Dr. Amitava “Babi” Mitra is the Executive Director of the New Engineering Education Transformation (NEET) initiative launched by MIT’s School of Engineering in 2016. Prior to this he was the founder-Dean, School of Engineering and Technology, BML Munjal University, Gurgaon, India from 2013-16 and before that the founder-President and Vice-Chancellor, Vivekananda Global University, Jaipur, India. Mitra is passionate about evangelizing and implementing an educational vision that he believes in; he enjoys formulating, designing and planning its implementation, and then taking it through to fruition. What he enjoys doing most is setting up and running educational initiatives within established universities (as in the New Engineering Education Transformation initiative at MIT) or at start-ups (as the founder-Dean of Engineering, BML Munjal University, India). He grew a small R&D group into a profitable e-learning business unit that he led as the senior vice-president, Knowledge Solutions Business, NIIT, Inc. He has helped found one of India’s leading NGOs, the Pan-Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation, Kumaon, India.
A proven international leader in delivering technology-enabled educational solutions in demanding environments, Mitra has successfully led entrepreneurial ventures involving 40 to 600 people as the Executive Director, Academic Media Production Services (AMPS), MIT, as the Senior Vice-President, Knowledge Solutions Business Unit, NIIT, Inc., and as the first Chief, Distance Learning Programs Unit (DLPU), BITS, Pilani, India. He has over twenty-eight years’ experience in institution building, higher education, corporate e-learning, and distance education. He is active in professional organizations and boards including those promoting the development and dissemination of new and strategic uses of technology in teaching and learning. He has served on the NERCOMP Board of Trustees, USA during 2008 -10 and was a founder-board member, Sakai Project Board, USA during 2004-05. He has presented at EDUCAUSE and NERCOMP and at other conferences.
Mitra’s strategic leadership experience includes active involvement with organizations such as NASSCOM Engineering R&D Talent Council, India; Collegiate School Advisory Board, India; Academic Advisory Board, IEC University, Solan, HP, India; Governing Council, Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation, Kumaon, India; Advisory Board, SPIC MACAY Rajasthan; Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Rajasthan Panel on Education and Skill Development; Honorary Advisory Board, Neutrino IT Technologies, Ltd., Jaipur, India; Advisory Board, Lessonsmith, USA; Council Member, Gerson Lehman Group (GLG) Research, USA; Advisor, Guidepoint Global, USA and; Member, Gilfus Advisors, USA.
His experience in the past includes: NERCOMP Board, USA; founder-member, Sakai Project Board, USA; founder-member, Council of Governors, Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation, Kumaon, India; co-chairperson, Advisory Board, Royal Roads University, Victoria, Canada; Member, India Strategy Working Group, MIT, USA; Consultant, Learning Technologies, Consulting Services for Education, Inc., Boston, MA, USA ; Working Group on Collecting Teaching Data, convened by the Provost, MIT, USA; and, Co-convener, Sakai Working Group on Subject Evaluation, USA. He was on the International Program Committee, 20th World Conference on Open Learning and Distance Education, “The Future of Learning---Shaping the Transition”, Dusseldorf, International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), April 2001 and participated in the first Planning Workshop, “Towards the Global Virtual University Alliance”, organized by the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), Barcelona, December 1998. He was a member of the BITS, Pilani faculty team that participated in the formulation of the National Policy on Education released by the Government of India in 1986; this led to his co-authoring a book titled, “Challenge and Response - Towards a New Education Policy & Beyond”, by C.R. Mitra & Associates, Wiley Eastern Limited, India, 1986.
Mitra studied at St. Columba’s School, New Delhi; he was a National Science Talent Scholar and was ranked all-India 36th. He was ranked 175th on the all-India merit list of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Joint Entrance Examinations. Mitra earned a B.E. (Honours), Chemical Engineering (ranked third), and an M.Sc. (Honours) Chemistry (ranked second); both degrees were from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani. Mitra earned a PhD in chemical engineering from BITS, Pilani, India; he was simultaneously a visiting engineer at the department of chemical engineering, MIT where his research focused on modelling and controlling the production of mutagenic hydrocarbons from coal combustion. Mitra was born in New York City and grew up in India. His wife Srirupa and and he reside in Medford, MA and they have two children, Abhi Mitra(MIT ’14, consultant at Altman Vilandrie) and Gautam Mitra (Colby ’21). Mitra loves food, music, the intersects across people and technology, growing up with his children and playing squash.
Key words for areas of expertise:
Institution building, curriculum design, distance education, e-learning, hybrid learning, blended learning, educational technology services, learning management systems, academic computing.