Southern Methodist University announced Friday that Suku Nair has been named senior vice provost for research and chief innovation officer at the University of Dallas. He assumes the position on December 1 after having been acting assistant vice-president for research since June.
The appointment of Nair, a computer science and engineering leader who has taught and researched at SMU for more than 30 years, is part of a plan to see SMU achieve Carnegie Classification “R1” status, awarded to universities with the highest levels of research.
“Dr. Nair carried out his interim responsibilities with such focus and energy that it became clear to the search committee that we had the right person in sight for this important position,” said EMS Provost Elizabeth G Loboa in a statement.
Nair’s interim appointment followed the departure of James E. Quick, who in the spring completed his term as associate vice president for research and inaugural dean of the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. Robin Poston joined SMU in August, following Quick as Dean of the Moody School.
Occurs amid SMU’s evolution as a data-driven university
SMU said the restructuring of these positions is taking place alongside SMU’s evolution as a data-driven university focused on interdisciplinary research with commercial value for the North Texas region while addressing global challenges. Poston and Nair’s appointments will help refine and execute the university’s strategy to achieve “R1” status, SMU said.
SMU said members of the search committee this week recommended that Nair be offered the position of full-time RVP/CIO.
“The research process highlighted SMU’s research and innovation goals, the steps needed for advancement, and the structures needed to support and advance SMU in line with our aspirations and trajectory,” Loboa said. in a press release. “We believe Dr. Nair has demonstrated the vision to advance SMU, to expand research, innovation and entrepreneurship through partnerships within and outside of SMU, and to initiate a strong organizational structure and service culture for the SMU research office.”
Nair said in a statement that he was grateful for the opportunity to support the university’s faculty, students and research partners.
“The RVP/CIO office will support and guide a thriving research ecosystem that takes into account the needs and aspirations of the community,” he said.
Research supported by Nair is University Professor Emeritus in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Lyle School of Engineering and Founding Director of the AT&T Center for Virtualization at SMU. Additionally, Nair is the founder of SMU’s Cybersecurity Program, which has NSA/DHS designation as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.
SMU said Nair has published extensively in the area of high assurance computing and networking.
Nair’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Security Agency, and more.
Nair’s research has been supported by funding from the National Science Foundation, National Security Agency, National Institute for Standards and Technology, Office of Naval Research, and various industries, including Lockheed Martin, Alcatel, Raytheon, IBM, AT&T and Google.
He has consulted for various IT, telecommunications and cybersecurity companies, the university said.
Nair’s recent accolades include the Dallas 500 Award and CIO/CTO Award for Outstanding Tech Advocate from D CEO magazine, the IBM Faculty Award, and, at SMU, the Ford Fellowship and Distinguished University Citizen Award. Nair earned his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana in 1988 and 1990, respectively.
The University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of North Texas have already achieved Carnegie R1 status.
A nationally ranked global research university, SMU alumni, faculty and more than 12,000 students at eight degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they lead change in their professions, their communities and the world, the university said.
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