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Stevens: President Farvardin Featured By Chronicle Of Higher Education


Stevens Institute of Technology President Nariman Farvardin interviewed and featured by The Chronicle of Higher Education

Interview discusses rebuilding trust, strategic planning, workforce preparation, technology in higher ed

Stevens Institute of Technology President Nariman Farvardin was interviewed and featured by The Chronicle of Higher Education as part of the Chronicle’s”On Leadership” video series, which explores leadership with “movers and shakers across academe.”

During the talk, conducted with Chronicle senior writer Karin Fischer in the publication’s Washington, D.C. offices, Farvardin opened by discussing Stevens’ upward trajectory over the past five years. That progress, he explained, traces its beginnings to a community-wide strategic planning exercise he initiated in 2011. The nature of that exercise, he said, created a strong collective sense of purpose and direction for Stevens. The subsequent implementation of the plan’s recommendations has paved the way for remarkable progress.

“A sense of trust and confidence in the administration has been instilled in the community,” noted Farvardin. “People are proud of their association with the institution and very happy about the progress that is being made.”

For more stories about Stevens, scroll down:

Names Dr. Christophe Pierre As Provost And Vice President For Academic Affairs
Announces Dr. Kelland Thomas As New Dean Of The College Of Arts And Letters (CAL)

Farvardin then discussed the university’s remarkable career outcomes data, which indicate 95 percent of recent graduating seniors secure positions or enter graduate schools within six months of graduation. He identified two keys to that success: Stevens’ close linkage and alignment with the needs of the workforce and the university’s integration of technology into all curricula, from computing to finance to music technology.

He also noted how Stevens students receive training in the humanities, and “very strong and very balanced exposure to liberal arts, to ethics, to philosophy, to the values of our democracy.”

Farvardin concluded by discussing his own positive experiences as an entrepreneur co-founding a startup company approximately 15 years ago, and the responsibility of higher education leadership to continue to nurture new ideas and ventures.

“This country is founded by a group of adventurous, smart, risk-taking entrepreneurs,” said Farvardin. “These people have contributed to generating an enormous amount of wealth for our country. These people have paved the way for extremely high standards of living that we all enjoy.

“And I think it’s our collective responsibility to create an environment for future generations to be even more successful entrepreneurs, to solve societal problems, and to make our country and the world a better place. As such, I think that should be an important part of the leadership responsibility of any university president.”

Names Dr. Christophe Pierre As Provost And Vice President For Academic Affairs

University of Illinois Vice President brings extensive research and administrative experience

Stevens Institute of Technology has selected Dr. Christophe Pierre, Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Illinois, to serve in the role of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs effective August 22, 2016. The announcement follows a nationwide search and intensive selection process.

In this role, Pierre will serve as an officer of the university and its second highest-ranking administrator. As chief academic officer, he will be responsible for the academic integrity of the institution, for all programs and administrative offices related to the academic enterprise, and — in consultation with faculty, officers, and trustees — for long-range academic strategic planning, resource allocation and new initiatives. In consultation with the deans of the schools and the leaders of Stevens’ centers, programs, and institutes, he will also lead cross-disciplinary activities and improvements and innovations in teaching and research. Pierre will succeed current Provost George Korfiatis, who is stepping down from the post after nine years of service in that capacity.

Pierre has distinguished himself as a faculty member, researcher, and academic administrator and through skilled financial management and successful fundraising endeavors. At the University of Illinois, a state institution with three campuses serving 80,000 students, he has held the position of chief academic officer for the university since 2011 and has served as the President’s deputy. In these roles, he has advised the President on matters of educational policy, academic programs, personnel actions, and capital and operating budgets. He has been responsible for the coordination of academic planning and budgeting, working closely with academic leaders on all three University of Illinois campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. He has also held the appointment as Professor of Mechanical Science and Engineering on the Urbana-Champaign campus.

“I am enormously proud and very excited that a scholar and academic administrator of the caliber of Dr. Christophe Pierre will join Stevens as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs,” said Stevens President Nariman Farvardin. “His exemplary record of achievement as a teacher, a scholar, an academic administrator and advocate for higher education will ensure that Stevens realizes its full potential in the years ahead. I am very much looking forward to working with Dr. Pierre.”

