Dr. Thulasi Kumar, director of institutional research at the University of Northern Iowa, has been named director of institutional research and assessment at the University of Missouri-Rolla. He will begin work July 1.
“We are pleased to have Dr. Kumar lead our institutional research effort at UMR,” says UMR Provost Warren K. Wray. “His national recognition and years of experience implementing data mining and institutional research and assessment modeling will be invaluable to UMR.”
In his position at UNI, Kumar worked to integrate institutional research, planning and accountability survey research systems. He developed a network of staff members from admissions, the registrar’s office, financial aid, human resources, the university’s foundation and facilities management areas to provide seamless data integration and decision support for the university community.
“UMR plays a vital role in educating the scientists and engineers needed for the rapidly changing global economy,” says Kumar. “I am delighted to come to UMR at a historic time when the university is reshaping itself to be among the top technological institutions in the nation. The challenge for institutional research is to provide policy, planning and decision support that will help to realign the institution as one of the nation’s premier technological universities.”
Kumar was active in allowing UNI to strategically realign the institution’s resources with changes in enrollment and declining state support. He also developed a campuswide data warehouse plan to integrate the databases from numerous existing systems with the campus’s new enterprise planning system.
Prior to UNI, Kumar served as interim director and senior research analyst at South Carolina State University and as research fellow in the Center for Applied Demography and Survey Research at the University of Delaware.
Kumar received a Ph.D. in urban affairs and public policy from the University of Delaware in 1996. He received a master of engineering degree in civil engineering from Anna University in Madras, India, in 1988 and a bachelor of technology degree in civil engineering in 1986 from S. V. University in Andhra Pradesh, India.
Kumar is the founder of the Iowa Association for Institutional Research. He serves on the executive board of the Data Mining in Higher Education Consortium and is the chair of the Practicing Institutional Research: Theory, Techniques, Technologies, Tools and Ethics track for the Association of Institutional Research Forum in 2007.