Washington: A top Indian-American woman academic and president of the University of Houston was today appointed as member of the US Department of Homeland Security’s Academic Advisory Council.
The appointment of Renu Khator, Chancellor of the University of Houston System and president of the University of Houston (UH), was announced by US Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.
The council, which is made up of 23 members, including college presidents, academic leaders and inter-agency partners, provides advice and recommendations to the secretary on matters related to homeland security and the academic community.
Since its formation in 2012, members have issued more than 120 recommendations in the areas of academic research and faculty exchange, campus resilience, cybersecurity, international students, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) academic programmes and recruitment of current students and recent graduates.
Renu, who will serve a four-year term on the council, was selected by DHS based on her expertise in higher education leadership and University of Houston’s leadership in homeland security research.
University of Houston is the lead institution for the DHS Center of Excellence for Borders, Trade and Immigration Research, awarded in late 2015, and one of only three universities in Texas with dual designation by the National Security Agency and the DHS for its educational and research programmes in cybersecurity and cyber defense.
“Serving on this council is both an honour and a serious responsibility,” said Ms Khator.
“There can be no more important task than maintaining the safety of our country. Through research, innovation and workforce development, higher education must continue to play a vital role in helping DHS meet that crucial objective,” she said.
“What President Khator brings is not only a deep understanding of the issues facing our campuses but also a firm grasp of the mission of DHS through her work at the University of Houston,” said Trent Frazier, executive director of the Office of Academic Engagement. “DHS and OAE are excited to further collaborate with her.”
Ms Khator joined the University of Houston System in 2008 and oversees a four-university organisation that serves nearly 70,000 students, has an annual budget that exceeds USD 1.7 billion and generates nearly USD 6 billion economic impact on the Greater Houston area each year.
Ms Khator, who holds a Ph.D. in political science and public administration from Purdue University, serves as chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Board of Directors and was president of the American Council on Education.