Richland College has named Raghunath Kanakala to the position of executive dean of its School of Engineering and Technology. Kanakala’s appointment was approved by the Dallas County Community College District Board of Trustees Dec. 4, and he will assume this role in early 2019.
Kanakala currently serves as dean of technical education at Aiken Technical College in South Carolina. While there, Kanakala has overseen 12 technical education program areas, including industrial maintenance, welding, HVAC, CNC, graphics, electrical technology, radiation protection, tower, nuclear fundamentals, pre-engineering, physics and chemistry.
Prior to his current role at Aiken Technical College, Kanakala was an assistant professor in the University of Idaho – Idaho Falls College of Engineering, a research scientist and lecturer for the Inamori School of Engineering at Alfred University in New York and a graduate research and teaching assistant in the Colleges of Engineering at the University of Nevada Reno and the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
His academic leadership has included management of a $2.5 million Individuals Safety Training to Achieve Climber Credentials grant to train and place low-skilled workers, Trade Adjustment Assistance-certified workers and others in high-demand jobs in the tower industry and to reduce fatalities in the industry. He also holds a U.S. Patent in “combustion synthesis method and boron-containing materials produced therefrom,” and has developed curriculum, published 16 articles in industry journals and delivered numerous conference presentations.
At Richland College, Kanakala will provide academic leadership for the School of Engineering and Technology, which offers programs in computer information technology, computer science, cyber security, engineering, engineering technology (advanced manufacturing and electronics technology), interactive simulation and game technology, multimedia, networking/authorized training (Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, UNIX), photography/imaging, PC support and semiconductor manufacturing technology.
The Richland College School of Engineering and Technology also supports the Technology, Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing Center, a learning space for relevant, hands-on experience and career-focused training with leading edge, industry-quality technology for engineering and manufacturing students.
Upon entering his new role, Kanakala hopes to advance Richland College’s student success initiatives, faculty development and community partnerships, particularly regarding apprenticeships, internships, curriculum development and articulation agreements.
“I would like to increase the awareness about engineering transfer degrees,” Kanakala said. “Also, I would like to work on improving the apprenticeship models for different programs.”
“Dr. Kanakala brings proven leadership experience in engineering and technology education, and I am very excited to welcome him to Richland College as our new executive dean,” said Shannon Cunningham, Richland College executive vice president for academic affairs and student success. “I know he will continue to advance the mission, vision and strategic direction for our School of Engineering and Technology as we continue to deliver programs that meet industry demand and promote student success.”
Kanakala holds a Ph.D. and a Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Nevada Reno. He also earned a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and a Bachelor of Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the Gandhi Institute of Technology and Management.