Khanjan Mehta has been named the inaugural vice provost for creative inquiry and director of Lehigh’s Mountaintop initiative, according to an email from Pat Farrell, the provost and vice president of academic affairs.
Mehta will bring to Lehigh his experience as the founding director of the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship Program, assistant professor of engineering design and affiliate professor of international affairs at Penn State. He will officially assume his new role on Dec. 30.
The Mountaintop Initiative debuted three years ago and has since garnered substantial momentum, infrastructure, resources and a deep institutional commitment. It is an interdisciplinary experience that allows students to pursue creative and innovative endeavors with the support of Lehigh faculty and resources. Mehta’s role, Farrell said in an article on Lehigh’s website, will be to “grow and internationally champion the approach that places independent inquiry and discovery at the core of the Lehigh student experience.”
At Penn State, Mehta was immersed in the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship Program, the overarching goal of which was to deliver sustainable impact while preparing students for careers in the fields of social innovation and global sustainable development. He said he was captivated by Lehigh’s “clarion call for creative inquiry that spans disciplines and cultures.”
“(Mehta) clearly believes that far-reaching innovation happens when concepts and disciplines converge,” Farrell wrote, “and he’s demonstrated that commitment in his role at Penn State, where he collaborated with students and faculty from every college within Penn State.”
In the email, Farrell wrote that the selection process for this inaugural role required “a great deal of thoughtful consideration,” and he thanked the members of the search committee for their efforts and insights.
“(Mehta has) been an innovative, true champion of interdisciplinary creative inquiry, both across Penn State and nationally,” said Todd Watkins, an economics professor who chaired the committee. “As we did our due diligence, faculty colleagues’ and students’ enthusiasm, devotion and praise for Khanjan was palpable… I’m delighted he’s joining the Lehigh family and I’m very much looking forward to put shoulder to boulder with him.”