University News

New VP for CIS joins U. leadership

In his former position, Pendse promoted university partnerships with private corporations

Senior Staff Writer
Saturday, July 20, 2013

Ravi Pendse, former vice president for information technology and chief information officer at Wichita State University, was named vice president for computing and information services and chief information officer in a University press release July 11.

Pendse, who had been at Wichita State since he was a graduate student there, assumed his responsibilities Sept. 1. He succeeded Michael Pickett, who retired June 30 after holding the position for six years.

Pendse said the opportunity to work with Brown’s  “unbelievably talented” student body was among the factors that drew him to the University.

“Brown is about sharing ideas, empowering each other and learning from each other,” Pendse said, adding that technology is a tool that can help accomplish these goals. As numerous top administrators are new to campus, there are many opportunities for the University, he said.

Pendse plans to create public-private partnerships with companies like the relationship he formed with Cisco at Wichita State, he said.

He said he hopes to collaborate with the Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning and the Brown Conversation, a group of students who meet regularly to discuss Brown’s mission and identity.

A search committee composed of faculty and staff members met beginning in late February to select Pickett’s successor.

The committee, which used the search firm Next Generation in its process, ultimately presented three finalists to Provost Mark Schlissel P’15, said Beppie Huidekoper, executive vice president for finance and administration and the search committee’s chair.

Pendse “has enormous energy and enthusiasm,” Huidekoper said. “We thought he would be a great collaborator, and he clearly loves working with other people.”

Amarnath Jasti, who has known Pendse since he was Jasti’s faculty adviser at Wichita State 13 years ago, called Pendse an effective leader and teacher.

“For me, he was more than a boss. He was a great mentor to me,” said Jasti, now manager of Wichita State’s Cisco Technical Research Center. “He has so much great energy and great passion. He’s a visionary,” he said.

Pendse has drawn $22 million to Wichita State in support of his research programs, according to the University release. The affiliation he formed with international networking company Cisco helped establish the research center that Jasti manages.

Some faculty members expressed support for further integrating CIS into research.  “I would like to see CIS complement its support for administrative things and teaching, which it does well, with more support for research efforts in the University,” said Professor of Computer Science David Laidlaw.

Pendse said he “absolutely” plans on integrating CIS and research, adding his staff will work closely with the Center for Computation and Visualization.

Starting in the spring semester, Pendse said, he would like to teach courses as well. “I love being in the classroom and love what teachers do. It’s the most rewarding experience,” he said.

Pendse said he has spent the last few weeks walking around campus and interacting with faculty members.

“I’ve been on campus, spending time with faculty members and getting their input,” Pendse said, adding this feedback has been positive overall.

Pendse said he used the summer to say goodbye to his colleagues and friends in the Midwest. “There is some sadness in my heart when it comes to leaving behind incredible people in the state of Kansas,” he said. “When people say, ‘Why are you leaving?’ that’s a good feeling because you know you’ve done your job right.”


Last updated Sept. 3, 2:17 a.m.

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