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Larry Finkelstein, dean of CCIS, to step down

Larry Finkelstein, who has served as dean of Northeastern University’s College of Computer and Information Science for the last 18 years, will step down from his position before the start of the next academic year.

“Serving as dean of our college has been the highlight of my academic career,” Finkelstein said. “By every objective measure, the college is in the strongest position it has ever been and is primed to take the next giant step forward. These accomplishments are due to the efforts of our talented faculty, staff and students who are dedicated to the continuing success of the college. During this final year, I will work hard to see that our ambitious new initiatives are firmly established.”

Stephen W. Director, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, announced the news to the Northeastern community on Wednesday.

“Larry’s work over the years has made a tremendous impact on CCIS and advanced the university’s teaching and research mission in critical areas, such as improving the quality of health care through innovative information technology and securing the nation’s cyberinfrastructure,” Director said.

Finkelstein joined the Northeastern faculty in 1983, just one year after the College of Computer and Information Science was founded. During his tenure, CCIS was awarded two National Centers of Academic Excellence—one from the National Security Agency for a center in Cyber Operations and the other from both the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security for a center in Information Assurance Research & Education. During the last three years, research funding has increased by 180 percent.

In addition to pioneering combined majors at Northeastern, CCIS has also launched several groundbreaking and interdisciplinary programs at the undergraduate, graduate and doctorate levels. These programs include bachelor’s degrees in computer science with a concentration in cyberoperations and master’s and doctorate degrees in health informatics and information assurance.

Under Finkelstein’s leadership, the quality of students enrolled in CCIS has increased significantly and the college has expanded experiential education opportunities for undergraduates and graduate students, including adding numerous positions at Fortune 500 companies.

Finkelstein also helped lead the development of online options for professional master’s students, including making all of these programs available at Northeastern’s graduate campuses in Charlotte, N.C., and Seattle, Wash.

As dean, Finkelstein strengthened the college’s teaching and research enterprise in the core disciplines of computing and pursued new fields such as network science, computational social science and “big data.”  He has hired outstanding faculty throughout his tenure who have advanced this expanded view of computing and significantly elevated the external reputation of the college.

After taking a one-year sabbatical, Finkelstein plans on returning to the faculty to teach and oversee a research program.

In the coming months, the university will conduct a national search for a new dean.