enjoy. We aspire to have our graduate students feel that they are part of a community in which they can participate, in which they enjoy their interactions. The second factor is funding. As in life, if you are happy and well-funded, then you are okay. I feel the same with our graduate population. If they enjoy working, studying and researching in the Faculty and we have funding to support them, they are empowered to succeed.
What are your priorities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in your Faculty?
Appropriate supervision is a priority in the Faculty of Education for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. It is about fit. Graduate students and supervisors must work well together. Second, achieving appropriate funding through a variety of mechanisms for graduate students is a priority. Increasing the application and success rate for our faculty members applying for research funds will also provide further support for our graduate students.
How do you envision your graduate student and postdoc alumni will contribute to society (or are contributing now)? How is their preparation helping them to do that?
The Faculty of Education has the second largest number of alumni of any faculty at UBC. There are roughly 52,000 alumni (including undergraduate students). While students are here, we demonstrate the value of continuing to be part of our community, even though they may be currently living in Hong Kong or Penticton. We hold a number of alumni events across the globe every year. They are my ambassadors throughout the world.