Academic Administration Positions

Founding DIRECTOR, Calhoun Honors Discovery Program (March 2018, current)

The program aims to graduate students that can thrive in a dynamic and complex work environment; students that can advance solutions and new perspectives at the intersection of different knowledge areas so as to improve the human condition. Discovery program students combine disciplinary coursework with interconnected learning of concepts from multiple collaborating disciplines, and apply these integrated concepts to transdisciplinary, hands-on learning experiences that engage partners in industry and other professional sectors. The program has a modular and adaptive curriculum that is supported by an innovative distributed learning and collaboration platform. The integrative theme of the curriculum is “collaborative technology innovation for societal impact”. Eight degree programs with complimentary approaches to the theme are participating in the program: Business Information Technology, Business Management, Computational Modeling and Data Analytics, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Industrial Design, Communication, Policy & Planning, Creative Technologies. The program provides full scholarships and attracts a diverse student body. The program is supported by a $20 million gift by David Calhoun, senior managing director of Blackstone, as well as significant gifts from industry. The program has enrolled its first student cohort for the Fall of 2019.(https://honorscollege.vt.edu/cdp.html )

Director, Calhoun Center for Higher Education Innovation (March 2018, current)

The Calhoun Center for Higher Education Innovation aims to facilitate a national conversation on adaptive, transdisciplinary life-long learning and the diverse and inclusive partnerships and platforms that can facilitate this type of learning for the twenty-first century. The Calhoun Center is connecting this conversation to the iterative planning of the Discovery program.(https://honorscollege.vt.edu/cdp/center.html )

Executive Vice President and Provost, Virginia Tech, (August 2015-October 2017)

As the chief academic officer at Virginia Tech, the Provost is responsible for the university's instructional, research, and outreach programs, the graduate school, the libraries, student affairs, faculty affairs, academic support, institutional effectiveness, academic assessment, and has senior management and leadership responsibilities for the colleges and academic administrative units. The Provost is directly involved (in partnership with the President and the Chief Financial Officer) in developing the budget, allocating and managing resources, and developing university policies. The Provost also serves as a liaison with the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia.

In addition to the above management duties, Provost Rikakis led the following new initiatives:

  • Co-chair of the Beyond Boundaries Visioning exercise and report for the future of the University (http://www.beyondboundaries.vt.edu/). The visioning process established five key aspirations: large scale communities of discovery, three-dimensional integrated education (disciplinary, transdisciplinary and applied) also tagged as VT shaped learning, diversification of resources and development of external partnerships, a diverse and inclusive campus, focus on societal impact and advancing the human condition.

  • Led the development of Destination Areas; cross University transdisciplinary, multifunction (research, education, engagement) themes (https://provost.vt.edu/destination-areas.html ). The themes build on University differentiating strengths and help the University and region become a global destination for talent. Developed an innovative funding model that places resources and incentives in disciplinary units to allow them to engage in destination areas transdisciplinary activity. Destination areas themes can thus evolve over time without requiring the creation of new or sun-setting of old academic structures. Development of destination areas related cross cutting facilities, cluster hiring, new curriculum and research initiatives is already under way.

  • Led the development of a new resource model for the University; the Partnership for an Incentive Based Budget (PIBB). PIBB provides formulas and decisions support for planning and funding of all key outcomes and aspirations of the different Colleges; from student enrollment and success to research and scholarship. It incentivizes customizable, outcomes based long term planning for each College that leverages internal investments to diversify the resources of the College and advance unit sustainability. (https://cafm.vt.edu/content/dam/cafm_vt_edu/buspracseminars/2017_seminar/Partnership%20for%20Incentive%20Base%20Budget.pdf )

  • Led the administrative development of the plans for the integration of the VTC School  Medicine into VT and the expansion of the VTC School of Medicine and Research Institute into the Roanoke Health Sciences and Technology Campus centered around an Academic Health Center (https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2016/03/bov-hstdistrict.html). The expansion plans are already creating significant economic development impact and attracting donors (https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2018/12/adv-roanoke-gift.html )

  • Collaborated with the president and the vice president for Northern Virginia in the development of a plan for the expansion of Virginia Tech in the Metropolitan Washington DC area. The Metropolitan Innovation X plan proposed the creation of thematic collaboratoriums with industry and academia that span research, education and applications. The plan was further developed by faculty working groups to provide the base for the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in the Amazon HQ2 proposal (https://vt.edu/innovationcampus/news/story.html)

  • Led the administrative development of the plans for the creation of the College Access Collaborative (https://access.edm.vt.edu/ ). The collaborative is committed to supporting a more diverse undergraduate student body and seeks to enhance partnerships with communities in low high school attainment and low matriculation to post-secondary education.

  • Hired four new deans and four new academic vice presidents and achieved a gender balanced academic cabinet for the first time in the history of the institution (https://provost.vt.edu/deans_vps.html )

  • Collaborated with the Vice President for Administration and Sasaki Associates for the development of the new campus master plan that highlights transdisciplinary districts (https://www.facilities.vt.edu/planning-construction/campus-master-plan/about.html )

  • Led the administrative development and the launching of the ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival (http://acceleratefestival.com/ ). The festival is a joint activity of all 15 ACC Universities and the Smithsonian and is planned to be a biannual event that celebrates creative exploration, research and innovation across all disciplines.

