The Dean

Man in black blazer seated before a steel wall

Dr. Rikakis joins the Academy from Virginia Tech, where he was professor of Bioengineering, professor of Performing Arts, and co-led the Virginia Tech Carilion Smart Rehabilitation Lab and the Interactive Neurorehabilitation Lab. He was the founding director of the Calhoun Discovery Program (CDP) and director of the Calhoun Center for Higher Education Innovation – both of which exemplify his visionary leadership and dedication to developing new education paradigms to prepare students to be creators and leaders in the ever-shifting world of the 21st century.

Prior to establishing the CDP, Dr. Rikakis served as Virginia Tech’s executive vice president and provost and has held leadership positions at Carnegie Mellon University, where he founded the Integrative Design, Arts and Technology (IDeATe) network; Columbia University where he served as associate director for research and development of the Computer Music Center; Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece); and Arizona State University where he was the founding director of the School of Arts, Media and Engineering. His leadership in establishing new educational programs builds upon his research interests which include systems design, engineering, and the arts with a special focus on interactive neurorehabilitation, adaptive learning, experiential media, and cyber-human intelligence.

His groundbreaking work has received grants from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and National Endowment for the Arts, and a range of industry partners. He has led gift efforts from philanthropy and industry totaling more than $75MM.

Dr. Rikakis has authored 45 publications spanning the fields of computing, engineering, health, education, design, and the arts. Additionally, Dr. Rikakis has composed 30 original music compositions that have been performed internationally.

“Academia has achieved significant progress in knowledge through the focused approach of the disciplines. But the integration of different disciplines, different approaches, is where we’re going to see many future breakthroughs in human intelligence.” - Thanassis Rikakis

Select Publications


  • Adapting Lifelong Learning for an Inclusive Knowledge Economy [PDF]


  • Automated Movement Assessment in Stroke Rehabilitation [PDF]
  • Smart Skin: Vision-Based Soft Pressure Sensing System for In-Home Hand Rehabilitation
  • Toward an Integrative Professional and Personal Competency-Based Learning Model for Inclusive Workforce Development, International Multi-Conference on Society, Cybernetics and Informatics
  • Hybrid Workflow Process for Home Based Movement Capture
  • Towards standardized processes for physical therapists to quantify patient rehabilitation
  • Transdisciplinary and Trans-sector Knowledge Ecosystems Leverage Interdependencies, Promote Agency and Advance Knowledge Democracies
  • Progressive Cyber Human Intelligence


  • Multilayer Reflective Learning and the IYA Learning Framework, Thanassis Rikakis and Doug Thomas. Keynote Presentation at TEFL Kuwait Interdisciplinary Multidisciplinary Conference 2023. [Watch Video]
  • Keynote presentation for Visualizing Biological Data (VIZBI) 2022 meeting – Bridge Event for Communicating COVID data workshop [Watch Video]

Musical Composition

  • Krisis, for flute, bassoon, cello and trombone [MP3]

For a comprehensive list of the Dean's research, compositions and presentations, please visit his website.

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