Flyers Embracing Global Experiences: Dr. Guru Subramanyam

Dr. Guru Subramanyam is Professor and Chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and shares how international collaborations and partnerships have helped to shape his passion for international education and exchange.

What has influenced or shaped your passion for international education and exchange?

About ten years ago, we [the University of Dayton] had opportunity to improve how we publicized our world-class programs and opportunities. So, every time I had the chance to go abroad, attend an international conference or visit other institutions, I took advantage and tried to make connections on behalf of UD and develop partnerships even for myself. It is important that we not survive alone. Having global partnerships impacts us as a global leader and enhances our own reputation. It also brings out the best academic experience for our students.

Can you share an intercultural experience or moment that inspired you?

In 2001 I had a joint program with Chalmers University of Science and Technology in Sweden. NSF funding helped me to go there often as well as a student. The experience opened my eyes in terms of how we look at things. I didn’t have the same thinking as them in terms of the design process but in the collaboration we brought our different perspectives together to come up with some novel applications. They had strong industry-university partnerships so when I visited their microelectronics facility I was amazed to see eighty plus companies using their innovation center. I later proposed that UD’s School of Engineering explore an innovation center. This experience gave me a new perspective and impacted my career in positive ways. The entire trip was inspiring to me.

In your opinion, what are some benefits to international education and exchange?

Experiencing other cultures is uplifting; there is always something to learn. It also exposes us to ways we never thought of before. And, as a result can lead to potential new partnerships for collaborations. For me, these international experiences and partnerships have positively shaped my career. The global perspective has made me a better researcher, teacher, and person.

Where is a place you have always wanted to explore, and why?

Japan is one place that I always wanted to explore. The history, culture, and their high tech society is fascinating.

What is one aspect or memory of home that you still embrace today?

My home as I remember was always open for visitors anytime. I have a similar open door policy for my office. Anybody can walk into my office without making an appointment. I make sure that I can help students, staff or faculty anytime they need my help.

Where are some places you have traveled that expanded your perspective of yourself and the world?

Every international trip has given me a new learning experience. Also, giving lectures or teaching abroad whether in China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Sweden, or South Korea has given me a new perspective as well. As I mentioned, Chalmers University of Science and Technology in Sweden was a very special collaboration that we had, leading to patents and publications. It is also a top notch university. Collaboration with other foreign institutions has given me new research directions as well.

Who is someone that has inspired you or you believe to be a role model for global leadership? Why?

Nelson Mandela is one who has inspired me as a global leader. His remarkable life touched me in a very positive way. Mother Teresa is the other global leader who led a remarkable life dedicated to serving humanity.

If you had to pick a life motto or quote, what would it be? Why?

One life motto I have adopted is: “whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability.” This motto has helped me stay positive in life and accomplish things that I never thought could be accomplished.
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