RIT names Prabu David as provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs

David served as dean of the College of Communication and vice provost for faculty and academic staff development at Michigan State University

Prabu David has been named RIT’s next provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs. David comes to RIT from Michigan State University, where he has served as vice provost for faculty and academic staff development, interim vice provost for Teaching and Learning Innovation, and dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. He begins his tenure at RIT on Aug. 1.

Rochester Institute of Technology has named Prabu David as its new provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, which is the university’s top academic officer.

David, who has served as vice provost for faculty and academic staff development, interim vice provost for Teaching and Learning Innovation, and dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University, joins RIT on Aug. 1.

“Dr. David was selected based on his reputation as a leader, collaborator, curricular innovator, and researcher,” said RIT President David Munson. “His history of fostering interdisciplinary research and building strong ties amongst health colleges, engineering, social sciences, the arts, and humanities, will serve us well as we strive to further develop our partnerships across all colleges. I’m confident that his presence will strengthen our leadership position in the areas of creativity and innovation as we continue to build our preeminence at the intersection of technology, the arts, and design.”

David was chosen after a national search led by a committee of RIT faculty, staff, students, and trustees.

“RIT’s commitment to experiential learning and student success immediately caught my attention. Further, the people-first emphasis in the strategic plan was a clear signal that the institution was driven by the right values,” said David. “RIT’s bold new initiatives in research and graduate education on topics such as artificial intelligence, personalized health technology, and sustainability are exciting growth opportunities that can be transformative.”

David served as dean of Michigan State’s nationally ranked College of Communication Arts and Sciences, and the award-winning WKAR radio and TV station for nearly nine years. In that role, he oversaw a college with 3,700 students, 160 faculty members, 90 staff, and five academic departments. During his term, the college made significant strides in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, and launched six new undergraduate majors, two new online master’s programs, and a new doctoral curriculum. The college and WKAR raised approximately $70 million through development during this time, resulting in scholarships, experiential learning scholarships, named professorships, and new labs for teaching and research.

He helped develop the Media Greenhouse, similar to RIT’s forthcoming Student Hall for Exploration and Development, a collaborative space to integrate art, design, coding, motion capture, and AR/VR into the college. Additionally, he has fostered DEI and interdisciplinary initiatives building strong ties among health colleges, engineering, social sciences, arts, and humanities.

From 2010 to 2015, he was professor and associate dean at the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University, where he was instrumental in developing undergraduate and graduate programs, recruiting faculty, and developing the administrative framework of a newly founded college.  

Prior to that, he was on the faculty at Ohio State University from 1993 to 2010, where he was assistant and associate professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies of the School of Communication, and Faculty Associate with OSU’s Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Center for Public Health Preparedness. 

Over the years, he has won awards for research, teaching, and design. His research focuses on media and cognition with active projects in AI and leadership. He has served as an investigator or co-investigator on projects funded by the National Association of Broadcasters, National Cancer Institute, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of State, and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physics from Loyola College, Chennai, India, earned a master’s degree in journalism from Ohio University, and completed his doctoral degree in mass communication from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Additionally, at Michigan State, he has served on the 2030 Strategic Planning committee; the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion steering committee; and the presidential search committee, which expanded his perspective of the challenges of a complex university with multiple stakeholders.

Added David: “I am looking forward to strengthening ties between the city and RIT’s academic mission through active outreach and engagement.”

David succeeds Ellen Granberg, who will step down at the end of June as RIT provost to become the 19th president of the George Washington University.

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