“I believe that Mr. Padmanabhan’s creativity, collaborative leadership style and extensive experience in multiple industries, countries, and cultures are ideally suited for dealing with the many challenges presented to higher educational institutions by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, wrote in an email to the University community.
On Sept. 25, Padmanabhan was appointed to his new position, succeeding Shaya Phillips, who served as interim CIO for the past seven months. In a national search that vetted more than 50 professionals, Padmanabhan stood out for his “innovative thinking; multi-industry, global technology leadership experience; and accomplishments enabling transformation through technology,” said Father McShane.
Padmanabhan comes to Fordham with an extensive background in academic technology. He most recently served as chief technology officer at Whittle School & Studios, a global institution for students aged 3 to 18, where he led an initiative to develop technology strategies to support a multi-site, multinational K-12 education system in China and the U.S. Before working at Whittle, Padmnabhan served as the senior vice president and CIO for the New School, where he led a 120-member team and supported academia, research, and administrative computing for five years. He has also served as CIO for Everonn Education’s higher education business unit in India, the Shiv Nadar Foundation, the Stern School of Business at New York University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. He earned an MBA from the Stern School of Business, a master’s degree in computer science from Louisiana State University, and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Madras University, one of the oldest universities in India.
In his first week at Fordham, Padmanabhan reflected on what brought him to the University.
“I was looking at the CUSP strategy, and there were multiple things that really drew me into applying for the position—things like reimagining student-centered teaching and learning, looking at how the University deepens its relationship with New York City, from extending Fordham’s global engagement to focusing on research,” said Padmanabhan, who has worked at multiple institutions in New York City over the past two decades. “Many of those things spoke to me. And it looked like the University is really rethinking and moving to the next level.”
At Fordham, Padmanabhan will be addressing technology issues that the University will face in the years ahead. In the midst of a pandemic, Padmanabhan said he looks forward to figuring out how technology can enhance teaching, learning, and working at Fordham, while maintaining interpersonal and social ties.
“Everything has changed and moved to a new normal. Many things are now being done remotely, and technology plays a significant part in making this happen,” said Padmanabhan. “One of the big things for me is to make sure we live up to our standards, whether it’s on campus or off campus … I’m really looking forward to reimagining teaching and learning and various University services for the new normal as we come out of the pandemic, using current and emerging technologies, and making sure that we provide the best service across the community.”