Naganathan has served UT for 28 years. He has led the College of Engineering as dean since May 2003 and had previously spent more than two years as the college’s interim dean. A member of the UT faculty since 1986, he is a tenured professor of mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineering with expertise in the areas of smart material systems and structures, robotics, vibrations and control, and microcomputer applications in electromechanical systems.
Under his leadership, the College of Engineering has achieved record high student enrollments, registering an increase in the undergraduate enrollment every fall semester for the last eight academic years. Naganathan also has worked to elevate the college’s mandatory co-operative experience program – one of only eight in the nation – exceeding 15,000 placements in partnership with more than 1,600 employers in more than 40 states in the U.S. and in more than 30 foreign countries.
He created the Engineering Leadership Institute with philanthropic support from Roy and Marcia Armes, CEO of Cooper Tire & Rubber Company and a 1975 UT mechanical engineering graduate, to provide leadership opportunities for students. And Naganathan’s interest in collaborations lead to new joint degree programs with the College of Business and Innovation and College of Medicine and Life Sciences in the areas of information technology and biomedical engineering.
The college has grown under Naganathan’s tenure with the addition of the Nitschke Technology Commercialization Complex and the Thomas and Elizabeth Brady Engineering Innovation Center. It also has grown in prestige nationally. In October 2006, the engineering graduate program was listed for the first time in the Princeton Review’s the top 20 graduate programs and U.S. News and World Report has ranked the practice oriented masters program among the top 50 in the nation during for the last three years.
Naganathan’s research projects have been funded with $6.5 million in grants and contracts from external sponsors, including the National Science Foundation and automotive manufacturers. He is the author and co-author of more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals. He also has been awarded a U.S. patent on the use of piezoelectric devices in active suspension systems (US Patent 5,390,949). Naganathan’s work with industry includes conducting vibration analysis and control studies on heavy-duty truck powertrains for Dana Corporation and as a design engineer with Ashok Leyland Motors.
Naganathan has received a number of prestigious awards, including a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, UT Outstanding Teacher Award, UT Outstanding Researcher Award, SAE Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award, ASME Outstanding Regional Faculty Advisor Award, TST/TSPE Engineer of the Year, and Distinguished Alumnus Award from his alma mater, the National Institute of Technology in Tiruchirappalli, India.
He serves as an elected director of the national American Society of Engineering Education Engineering Deans Council Executive Board, and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the World Association for Cooperative & Work-Integrated Education, Board of Directors of the Ohio Aerospace Institute, Executive Committee of the Council of Energy Research and Education Leaders, and Rotary International.
Naganathan earned his bachelor’s degree with honors in mechanical engineering from the National Institute of Technology at Tiruchirappalli (formerly known as Regional Engineering College, Tiruchirappalli), University of Madras, India, a master’s degree in mechanical and industrial engineering from Clarkson University, New York and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University.