IMG_3088eEvery so often many of us get the urge to rearrange the furniture in our homes. Sometimes we need to accommodate a new situation; sometimes it is just for change itself. I have observed that universities have similar tendencies.

While some may spend a lot of time analyzing organizational structures, I do not. This is not to say that organizational structures are unimportant. I have simply come to appreciate that the primary driver for institutional effectiveness is people, not structure.

With that in mind, I am delighted to announce the strategic appointments of two new leaders for Tennessee Tech, along with some organizational changes associated with their appointments. These changes are not rearrangements for the sake of change, but to improve the function and flow of the way our university works. Think of it more as architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s idea that “form follows function.”

Dr. Bahman Ghorashi began his new role as provost and vice president of academic affairs on July 1. He comes to Tech from Cleveland State University where he most recently served as dean of engineering. Dr. Ghorashi’s full curriculum vita can be found here.

On August 1, we also will welcome Dr. Bharat Soni as our new vice president for research and economic development. This is a new position created to provide leadership with expanding our overall research efforts in strategic alignment with regional economic development efforts. It effectively replaces the former position of vice president for extended programs and regional development. Dr. Soni has an impressive multidisciplinary background and joins us from the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he has been serving as the head of mechanical engineering. Click here for his full curriculum vita.

This is an exciting time for Tennessee Tech as new talent joins us to implement our Flight Plan priorities. To support these efforts and maximize the expertise of our human resources, I am happy to announce other modest but important organizational changes as well.

The Office of Graduate Studies will be administratively separated from the Office of Research and report directly through the Office of the Provost.

The Office of Research and Economic Development will be created under the leadership of Vice President Soni.

The Chief Information Officer, Mr. Reid Christenberry, will report directly to the President.

With our commitment to enrich the student experience, we also have other structure and name changes to tell you about that will move us toward our goals.

Please join me in welcoming these new colleagues to Tennessee Tech. I am excited by the opportunities that lay ahead for us.

Go Eagles!