  • Collaborated with the Faculty Senate to create the Collegiate Faculty track for faculty focused on pedagogy. The track offers multi-year contracts and through formalized review the opportunity for promotion and corresponding longer-term contracts (https://www.provost.vt.edu/faculty_affairs/faculty_handbook/chapter05/chapter05.html

  • Initiated a conversation with Deans, Chairs and the Faculty Senate for establishing a global context for review and support of faculty scholarship. The University community has embraced, and is continuing, the conversation leading to steady gains in global rankings

  • Created the new position of vice provost for learning systems innovation and effectiveness to explore flexibility in curriculum structure, multiple modes of delivery and continuous innovation to meet emerging market and societal needs and connect student success to external organizations and employers (https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2017/02/eng-dontaylor.html )


Vice Provost for Design, Arts and Technology; Carnegie Mellon University (2012-2015)

Responsible for university wide curriculum and research efforts that focus on new creative industries and integrate technology, arts and innovation expertise.  Position reports to the Provost and is part of the Academic Leadership Council (ALC) of the University (ALC consists of the President, Provost, Vice Presidents, Deans and Vice Provosts) and the University Promotion and Tenure committee.

  • Led the development of the Integrative Design, Arts and Technology network (IDeATe), http://ideate.cmu.edu . IDeATe has participation from over 70 faculty from 15 different units of the University and includes six key initiatives reporting to the vice provost (five new initiatives developed under the VP DAT leadership and the ETC).

  • Eight undergraduate concentrations on new creative industries themes (ranging from games to physical computing) that are open to all undergraduates at CMU. Over 250 students are already enrolled in IDeATe concentrations. Enrollment is expected to exceed 500 undergraduates by 2017. The concentrations are based on 35 new, interdisciplinary, studio-based courses that promote learning through collaborative making. The annual budget of the undergraduate curriculum is $1,000,000 (supported 50% through tuition and 50% through external income).

  • The Emerging Media Master’s (EM2) program; the EM2 is a collaborative degree offered out of the School of Computer Science (SCS), the College of Fine Arts (CFA), and the College of Engineering (CIT). EM2 is based in Pittsburgh with semester/year residency opportunities in New York City and Silicon Valley. Launching in 2015, the degree is expected to enroll 100 students. It will have an operating budget of $2,500,000 (supported by tuition and external income) and will use an innovative income-sharing model to support participation from the three Colleges.

  • The CMU Integrative Media Program (IMP) in NYC at Steiner Studios in partnership with the City of NY (part of the NYC Applied Sciences Initiative). The IMP comprises four inter-related, interdisciplinary Masters degrees: Emerging Media Masters (offered collaboratively by the School of Computer Science, College of Fine Arts and College of Engineering), Masters in Computational Data Science (offered through the School of Computer Science), Masters in Integrated Innovation (offered through the College of Engineering, Tepper School of Business and School of Design), and Masters in Urban Design (offered through the School of Architecture). Launching in 2015, the IMP will have 60 FTE students and an annual operating budget of $3,000,000 covered by tuition and external income.

  • The central hub of the IDeATe collaborative making and learning network (housed at the central University library). It includes, collaborative studios/classrooms, an interactive media lab/black-box, a physical computing lab, a digital fabrication lab, a sound lab, a portable media check out facility and standard fabrication facilities. Satellite collaborative making facilities are now being planned through out the University including dormitories and other common spaces.

  • The Entertainment Technology Center (ETC); founded 15 years ago by Randy Pausch and Don Marinelli, the ETC is a premiere professional center for interactive entertainment with special focus on the art and science of game design and development. The ETC offers a two-year Master of Entertainment Technology (MET) degree that is jointly conferred by the School of Computer Science and the College of Fine Arts. It has 100 students enrolled and an annual operating budget of $3,000,000.


Founding Director; School of Arts, Media and Engineering (AME); Arizona State University (2003- 2012)

Led the development of the vision, research and education models of the School, the creation of joint graduate and undergraduate curricula with twelve units at ASU and the establishment of a transdisciplinary BA in Digital Culture and a Media Arts and Sciences PhD degree.  Oversaw the hiring of 12 interdisciplinary faculty, 10 administrative and technical staff and recruiting of an interdisciplinary student body.   The School by 2012 had 250 undergraduate and 50 graduate students and an operating budget of $2,000,000. It produced research expenditures of over $750,000 a year.  The Director supervised the financial and human resources management of the School, was responsible for faculty development and led recruitment and retention and research and creative practice planning. (https://ame.asu.edu

Director, Institute for Studies in the Arts (ISA), Arizona State University (2001 – 2003)

Prepared the evolution of the ISA (a research unit without an educational mission) into the School of Arts, Media and Engineering.   Managed the arts and technology research and creative activities and the development/fundraising activities of the Institute. Supervised the financial, infrastructure and personnel activities.

Associate Director, Computer Music Center (CMC), Columbia University (1995-2001) 

Director of Research and Development; headed the development of interdisciplinary research and education projects, fundraising and outreach activities and managed the finances

Director, Institute of Psychoacoustics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece (1992-2000)

Led the development of the academic structure and research mission of the Institute, and its outreach and fundraising activities. The Institute was a joint project of the Medical School, Engineering School, Department of Music and Department of Psychology.  Spent a total of 24 months physically in Greece over the eight years of my association with the Institute with the rest of the work done remotely.

Director, Computer Music Center, Center for Contemporary Music Research (Ianis Xenakis, President), Greece (1991-94)

Developed and taught beginner and advanced courses in computer music; planned, installed and maintained computing and digital audio infrastructure

Academic Appointments

  • Professor, School of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, College of Engineering, Professor, School of Performing Arts, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Virginia Tech (2015-current)

  • Professor of Design, Professor of Music, Courtesy Professor of Bioengineering; Carnegie Mellon University (2012-2015)

  • Professor of Arts, Media and Engineering; Arizona State University (2003-2012)

  • Professor of Music, Arizona State University (2001-2003)

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music, Columbia University (1995 - 2001)