Staff Spotlight: Dr. Sukant Misra
Dr. Sukant Misra currently serves as the Associate Vice-Provost for International Programs at the Office of International Affairs (OIA). Born and raised in the Capital of Orissa,
Bhubaneswar, on the east coast of India, the first time he left his home country was
when he traveled to Mississippi to attend graduate school. He decided to continue
his education in the U.S. after receiving a Bachelor's in Economics and a Master’s
in Applied Economics from Utkal University and working for three years in management
information systems for an Indian company. Married in 1987, he now has three daughters
ages 25, 21 and 17. All three daughters continue to reside in Texas, and the oldest
is a TTU alumna. Since coming to the United States, Dr. Misra has travelled over 35
times to 22 different countries, but no trip was ever more difficult, or life-altering,
than that first long journey to the United States as an international student.
His first year as an international student was the hardest. As a native of India, where it is not customary for students to work, working his way through college was his biggest culture shock. Work was an absolute necessity, however, as he arrived in this country with only $100 to his name. He quickly learned that if you work hard you will be rewarded, for the United States really is the “land of opportunity.” Although his cultural transition was not always easy, he always had a positive approach to life. “You can’t worry about what you can’t control,” he says. “If you are always looking for reasons to be unhappy, you will always be unhappy.”
Dr. Sukant Mishra
Knowing that many students at TTU experience the same kind of culture shock that he experienced at Mississippi State, he advises current international students to recognize their advantages and disadvantages. He points out that international students are “academically strong students,” and emphasizes that they should recognize this strength. International students come to the U.S. “not only for an education, but also to be successful in life,” he says. Just as they should recognize their academic strengths, they should also learn to recognize certain cultural disadvantages. He often asks students, “Do you understand what you are being critical of? Don’t live in your own culture while abroad.” He stresses that students should learn the importance of integrating themselves into the new culture. Misra states, “They don’t have to accept [the new culture] as their own, but they can develop an appreciation for it.”
Dr. Misra made his transition to the OIA from being the Associate Dean of Research in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources because of the exciting opportunity to build a vision for the office as a whole. “Things there had not been completely explored, and that excited me,” he says. At his age of 55, he feels an urge to make an impact and leave a legacy. “I want to use my time wisely and make a difference,” he says. When the opportunity to make a transition to an office full of potential came, he was ready to embrace it. During his time at the OIA, Dr. Misra hopes to increase research productivity and help students and faculty develop global perspectives in order to better prepare students for a globalized workforce and an all-inclusive work field. From his success as an international student to his current role as TTU’s Associate Vice-Provost for International Programs, Dr. Misra serves as a great example for international students at Texas Tech.