Dr. Mahesh Daas is a global academic leader known for innovation in architecture, design, higher education leadership, and design computing. Daas uniquely combines his knowledge of the disciplines of design with a deep respect and understanding of the institution of higher learning. This enables him to step in the intersections between disciplines and build bridges between silos.
Determined to rise above his modest roots in India, Daas earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture at Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in Hyderabad, India. That same fortitude led him to immigrate to the United States, earning a master of architecture in urban design from Kansas State University, and an executive doctor of education degree in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.
Throughout his career, Daas has been honored for his exceptional creative achievements, leadership, and innovative approach to teaching. In 2011, he became only the second person of Asian origin and the youngest educator to be named an Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) Distinguished Professor, one of the highest national recognitions for an architectural educator. The Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) has twice elected him as its president, and recognized his leadership in 2013 with the ACADIA Society Award of Excellence.
Today, Daas is the Chairperson of the Department of Architecture at Ball State University. He has been at Ball State since 2008, also serving as the inaugural Emerging Media Fellow of the university’s Center for Media Design. Daas teaches courses in design thinking, innovation methods, advanced digital fabrication, and entrepreneurial leadership.
Prior to joining Ball State, Daas served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research of the College of Architecture at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Kansas State University.
He publishes widely in scholarly and popular forums and has delivered keynote speeches at conferences across the world. Daas is the author of the forthcoming book (from Lexington Press, a Rowman and Little imprint) on aesthetic and psychodynamic approaches to higher education leadership illustrated by a study of presidential leadership at MIT.
At the University of Texas at San Antonio, he won the President’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Creative Production. Additionally, he is a co-recipient of a 2001 Kansas City AIA Merit Award for the Baron BMW Dealership building, and a 2007 recipient of International Fabrics Foundation Outstanding Achievement Award for the design and construction of Advanced Fabrics Exhibition.
Daas has been a peer reviewer for the National Science Foundation and served on an NSF delegation to Israel in 2010 to explore bilateral research opportunities in sustainable materials and technologies. In 2011, he chaired an NSF symposium and workshop on Materials and Manufacturing for Extreme Affordability at Ball State. Daas also has served on research review panels for the Canadian government and, in 2012, was part of a U.S.-Ireland higher education summit in Dublin convened by the Irish Education Ministry and the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.
His creative spirit extends beyond his work – Daas is also an award winning creative writer.