TO: Executive Vice Presidents, Chancellors, Vice Presidents, Vice Chancellors, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors and Heads of Schools, Divisions, Departments and Offices
FROM: Gerry McCartney, VP for Information Technology and CIO
DATE: July 1, 2017
RE: Dr. Brent Drake, Chief Data Officer
Dr. Brent Drake Purdue’s first Chief Data Officer and leader of our OIRAE group has accepted the position of Vice Provost, Decision Support at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. To lose such a valued and respected colleague is always a sad moment but we are delighted that his leadership and national reputation have enabled him for this excellent opportunity. Brent’s last day is July 28, 2017.
Brent has worked for Purdue since 2001 with the last 3½ years as CDO. His leadership was clear in the creation of our Data Dashboards which delivers useful data to campus decision-makers by being visually appealing, highly interactive and easily accessible. Brent shaped the development of the Institutional Data Analytics Platform (IDAP), using data of actual student behavioral markers. With IDAP, we built the student facing application “Forecast” that allows students to view their own data and so they can see how that relates to their success, and to nudge them towards more proactive behavior. Brent was involved with the Business Intelligence efforts which developed standards for the broader community and encouraged the community to prioritize the BI work we do to better create a data driven environment. Finally, Brent was a member of the “University Innovation Alliance” a multi-institutional coalition which provides a broader context to how we can help Purdue students be more successful, particularly high risk students (low income and/or 1st generation students.) Each of these contributions is significant in its own right, taken together they form an impressive body of work which has made Brent a very attractive candidate for institutions looking to imitate Purdue’s widely recognized success around data analysis and management.
But not only has Brent provided these extraordinary technical achievements, he has also been a wonderful colleague, energetic, approachable and fully engaged with the day-to-day mission of the University. An outstanding communicator and a reliable teammate, Brent brought the ideal combination for a leader in a technical-service organization.
Like all good leaders, Brent attracted talent so we have several very strong internal candidates and I expect we will be able to identify a new Chief Data Officer before Brent leaves.