Faculty Bios

On this page you can get to know more about the Kennesaw State University faculty and staff who will be leading your Civic Engagement Institute.

Dr. Nuru AkinyemiDr. Nurudeen Akinyemi

Director, Center for African and African Diaspora Studies
Associate Professor, Political Science

Dr. Nurudeen Akinyemi serves as the Director of the Center for African and African Diaspora Studies, and is an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs.  The Center for African and African Diaspora Studies supports Kennesaw State University’s Strategic Plan for Internationalization, through innovative academic programing, partnership with academic institutions in Africa and the Americas, scholarly research, creative activity, workshops, conferences and community engagement.  The Center also collaborates with other divisions and academic programs across the university.

Dr. Akinyemi has taught courses on Comparative Political Systems, International Relations, International Political Economy, International Relations of Africa, the Middle East, and American Politics.  His research areas include International Resource Management, Regional Economic Cooperation, International Water Resource Management and International Migration and Refugee Settlement.  He has traveled extensively in Africa, Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Dr. Pamila DemblaDr. Pamila Dembla

Associate Professor, Information Systems

Dr. Pamila Dembla is the former Director of the India China America Institute. Dr. Dembla has spearheaded a number of initiatives in India which have resulted in significant partnerships in business education and corporate trainings. She has previously held positions at University of New Hampshire.

Dr. Dembla is Associate Professor of Information Systems in the Coles College of Business. She has acted as a consultant to a number of startup technology firms and non-profit organizations. She has a number of state department grants including Model UN exchange programs and an NSF grant totaling approximately $1 million. She is a certified TMC Cultural Orientation Approach (COA) Corporate Practitioner and her interests lie in training global organizations in intercultural competency.

Her research interests include working on cross cultural issues related to global IT projects, specifically with respect to gender. To that effect, her research extends across many cultures including the United States, India, Russia, Ukraine and Mexico.

She has published papers in several journals, including Journal of Global Information Technology Management, Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, Journal of Information Science and Technology, Journal of Information Systems Research and Communications of Global Information Technology. Dr. Dembla has also published many book chapters and presented at multiple regional, national, and international information systems conferences.

Dr. Binbin JiangDr. Binbin Jiang

Executive Director, Division of Global Affairs
Director, CIFAL Atlanta
Professor, International Education

Dr. Binbin Jiang, Director of CIFAL Atlanta, also serves as a Professor of International Education, Leadership and Research, and Executive Director of the Division of Global Affairs at Kennesaw State University. She is also the Academic Director of the YSEALI Program at KSU. Dr. Jiang is an international scholar and leader with over 25 years of experience in teaching, research and administration in multiple international contexts. Educated in both China and the United States, Dr. Jiang has extensive experience in developing and implementing training and professional development to K-16 teachers from Mexico, Japan, and China, as well as in the United States. Dr. Jiang’s research and publications focus on diversity, international education, teaching English learners, and leadership preparation. She has conducted and/or presented research in Belize, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, England, Mexico, Poland, Spain, Turkey, Uganda and the United States.

In 2013, Dr. Jiang was invited by the College of Philosophy, Arts and Education Sciences, Universidad de Cuenca (Cuenca, Ecuador), as a Visiting Professor, from February to August 2013. She co-taught a social research theory and methods seminar to faculty, and a social research theory and methods course to graduate students engaged in thesis research in the Department of English Language & Applied Linguistics. Dr. Jiang’s recent books include: Transforming America: Cultural Cohesion, Educational Achievement and Global Competitiveness (2011); a co-edited volume in Chinese, Educational administration of Elementary and Secondary Schools in the United States (2012); and the co-edited volume Transforming Education: Global Perspectives, Experiences and Implications (2013). In addition to serving on editorial boards of national and international journals, Dr. Jiang also served as the Editor-in-Chief of the journal New Waves: Educational Research and Development, a peer-reviewed international online journal of the Chinese American Educational Research and Development Association for three years (2011-2014), and has published over 60 scholarly works as journal articles or book chapters.


Dr. Tom Pynn Dr. Tom Pynn

Senior Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Studies

Tom is Senior Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies at KSU. He is coordinator of both the Religious Studies and Peace Corps Prep Programs. His scholarly interests in Peace Studies include Asian conceptions and practices of Peace, peace in the world’s religions, making peace with the earth, peace and dialogue, nonviolence in theory and practice, and peace education. His article, “The Dao De Jing on Cultivating Peace” appeared in a recent issue of Peace Review. He recently gave a presentation entitled “Ahimsa: How the Jain Tradition of Nonviolence can help us to (re)think our conceptions and practices of peace and conflict” at the Peace History Society’s 2015 annual conference: “Historical Perspectives on War, Peace, and Religion.” His chapter entitled “The Heart of the Daodejing: Nonviolent Personhood” will appear in the edited volume Peace and War: Neglected Historical and Cultural Perspectives. His paper entitled “Flowers not Bullets: Poetry, Resistance, and the Kent State Massacre” will be delivered at the Peace History Conference in Fall 2019.

Additionally, Tom has been active in various forms of peace work for more than thirty years. Some of his activities include founder of the Athens, GA chapter of Pax Christi, activist for Greenpeace, U.S.A., activist on the Nuclear-Free Athens Campaign, Board Member of “Alternative in Action!”, and Green Party organizer and activist. He is currently the faculty co-advisor to the KSU Student Union for Peace and Human Rights, The KSU Humane Students Association, and the KSU Humanists, Atheists, and Agnostics.


Dr. Murali VenugopalanDr. Murali Venugopalan

Director, International Grants and Partnerships
Administrative Director and Faculty, YSEALI Institute

Dr. Venugopalan has worked in the field of international education since 1995 and has visited Southeast Asia several times. He received his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Kansas, and holds an M.S. in International Relations with an emphasis in Conflict Management from Illinois State University. He earned his B.A. in both Political Science and Economics (double major) from University of Illinois-Urbana.

Dr. Venugopalan has published and edited papers on international relations and education, recruited students from more than 25 countries, and presented at major conferences in more than 10 countries. Dr. Venugopalan currently serves as Director of International Grants and Partnerships at Kennesaw State University. In this position, he writes grant proposals and administers grant programs, as well as coordinates partnerships with universities overseas. In 2018, he served as Administrative Director of two YSEALI programs, and in Fall 2019, he will continue in this capacity as well as a faculty member. Additionally, Dr. Venugopalan supervises an intern through the Long-Term Education Administrators Program (LEAP) (August 2019-March 2020).

 This is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. government, administered by Kennesaw State University.