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Faculty members are key to shaping academic enterprise

Northeastern’s faculty members are critical players in advancing the University’s pursuit of academic innovations that offer students increased challenge and exploration, President Joseph E. Aoun told the Faculty Senate on Wednesday.

Speaking in Raytheon Amphitheatre at the Senate’s bimonthly meeting, the president said that the University will accelerate its strong momentum by making quality a “nonnegotiable” value. Northeastern will continue to provide students with a transformative education anchored in co-op, he said, and take advantage of opportunities that the economy is offering, such as in the sustained recruitment of outstanding faculty.

Aoun underscored that at the heart of this mission are the talented teachers and scholars who form the backbone of the University, and he urged faculty members, deans and department heads to play a greater role in shaping the curriculum of the future. “It’s in your hands,” Aoun said.

The president noted that the hybrid management system being implemented by Northeastern empowers schools and colleges to assume increased ownership of the academic enterprise, creating greater opportunity for the faculty to develop programmatic and curricular innovations.

In answer to a question about how the University is moving to add greater challenge to academics and elevate the intellectual tone of the campus, the president noted the continuing establishment of innovative new programs of study. “It is you! I encourage you to keep pushing it in that direction,” he said.

He stressed that maintaining the upward trajectory in the quality of incoming students and faculty members is an essential priority for Northeastern. Providing students with more attractive and flexible program opportunities—in global and research experiences, in time-to-degree options, and in “plus-one” master’s programs, and others—is crucial to meeting the goal, and faculty are a critical part of that solution, he said.

“The beauty is that we work at a place that is all about ideas,” he added. “We want ideas to flow from department chairs, the colleges, and the deans. We want to have more great ideas than we can possibly implement. Then we need to work together in taking these ideas and making them happen.”

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