John Bravman, the next president of Bucknell University, is currently the Freeman-Thornton Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Stanford University. He is the Bing Centennial Professor of Materials Science and Engineering; a Professor of Electrical Engineering, by courtesy; and the founding Dean of Stanford's Freshman-Sophomore Residential College.
Born in 1957, Bravman grew up in New York City and on Long Island. He entered Stanford as a freshman in 1975, and completed his B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering in 1979. He remained at Stanford for his graduate education in materials science, completing his M.S. in 1981 and his Ph.D. in 1984. His thesis work comprised structural analyses of silicon-silicon dioxide interfaces.
While completing his doctorate Bravman was appointed to an Assistant Professorship in his department. He was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 1991, and to Full Professor in 1995. Since 2001 he has been Professor, by courtesy, of Electrical Engineering. Bravman has held several administrative positions and appointments at Stanford, including Department Chair from 1996 to 1999, and Senior Associate Dean in the School of Engineering from 1993 to 2001. In the spring of 1999 he was elected Chair of the Faculty Senate, but by policy vacated that position when he was appointed, later that year, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. In 1999 he also established a two-year residential college, Stanford's first, which he still serves as Dean.
Bravman is currently Co-Chair of Stanford's accreditation reaffirmation process, conducted under the auspices of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. He is a member of the President's Executive Cabinet and an ex-officio member of the Faculty Senate. Bravman has written and taught primarily in the fields of materials structure and analysis, thin film mechanical phenomena, microelectronic reliability, and high temperature superconductivity. Early in his career, he pioneered new applications of transmission electron microscopy to various studies of thin film structures, laying the foundations for research based on both the development of novel techniques and on their application to technologically important materials systems, mostly within the microelectronic domain. He is the coauthor of over 160 scholarly publications. Bravman has won numerous awards as a teacher and advisor, including the Walter J. Gores Award, Stanford University's highest teaching honor.
Bravman has been active in serving the scholarly community through work on various government panels, editorial boards, and scientific societies. He was a member or chair of national review committees at Sandia National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for over a decade. Bravman has served the Materials Research Society in one or more capacities for more than twenty years, including as President, in 1994. He is also a highly sought technical consultant, and has been engaged by major law firms across the country as an expert witness in numerous intellectual property, product liability, and trade secret arbitration and litigation matters.
As Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Bravman has led a far-ranging transformation of Stanford's undergraduate experience. He nurtured, built, and/or manages programs that bring faculty and students together, in small groups, through seminars, overseas studies, and undergraduate research; that provide instruction for all undergraduates, through required core-courses in the humanities and in newly-developed pedagogy in writing and oral presentation; that are establishing, for the first time, a comprehensive advising infrastructure for all undergraduates; that reinvigorate Stanford's system of residential education; and that work with all seven of Stanford's School Deans to maintain and extend Stanford's excellence in undergraduate education. He represents the university administration on the Parent's Advisory Board, and has spoken on hundreds occasions for the Office of Development, the Stanford Alumni Association, and the Office of Undergraduate Admission.
Issues of access and retention have also been a focus of Bravman's attention. He created the Stanford Summer Engineering Academy more than a decade ago, a program designed for entering Stanford undergraduates from under-resourced school districts. He has worked closely with the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid to attract and recruit students from all backgrounds, and serves on the University's Diversity Cabinet.
Bravman's work with the Office of Development has rapidly expanded over the past decade. He played a pivotal role in the Campaign for Undergraduate Education, which raised over 1.1 billion dollars and which reignited the donor community's support for Stanford's undergraduate mission.
He was a member of the President Hennessy's Needs Assessment Task Force, and is now engaged in the Stanford Challenge, the university's 4.3 billion dollar capital campaign that grew out of that task force. He regularly meets with some of the university's most dedicated supporters, speaks to groups of all sizes around the nation and the globe, and has been successful in motivating and soliciting both those with established records of support and those who are new to significant philanthropy.
Bravman is married to Dr. Wendelin Wright, the Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Santa Clara University. Together they enjoy entertaining students, faculty, and alumni in their campus residence, where they host scores of official events each year. Bravman has two grown sons, and enjoys cooking, reading, photography, and travel. He's a devoted fan of Stanford Athletics, and enjoys golf and bicycling.