“I am deeply honored and very pleased to have the opportunity to serve as Stevens’ academic leader,” said Pierre. “Stevens is a superb university with a tremendous legacy, an exciting growth trajectory led by President Farvardin, and a bright future. Stevens’ core emphasis on technological innovation, together with its steadfast commitment to excellence, makes it uniquely positioned to be a global leader and to address complex technical and societal problems. I am eager to work in partnership with the entire faculty and with Stevens’ academic and administrative leadership to help realize this compelling vision.”

Prior to joining the University of Illinois, Pierre served as Dean of Engineering at McGill University in Montreal from 2005 through 2011 and as Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Initiatives in the University of Michigan’s Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies from 1999 through 2005, among other roles in higher education.

He is a fellow of The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and received ASME’s N. O. Myklestad Award in 2005 for his work in vibration localization.

Pierre is a leader in the fields of vibrations, structural dynamics and nonlinear dynamics. He has made seminal research contributions in numerous areas of mechanical and aerospace engineering, including the dynamics of complex large-scale structural systems, with application to aerospace and automotive structures. Over the years he has received extensive research support from General Electric, NASA, General Motors, the National Science Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the U.S. Army, and Pratt & Whitney Canada, among other industry and government sponsors, and authored or co-authored more than 120 research articles for refereed journals.

Pierre holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from France’s École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures de Paris, a master’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and materials science from Duke University.

Pierre will also hold an appointment as professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Stevens.

Announces Dr. Kelland Thomas As New Dean Of The College Of Arts And Letters (CAL)

Thomas currently served as associate director of the University of Arizona’s School of Information and director of the university’s Creative Computing Lab. From 2014-2015, he also served as interim director of the university’s School of Information: Science, Technology, and Arts (SISTA).

Since the university’s founding in 1870, arts and humanities education has played a central role in Stevens’ mission in educating future engineers, technologists, entrepreneurs and scientists in a manner that enables them to become literate, articulate, creative and ethically responsible. Established in 2007 by the Stevens Board of Trustees, the College of Arts & Letters is devoted to humanities and liberal arts education and research as seen through the lens of science and technology.

“CAL is already an exceptional place where the arts, humanities and social sciences are infused with technological thinking and doing, and I look forward to advancing that vision,” Thomas said of his decision to join Stevens. “At CAL, I see a tremendous opportunity to increase the reputation and identity of the school as a place where exciting research and teaching happens, one that prepares graduates to become critical thinkers and scholars, but with the extra dimension of understanding computing, technology, information science and how all of those things inform and affect our society.”

“I am delighted that Dr. Kelland Thomas is joining Stevens as dean of the College of Arts and Letters. His appointment begins a new chapter in the evolution of humanities, arts and social sciences education and research at Stevens. I am confident that, under his leadership, the College of Arts and Letters will distinguish itself as a premier college that creates new knowledge at the intersection of the humanities and technology, and one that educates the leaders of tomorrow who are able to seamlessly integrate the humanistic and technical domains,” said Stevens President Nariman Farvardin.

“The exciting growth trend in higher education is thinking about how technology, computing and the liberal arts work together and influence each other,” added George Korfiatis, provost and university vice president of Stevens. “Dr. Kelland Thomas’ background and experience as an accomplished musician, artist, researcher, educator and academic administrator make him perfectly suited to bring to bear this focus as dean.”

Thomas is co-investigator on a $2.3 million research award from DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) to facilitate the interactive creation of jazz music by musicians and computers working together. In collaboration with investigators from the University of Illinois and Oberlin College, Thomas and his colleagues will build MUSICA (MUSical Improvising Collaborative Agent), a new software platform and device — possibly a robot — that will attempt to understand and improve the ways in which computers communicate with humans and create.

Thomas is also co-investigator in a research award to create a geographically accurate Virtual Harlem, a three-dimensional virtual reality environment useful for simulation, modeling, urban planning and game design, among other purposes.

Thomas holds a doctoral degree in saxophone performance and a master’s degree in music theory from the University of Michigan, as well as a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Arizona. He also previously served as a professor and career development program coordinator in the University of Arizona’s School of Music and as a professor at the University of Windsor in Windsor, Ontario.