Kansas State University has appointed an Indian-American as dean of its College of Arts and Sciences. He joins several Indian-Americans who head colleges and universities across the country, and are seen as great managers as well as academicians and researchers who have excelled in their fields of study.
Amit Chakrabarti was selected following a national search over several weeks, KSU announced April 14. Since February 2016, Chakrabarti, a graduate of University of Calcutta, served as interim dean of the university’s largest college with 24 departments, and a broad array of majors, secondary majors and minors spanning many disciplines. He succeeds Peter Dorhout, who is now vice president for research at K-State.
Some of the other Indian-Americans and South Asians who head higher education institutions across the country. They include among many others, Satish Kumar Tripathi, president of University at Buffalo; Renu Khator, chancellor of the University of Houston System for several years; Angappa Gunasekaran is the Dean at the Charlton College of Business, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth; Rakesh Khurana, dean of Harvard College; Vijay K. Dhir, who resigned just last year as dean of the University of California’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, which he had headed since 2003; and Pradeep Khosla, chancellor of the University of California, San Diego since 2012.
Prior to the interim position, Chakrabarti was the head of the department of physics and the William and Joan Porter chair in physics. As dean, Chakrabarti will be the college’s chief academic and administrative officer, providing leadership to all undergraduate and graduate degree programs apart from research and innovation. April Mason, provost and senior vice president praised Chakrabarti saying he had shown “remarkable leadership and valuable collaborative skills” during his tenure at Kansas State University. “Those skills will continue to benefit students, faculty, staff and alumni as the university progresses with its goal to become a Top 50 public research university by 2025.”
“The College of Arts and Sciences is built on a solid foundation,” Chakrabarti said. “With the college’s talented faculty and amazing students, we can make more opportunities available to K-Staters in research and education in the arts and sciences. I am honored to serve in this role to continue the college’s success in research, scholarship and diversity.”
Chakrabarti became head of the physics department in 2011, where he led a 30-faculty member team, many who are nationally recognized for teaching and research excellence.
He has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching as well as leadership at Kansas State which he joined in 1990. Chakrabarti has published more than 150 peer-reviewed papers and mentored eight doctoral students and several postdoctoral fellows.
A theoretical physicist with interests in soft matter and statistical physics, Chakrabarti has worked on diverse soft-matter systems, including liquid mixtures, polymers, liquid crystals, aerosols, colloids, nanoparticles and most recently, self-assembly of proteins. His has received funding from agencies such as NASA and the National Science Foundation.
Chakrabarti has a doctorate in physics from the University of Minnesota, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in physics from the University of Calcutta.