Raghuraman Thulasi Kumar, associate vice provost for analytics and institutional effectiveness in the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, has been recognized by EdScoop, a leading media brand in the higher education information technology (IT) market, with its 2022 University Technology Leader of the Year Award.
As part of the EdScoop 50 Awards program, Kumar joins a select group of data analytics IT leaders from around the nation who are inspiring change in the digital learning IT sphere with an emphasis on collaboration, student experience, and/or innovation. The EdScoop 50 Awards were created to celebrate the outstanding achievements of the nation’s top leaders in the higher education IT landscape and acknowledge their tireless efforts to make a positive impact in the university community.
“When I began working in data mining, only a few institutions employed analytics mainly for student retention and academic advising,” said Kumar. “Almost two decades later, many institutions now employ data visualization and advanced analytics for enrollment management, student success, academic planning, resource allocation, rankings, and reputation. With several colleagues working at many institutions, my analytics journey has been rich and fulfilling in serving higher education. The EdScoop award truly recognizes this long journey.”
The 2022 honorees represent 40 institutions, two university systems, seven private sector companies, and one professional organization. From large public universities to community colleges, the awards recognize people and projects at several different sizes and geographically across the entire country. Members of the higher education IT community nominated more than 200 leaders and projects for the awards. The EdScoop team narrowed the list to the top 80, and readers cast more than 200,000 votes to select this year’s winners.
“The EdScoop 50 Awards are all about recognizing the higher education community in a new way,” said Jake Williams, vice president of content and community for EdScoop. “Institutions have been forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and these awards recognize the class of leaders who lead that change and are charting the path forward for universities.”
Since arriving at Virginia Tech in 2018, Kumar has led the university’s efforts to provide valid and reliable management data through the University DataCommons (UDC) to inform institutional strategic planning, continuous improvement processes, performance-based resource allocation, and external accountability. The home-grown UDC platform has a collection of apps that supports the data and analytics needs of a specific business function within the institution. In addition to his leadership of the Office of Analytics and Institutional Effectiveness, Kumar serves as an advocate for advancing a culture of data-informed decision-making and continuous improvement throughout the institution.
“Kumar’s leadership of the Office of Analytics and Institutional Effectiveness and the development and direction of Virginia Tech’s data management platforms has been critically important to the university’s decision-making processes,” said Jeff Earley, vice provost for academic resource management. “His knowledge and experience continue to be an asset to our institution, and I congratulate him on receiving this award.”
Kumar came to Virginia Tech from George Mason University, where he successfully integrated the institution’s 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.
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 Northern Iowa.
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.