Balakrishnan joins MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design as associate dean of research

Contact: Christie McNeal

Studio portrait of Bimal Balakrishnan
Bimal Balakrishnan (Photo by Megan Bean)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Bimal Balakrishnan is Mississippi State’s new associate dean of research for the College of Architecture, Art and Design.

Before beginning his new role at the state’s leading university this semester, Balakrishnan served since 2018 as chair of architectural studies at the University of Missouri, where he taught for 10 years and was the founding director of the Immersive Visualization Lab. He holds a Ph.D. in mass communication and a graduate minor in applied statistics, as well as a master’s degree in architecture with a digital design emphasis, all from Pennsylvania State University. His undergraduate degree in architecture is from the University of Kerala in Trivandrum, India.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Dr. Balakrishnan to the college as our associate dean of research,” said CAAD Dean Angi Elsea Bourgeois. “He brings a wealth of experience across our shared disciplines. While his own research has provided him with a strong history of success with industry partnerships, collaborative team building and growth of funding opportunities, he also has a great respect for and interest in the wide variety of creative research undertaken across our college. I know he will have a positive impact as we continue to pursue excellence in research and creative discovery in all forms.”

Balakrishnan said he was initially drawn to the position because of the potential for interdisciplinary research and exploring the relationship between design and research.

“The more I looked into CAAD and Mississippi State, the more excited I got,” he said.

Another draw for him was the fact that CAAD is one of the few places where architecture, art, building construction science, and interior design are housed together in one college. And, from the university level, he noticed the progress made over the last decade in funded research.

“As an outsider looking in, there seems to be a strong culture of cross-disciplinary collaboration at Mississippi State that is moving it up the ranks among leading research institutions,” he added.

 In his new role, Balakrishnan said his first priority is to get a deeper understanding of what’s happening in each area of the college and at the campus level, so he can build on these existing synergies.

“Each place has its own unique DNA,” he said. “I look forward to meeting with faculty and unit leaders to see what their priorities are and align us to be better positioned to take advantage of emerging opportunities.”

Balakrishnan also has a goal of helping students and faculty discover the full potential of their design education and expertise.

“We tend to look at things from a disciplinary perspective, rather than our skill sets,” he said.

“Instead, we want to look at things from a problem-centric way and ask how can we bring our technical expertise and creative scholarship to solve larger, more complex problems.”

Learn more about MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design and its academic programs at and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @CAADatMSU. 

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