P.K. Agarwal, an accomplished executive whose distinguished career in high tech spans the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, has been appointed regional dean and CEO of Northeastern University-Silicon Valley.
Agarwal will oversee the series of educational hubs Northeastern plans to open in close collaboration with industries across the Bay Area in the future. The university announced in March that the first hub would be located in Silicon Valley at Integrated Device Technology, an entrepreneurial and widely respected industry partner.
Northeastern will bring its renowned experiential learning model and global industry network to a northern California market that demands more professionals educated in science, technology, engineering, and math—particularly women and underrepresented minorities. These hubs will offer master’s degree and certificate programs that align with the specific industry needs of those areas, and Northeastern will collaborate with companies to develop curricula that features an experiential dimension through co-op placements, corporate residencies, and special projects.
Agarwal brings a wealth of leadership, global insight, and expertise to Northeastern. Most recently he served as the CEO of TiE Global, a Silicon Valley-based nonprofit focused on fostering entrepreneurship, where he oversaw innovative programs that have helped more than 9,000 startups across the globe grow through mentoring, networking, education, incubating, and funding. He also advised policymakers worldwide on economic and job creation issues.
Agarwal noted that today’s fast-moving economy is in great need of a highly skilled workforce—33 percent of job openings in the San Francisco Bay Area prefer or require an advanced degree, while only 18 percent of the workforce holds one, according to the Burning Glass Labor/Insight Database. At the same time, he said, higher education is ripe for reinvention, and he is impressed with Northeastern’s novel approach in the region to co-locate with an industry partner and focus on experiential education in providing advanced degrees in high-tech disciplines.
This model, he added, presents enormous value for companies and students.
“I’m very excited for this opportunity,” Agarwal said. “I strongly believe that Northeastern is really being a disruptor in higher education. The more I understood Northeastern, the more I realized that we’re on a path toward rewriting the script of what higher education really means.”
Northeastern University-Silicon Valley is the latest addition to the university’s global network, which includes the flagship campus in Boston; regional campuses in Seattle and Charlotte, North Carolina; and more than 3,000 industry partners worldwide.
With more than 25 years of diverse executive experience, Agarwal has built a strong and respected reputation due to his many professional accomplishments, his sharp industry knowledge, and the long-term relationships he’s cultivated with business, government, and academia.
From October 2005 to April 2010, Agarwal served as California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s chief technology officer, a role in which he helped transform the state government’s IT system, saved taxpayers $60 million through consolidation and streamlining, and raised the state’s national Web ranking from #47 in 2006 to #1 in 2010.
He also helped pioneer the use of the Internet in government and shaped the national and state policy in this area, dating back to Al Gore’s National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council in 1995.
Agarwal has held positions of vice president at ACS (now Xerox) and executive vice president at NIC, Inc., a leading national provider of official government websites and other online services. He also held the distinction of having a U.S. national annual award named in his honor from 2000 to 2007, with the “P.K. Agarwal Award for Leadership in Electronic Government.”
Agarwal holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi, and two master’s degrees—one in mechanical engineering from California State University, Sacramento, the other in operations research from the University of California, Berkeley.