Indiana Daily Student

New IU provost Rahul Shrivastav wants to prioritize research, update curriculum

<p>IU Provost Rahul Shrivastav started his new position at IU on Tuesday. One of his primary focuses is on the university’s research output.</p>

IU Provost Rahul Shrivastav started his new position at IU on Tuesday. One of his primary focuses is on the university’s research output.

Rahul Shrivastav, the new IU-Bloomington provost and executive vice president, entered the role Tuesday with the goal of growing IU’s research opportunities and strengthening output for the resulting discoveries.

Shrivastav said he doesn’t know the specific research areas he would like to focus on growing yet but wants to create a support system for discoveries so they can flourish outside IU.

“I have to discover more before I can put a finger down on, ‘Here’s something we really need to do,’” he said. “There’s a lot of very, very talented people there, and I really want to go and sort of learn and see before we lock down on something very, very tangible.”

Shrivastav said he wants to keep curriculum and degree programs updated to prepare for changing field expectations.

“Because the world around us continues to change more and more rapidly, we need to stay a step ahead,” Shrivastav said. “We need to focus on areas of strength that we have and invest in growing that.”

Shrivastav earned his doctoral degree in speech and hearing sciences from IU in 2001, he said. Most recently, he was the vice president for instruction and a professor at the University of Georgia. In addition to his role as provost, he will assume a faculty position at IU in his field of speech and hearing sciences, according to News at IU.

Shrivastav said he plans to engage with students through IU Student Government. He had a students’ advisory board at UGA, but is not sure if he will recreate it at IU yet. He said he wants to see if there are similar groups that already exist. While there is a student’s advisory board for the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, there is not one for IU’s provost.

“Students need to have a foot in some of the decisions that the university makes,” he said. “Students and alumni are another really important constituent that I want to listen to because their experiences — things that work well, things that have room for improvement — that’s the feedback that helps me think how we can do things better.”

He said he is excited to be back on IU’s campus, especially because he appreciates the balance IU has between the sciences, social sciences and arts and humanities.

“IU is one that you could go see a world-class opera one day and go listen to a groundbreaking discovery the next day all on the same campus,” Shrivastav said.

William Vencill, one of the associate vice presidents for instruction at UGA, said Shrivastav and IU President Pamela Whitten have known each other for a while because they worked at UGA and Michigan State University together. 

Shrivastav started serving as the UGA vice president for instruction in 2015 while Whitten was UGA’s provost from 2014 to 2018. In 2012, Shrivastav became the chair of the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at Michigan State University while Whitten was the dean of the College of Communication Arts & Sciences at MSU.

Naomi Norman, the other associate vice president for instruction at UGA, worked closely with Shrivastav for almost seven years. She said she thinks Shrivastav will bring creativity to his new position at IU.

“He hasn’t shared with me any of his ideas going in,” Norman said. “But you can be certain that he’ll have ideas, and he’ll bring a lot of new energy and a lot of new creative thinking to the position.”

Norman said Shrivastav was attentive when listening to the concerns of students and faculty. She said he showed this commitment through his students’ advisory board.

“Any student who ever contacted him for a meeting, to my knowledge, he always said yes,” she said.

Vencill said one of the greatest examples of Shrivastav’s leadership was his response to the pandemic. Vencill said he was calm and full of innovative ideas when their team was trying to figure out how to conduct virtual learning. 

“He’s full of ideas and energy,” Vencill said. “One of his favorite phrases is, ‘What’s next?’ once we finish some project.”

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