Sunanda Dissanayake

Sunanda Dissanayake, Ph.D., P.E., F. ASCE

Dr. Dissanayake is the Chair and Professor of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Dept. at Kennesaw State University (KSU). Before joining KSU in the summer of 2021, she was a professor of Civil Engineering and the Associate Dean of the Graduate School at Kansas State University (K-State). She obtained her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka, a Master of Engineering degree from the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand, and a Ph.D. from the University of South Florida, after which she joined K-State as an Assistant Professor in 2002. Dr. Dissanayake has taught numerous transportation engineering-related courses at both graduate and undergraduate levels at K-State preparing the future generation of Civil Engineers ready for the real world. She has also been the PI and Co-PI of numerous research projects in traffic engineering and highway safety. Some examples of her previous research include speed limit-related issues on gravel roads, economic benefits of safety improvements, safety issues related to special population groups such as young drivers and older drivers, motorcycle safety, improving seatbelt usage rates and associated benefits, truck crashes and reducing severity, rural highway safety and crash analysis, children’s transportation safety, calibration of the Highway Safety Manual for local conditions, evaluation of safety effects of bypass lanes in rural areas, before-and-after studies, and calculating Crash Modification Factors for lane departure crashes among many others. Her research has been funded by state departments of transportation, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and several University Transportation Centers. 

Dr. Dissanayake is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, has received the prestigious Fulbright Award for sabbatical leave and served as a senior scholar for the University of Peradeniya. She has authored and co-authored more than 55 journal papers and presented more than 170 papers at national, international, and regional conferences, most of which are proceedings papers. She has been highly active in several professional societies, a member of two journal editorial boards, a member of two TRB technical committees, and has been the chair of the Transportation Safety Committee of ASCE/T&DI for more than 10 years. She has won the Outstanding University and Professional Service Award, Advisor of the Year Award, Outstanding Teacher Award, and Outstanding Researcher Award at K-State several times and has been recognized as a Fellow of ASCE. As the Associate Dean of the graduate school at K-State she assisted in all aspects related to graduate education at K-State that included recruitment and retention of graduate students, admissions of graduate students, assisting with professional development activities, promoting graduate and professional education, facilitating program quality, and advocating for graduate students through various venues. Currently, as the department chair, she is overseeing the academic programs, budgetary matters, and human resource management related to a major academic unit with about 800 students, 19 Full-time faculty, and more than 20 part-time faculty members, providing strategic direction to the department and its academic and research programs.