Debasish “Deba” Dutta, a respected academic and an experienced higher education administrator who has spearheaded innovation and strategic change at three top national research universities, became chancellor of Rutgers University-New Brunswick on July 1. Dutta also holds a faculty appointment and is a tenured distinguished professor of engineering.
Dutta came to Rutgers from Purdue University, where he was provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity, with a faculty appointment as professor of mechanical engineering. Previously, he was dean of the graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and before that he was an accomplished member of the engineering faculty at the University of Michigan.
As chancellor, Dutta oversees the Rutgers flagship, which has more than 42,000 students and 10,000 faculty and staff. It is a singular time for Rutgers as one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most diverse universities builds on the strengths of its first 250 years and embraces the social, economic and technological opportunities in higher education today. In the interview below, he discusses his desire to provide institutional leadership, drive innovation, strengthen academic excellence and how the university can and should meet the needs of the citizens of New Jersey, the nation and beyond.