Dean, School of Arts and Sciences
Dr. Akhila Ramnarayan 18 years of research and teaching experience. Dr. Ramnarayan has explored her creative and scholarly interests in literature and performing arts of the global south, metacognition, learning in higher education and in the arts, writing studies, and postcolonial/transnational feminisms. She earned her PhD in English from The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio in 2006. Dr. Ramnarayan is currently working on a book-length manuscript that straddles creative and scholarly genres, bringing together academic research questions with experiments in pedagogy, learning, and performance for the twenty-first century.
A key member and executive director of Chennai’s globally touring theatre company ‘JustUs Repertory’ and founder member of performing arts institute ‘Sahrdaya Foundation’, Dr. Ramnarayan has featured in lead roles in several JustUs Repertory plays, and scripted in 2015 for Sahrdaya Foundation the first ever stage adaptation of Don Quixote in Bharatanatyam and Carnatic music idioms. She has received national recognition for theatre (acting) as the 2013-2014 awardee of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar. More recently, Dr Ramnarayan has independently released–with the musical collective Akhila & the Alchemists–a full-length indie rock album titled Woe Begone (2021).
Beginning her academic career as Assistant Professor of postcolonial studies at the University of Dayton in 2005, Dr Ramnarayan subsequently relocated to India to pursue theatre. She also taught at the Asian College of Journalism as Guest Faculty, and headed Learning and Development at Pramati Technologies. Most recently, she served as Associate Professor of literature at Krea University, where she was the founding chair of the Division of Literature and the Arts, School of Interwoven Arts and Sciences.
At Sai University, Dr. Ramnarayan will be responsible for teaching and will explore strategies for learning, research, and praxis in higher education.