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College of Information adding new dean, linguistics department

College of Information adding new dean, linguistics department

Kinshuk. UNT | Contribution

College of Information adding new dean, linguistics department
August 05
15:46 2016

Adalberto Toledo | Senior Staff Writer


The College of Information is welcoming two new additions to its offices: new dean Kinshuk and a new Linguistics department.

“The College of Information is a young, innovative college that is still shaping itself and has tremendous potential to develop and grow,” Provost Finley Graves said. “Dr. Kinshuk is a proven leader and visionary who we believe will help the college realize its potential.”

Before his post as the new dean, Kinshuk was the associate dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology at Athabasca University in Alberta, Canada. He will begin his new position on Aug. 15, with Regents professor of Decision Sciences Victor Prybutok serving as an interim since February.

The addition of Kinshuk and the department of linguistics is a milestone in the eight-year history of the college. Previously, linguistics was a program, but heightened enrollment has turned them into a full department.

“I am really looking forward to contribute to the ambitions that UNT has for the College of Information,” Kinshuk said. “There are so many people [at UNT] that are far more intelligent and knowledgeable than me. I want to learn a lot from them, and I know that they have lots of expectations and I will do my best to meet them.”

Among his new responsibilities will be directing the further growth of the linguistics department, which program director Patricia Cukor-Avila said has room to expand in post-graduate fields and has hired two new faculty.

She sees the integration of linguistics and computer science, as well as other interdisciplinary research, as key features for the College of Information.

“We started linguistics as a program with the intention of going for department status, and now it’s so great that we’ve gotten there,” Cukor-Avila said. “As linguists we study language, and language is at the root of any field you can think of, especially computer science.”

Cukor-Avila said if there’s ever any question as to how Google, for example, manages to take typed words into search results, the answer is linguistics. She said recently tech companies have been hiring more and more linguists, because they are the ones who know the structure of language and the way language works.

Along with linguistics’ growth in the computer science, Cukor-Avila would like to see the new dean do more for linguistic documentation – a field based in the preservation of extinct or endangered languages. She’d also like to strengthen the ESL side of the college.

“We’d like to see a lot more growth in faculty, but right now we’re trying to attract more students into our programs and get more marketing and recruiting,” Cukor-Avila said. “Our next big step is to market the college well.”

Cukor-Avila expects the new dean will do a lot for the college, given his varied background. Originally from Kota, India, Kinshuk received a Master of Science  in mechanical computer aided engineering from Strathclyde University in Scotland, a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Rajasthan in India, and his doctoral degree from De Montfort University in England. His academic positions have put him in places like Germany, England and New Zealand, to name a few.

Kinshuk hopes to implement new ways technology can improve on education, thinking long-term to the needs of students not five or 10 years in the future, but decades. He is community-oriented and wants to bring in community and market feedback so students can have as realistic a future as possible.

But above all, he said he wants to get the alumni more involved.

“They have gone through the process, and they are passionate about it because they did their degree [at UNT],” Kinshuk said. “So the question is, ‘How we can really see what they can do for our students?’ We need to figure out how we can engage them so that our students can benefit from their experience.”

Featured Image: Kinshuk. UNT | Contribution

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