Raghuraman Thulasi Kumar, associate provost and chief data officer for the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness at George Mason University, has been named associate vice provost for academic decision support at Virginia Tech.

Kumar will join the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost on Sept. 10 to lead the university’s efforts to provide valid and reliable management data to inform institutional strategic planning, continuous improvement processes, performance-based resource allocation and external accountability. He will also serve as an advocate for advancing a culture of data-informed decision-making and continuous improvement throughout the institution and the effective leadership of the academic decision support function within the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.

“I strongly believe in the role and the importance of analytics in the strategic decision-making process at research universities,” said Kumar. “It is a great privilege to join Virginia Tech at a time when the university is emerging as a global leader in analytics education, research and infrastructure development.

“I am looking forward to working with a talented team of analysts and data scientists in the areas of strategic planning, resource allocation modeling, institutional effectiveness, and spatial planning.”

During his tenure at George Mason, Kumar successfully integrated the Office of Institutional Research and Reporting and the Office of Institution Assessment to reflect and address the ongoing changes taking place in the higher education landscape. In his role as chief data officer, Kumar ensured that enterprise data was collected accurately, analyzed and used appropriately, and shared with key stakeholders to make data-informed and evidence-based decisions.

“I am very excited to have Dr. Kumar joining us as leader of the academic decision support team,” said Ken Smith, vice provost for academic resource management. “Virginia Tech is moving rapidly to improve our capacity for data-informed decision-making for campus planners and managers, particularly around the allocation of resources. Dr. Kumar has successfully initiated and led similar efforts at other large universities. Bringing someone with his professional experience and broad academic interest onto our already capable team will enable us to accelerate our development of systems.”

Prior to his time at George Mason, Kumar held leadership roles in institutional research and data management at the University of Connecticut, Missouri University of Science and Technology (formerly University of Missouri at Rolla), and the University of North Iowa.

“Dr. Kumar brings a track record of accomplishment to Virginia Tech, having led data resource and decision management efforts throughout his career in higher education,” said Cyril Clarke, interim executive vice president and provost. “We are pleased that he is joining our university to further strengthen and advance Virginia Tech’s academic resource management initiatives.”

Kumar earned a Ph.D. in urban affairs and public policy from the University of Delaware; a master of engineering (civil engineering) from Anna University in Madras, India; and a bachelor of technology (civil engineering) from S.V. University in Andhra Pradesh, India.