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Veteran researcher to serve as SIU’s new vice chancellor for research and grad school dean

SIU Communications and Marketing

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A leader at a Missouri university with more than 30 years of higher education experience and a background in research, graduate affairs and computer science will be the new vice chancellor for research and graduate school dean at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The university announced today (May 26) that Costas Tsatsoulis, vice provost of graduate education and professor in the Department of Computer Science at the Missouri University of Science & Technology, will take over SIU’s research efforts and graduate studies. The selection is pending formal SIU Board of Trustees approval, slated for the July 21 meeting. Tsatsoulis will assume his duties on Aug. 1.

Chancellor Austin A. Lane said Tsatsoulis will play an important role as SIU Carbondale implements its strategic plan, Imagine 2030, whose pillars include research and innovation.

“People who met with Dr. Tsatsoulis were impressed by his extensive background in research and his devotion to student success,” he said. “At SIU Carbondale, students can become involved in research projects as soon as they set foot on campus, including undergraduates. Dr. Tsatsoulis shares our commitment to these early opportunities. We are excited for him to join our team.”

University officials also commended the search committee for doing an excellent job securing qualified candidates for final selection.

Tsatsoulis will be a leader in a doctoral university with high research activity, classified as R2 by The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. In Illinois, there are only six R2 institutions and four R1 schools, or doctoral universities with very high research activity. Tsatsoulis said he was inspired by SIU Carbondale’s vision to combine research and graduate education.

“I believe that the two are inexplicably entwined: outstanding graduate students elevate the research and scholarly output of a university, and excellent research attracts the best graduate students,” Tsatsoulis said. “I was also attracted to the goal of SIU Carbondale to solidify itself as an R2 institution, the aspiration and ambition to seek R1 status, the plan to engage all students in research, scholarly pursuits and creative activities, and the plan to grow graduate enrollments and graduate student success.”

Long-time educator and researcher

Tsatsoulis earned his doctorate in electrical engineering in 1987 at Purdue University. He earned his master’s degree in the same subject there in 1984 and Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in German and electrical engineering at Purdue in 1987 and 1983, respectively.

Tsatsoulis spent the first 20 years of his academic career at the University of Kansas, starting as an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in 1988 and holding several key leadership posts in the years following. Those positions included director of the Intelligent Design Laboratory at the Center for Excellence in Computer-Aided Systems Engineering (1990-97); director of the Intelligent Systems and Information Management Laboratory, Information Technology and Telecommunications Center (1997-2003) and chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (2004-08), among others.

During this time, he also worked in private industry as vice president of research at Data Discovery Inc., a small business performing work in artificial intelligence, information retrieval and intelligent databases, and as a visiting scientist at Lockheed Artificial Intelligence Center, Lockheed-Martin Missiles and Space Co. in Palo Alto, California.

In 2008, Tsatsoulis was named dean of the College of Engineering at the University of North Texas, where he also served as a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. He later served as associate vice president for international research partnerships (2018) and interim dean of The Toulouse Graduate School at UNT (2015-2016).

Increasing awards, research spending

Tsatsoulis was named vice chancellor of research and dean of graduate studies the Missouri University of Science & Technology in September 2018. He continued serving as a professor and as vice provost of graduate education there since a re-organization in July 2021.

As research vice chancellor, Tsatsoulis oversaw an increase of more than 41% in grant awards, as well as an almost 12% increase in research spending. In fiscal year 2021, the university’s royalty income was $720,000.

As vice provost of graduate education, Tsatsoulis introduced a 4+1 program that led to a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree in five years, enrolling more than 100 students since its inception. To improve diversity, the university actively recruited students at events catering to under-represented populations and took recruiting trips to China and Middle Eastern countries, using faculty and alumni relations to open doors. The graduate studies program also instituted several programs to improve student recruitment and retention.

Tsatsoulis said his first goal upon settling in at SIU will be to listen and learn.

“I want to hear from all constituents of research and graduate studies – the staff, students, faculty, employers,” he said. “At the same time, we will start with programs to engage new faculty and new graduate students in research and creative activities, and to inform them of opportunities across the university, while developing new engagement opportunities for all faculty and graduate students.”

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