3rd candidate for associate provost for Research and Graduate Education speaks on diversity, growth and leadership

Ranjit Koodali speaks to Western Kentucky University (WKU) faculty and staff about what he would do as the new Provost on March 4, 2020 in the WKU Honors College Ballroom.

Cassady Lamb

WKU held its third forum on Wednesday for candidates applying for the position of associate provost for Research and Graduate Education.

Ranjit Koodali is the third interviewee for the position. During his presentation, he talked about his passion for graduate education, growing diversity and his leadership positions and skills.

He is a chemistry professor, former dean of the graduate school and co-director of the Neuroscience, Nanotechnology and Networks program (USD-N3) at the University of South Dakota.

Among these many titles, Koodali is also a research grant recipient, a journal reviewer for over 100 scientific journals and has supervised many scholars and fellows under his leadership at USD, among others.

Due to a technical problem, Koodali’s powerpoint was not available, which resulted in a spoken rendition of his original presentation.

Koodali mentioned his background, specifically being raised in India, and how his family taught him respectfulness.

“I am extremely privileged to have served as a graduate dean and being raised in India with a privileged family who fundamentally made clear to me that I have to be respectful and mindful of every individual regardless of their socioeconomic status,” Koodali said. 

After the in-depth mention of diversity in different university programs, and the changes that need to be attended to, Koodali said we are on but one mission in this life, and that is to improve our lives and the lives of people around us.

Aside from his own diverse background, Koodali also mentions the need for equality throughout programs due to the increasing diversity in this country.

“The fourth industrial revolution may seem to only have STEM jobs, but I am going to make the argument that if anything, this is a time for us equally invest in the humanities programs, letter programs,” Koodali said. “Because we are working more closely with people coming from different backgrounds.”

Rapidly changing demographics are what Koodali cited for the need for equality throughout programs in schools.

After speaking upon his academic journeys, gaining his master’s and doctorate from the Indian Institute of Technology (I.I.T.) in Chennai, also called Madras, India, Koodali said that although academia was a natural talent given to him, the need to serve others was ingrained in him.

Program growth was another main talking point in Koodali’s presentation. He pitched his ideas for ways to deal with growth in growth areas in different programs, including computer science and arts and letters.

Throughout his presentation, Koodali reminded the panel, which included university officials, how passionate he is about education, specifically in the graduate-level.

“It is my passion and calling in life, I stand here humbled by the opportunity to talk about some of my ideas I have for elevating graduate education and research at Western Kentucky,” Koodali said at the conclusion of his presentation.

News reporter Cassady Lamb can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @lambp0p.