Vishwanath "Vish" Prasad, executive dean and distinguished professor in the College of Engineering and Computing at Florida International University in Miami, will join UNT as vice president for research effective Oct. 22.
A recognized scholar and researcher who is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Prasad brings a demonstrated ability to lead a vibrant research program to UNT, a student-centered public research university and Texas' fourth largest with more than 34,000 students.
"We have a bold vision for our future research agenda," says President Gretchen M. Bataille. "Dr. Prasad's experience in securing funding for research programs and developing partnerships with industry, and his commitment to attracting a diverse student population into the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines, make him an excellent fit for UNT. Our faculty members are engaged in research and creative activities that make a difference for our communities. With strong leadership, that foundation will grow and we will be able to make a bigger impact on our state, nation and globe."
As chief research officer, Prasad (read his CV - Adobe Reader is required to view) will promote UNT's mission in research, original scholarship and artistic creativity by developing and implementing a campus-wide strategic and operational plan to support these efforts.
He also will provide the executive and administrative leadership for further development of the Research Park, home to UNT's College of Engineering, the newly created interdisciplinary Center for Advanced Research and Technology, and other research centers and institutes.
"I was attracted to UNT because of the university's potential for creativity, innovation, cutting edge research and technology development," says Prasad. "I am especially excited about developing the Research Park and partnering with industry and the community to make that happen."
While at Florida International University, Prasad:
- Instilled a sense of total research productivity that includes external funding, student advisement with emphasis on doctoral research, publications and professional recognition.
- Attracted a highly diverse body of students. FIU emerged as the national leader in producing Hispanic graduates as well as one of the leaders for producing engineers from underrepresented groups including African Americans and women. Hispanic Engineering magazine cited FIU as the top school in the continental U.S. for Hispanic students to pursue an engineering degree.
- Conceived and co-founded the Latin American and Caribbean Consortium of Engineering Institutions, or LACCEI, and served as its first president in 2003-04. LACCEI has emerged as the leading organization of Latin American and Caribbean engineering institutions in North and South America.
- Led extraordinary growth of externally funded research programs. Awards for engineering programs increased 88 percent in 2005-06 compared to 2001-2002.
- Attracted nearly $11 million in cash and pledges from foundations, corporations and individuals for various activities including endowments for professorships and scholarships, and $5 million in in-kind donations of software, equipment and construction materials.
- Cultivated extensive industrial partnerships and projects with south Florida, U.S. and multinational companies.
- Led the establishment of many research centers and institutes at FIU, including a state-of-the-art, open-access Motorola nanofabrication research facility and an IBM-led Latin American Grid, or LA Grid, system that facilitates collaborative computational research among its member institutions from the U.S., Latin America and Spain.
Prasad will receive the University Educator Award at the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference in San Diego in October. "Every institution has to be diverse, but that has to happen through a natural process," he says. "My approach is to create an environment where nobody can see any sort of differences. I want every student who comes in to feel they have no barriers to their success."
Prasad joined FIU as the dean and distinguished professor of engineering in 2001, and was elevated to the position of executive dean in 2005 when the university's computer science program merged with its College of Engineering.
Previously, he served as associate dean for research and graduate studies and leading professor of engineering at Stony Brook University - State University of New York, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Columbia University, visiting assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Clemson University and lecturer in mechanical engineering at Patna University in India.
Prasad earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Patna University in India, a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Delaware.
President Bataille announced Prasad's appointment to the campus Sept. 18. Prasad, who first came to UNT's attention as a candidate for provost, was selected after a thorough nationwide search that began in March and was conducted by a 15-member committee. All candidates, including Prasad, participated in campuswide forums to give faculty, staff and students the opportunity to ask questions and be involved in the process.
UNT News Service Press Release
Rafael McDonnell can be reached at RMcDonnell@unt.edu.