A scholar who has developed a reputation for collaborating across disciplines and using his area of expertise to advance knowledge in fields ranging from advanced manufacturing and workforce development to social media safety is receiving an honor that recognizes his work.

Kapil Chalil Madathil (left) works with Jeff Bertrand in their Clemson University lab, where they create virtual reality simulations to support workforce development.

Kapil Chalil Madathil (right) works with Jeff Bertrand in their Clemson University lab, where they create virtual reality simulations to support workforce development.

Kapil Chalil Madathil has been named the new Wilfred P. Tiencken Assistant Professor at Clemson University. 

“It’s an honor to be recognized for my work, especially the collaborative research I’ve done with partners in other disciplines,” Chalil Madathil said. “I’m planning to use this particular professorship as a mechanism for educating the public about the potential of human-factors engineering and looking at the principles and the guidelines that have developed in the discipline.”

Chalil Madathil holds dual appointments in the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering and the Department of Industrial Engineering. He also serves as director of technology for the Clemson University Center for Workforce Development.

Chalil Madathil said that he is planning a distinguished lecture series primarily focused on his area of expertise, human-factors engineering, which will give Clemson faculty and students a chance to learn from leaders in the field. Human-factors engineering brings together the strengths of people and machines to accomplish tasks together.

“The tools and techniques from human-factors engineering could be used in other disciplines,” he said. “We would like faculty members in other departments and colleges to understand what this particular domain is, the interdisciplinary nature of this particular domain and how human-factors engineering can advance knowledge in multiple disciplines.”

Chalil Madathil has done a wide variety of research. For example, he is working with researchers from other disciplines, including psychology, to develop new ways of protecting adolescents from harmful social media challenges.

He has also overseen the creation of several virtual reality programs aimed at expanding the advanced manufacturing workforce. One of his more recent projects is a collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to create new curriculum in photonics manufacturing.

Jesus M. de la Garza, chair of the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering, said that Chalil Madathil is highly deserving of the assistant professorship.

“His hard work, creativity and passion are making a real, practical difference in the lives of students in Clemson and around the world,” de la Garza said. “I congratulate Kapil on this well-deserved honor.” 

Jeffrey P. Kharoufeh, chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering, said that Chalil Madathil’s high quality teaching, research and professional service make him exceptionally qualified for the named assistant professorship. 

“Kapil’s ability to attract funding from the most competitive federal sources and his commitment to high-quality scholarship, have been nothing short of exemplary,” Kharoufeh said. “His research collaborators across multiple academic disciplines describe him as a consummate researcher, a dependable colleague and a true gentleman.  He is well-positioned to become one of the nation’s leading scholars in human factors engineering.”

Chalil Madathil said that of all his accomplishments, he is most proud of his students’ success. For example, one of his former Ph.D. students is a postdoctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins University, and one is a data scientist at SunTrust Banks. An undergraduate who studied under him has a Department of Defense SMART Scholarship that all but guarantees her a job after graduation.