Joseph E. Aoun, a well-known higher education thought leader and renowned scholar in linguistics, is the seventh President of Northeastern University.
An internationally respected voice on the value of global and experiential education, President Aoun led the global expansion of Northeastern’s signature co-op program, bringing experiential learning opportunities to 148 countries. During his tenure, the University has created a global university system spanning 12 campuses across North America and the UK, quadrupled external research funding to more than $200 million in annual awards, hired more than 800 tenured and tenure-track faculty, and earned the designation of an R1 research institution.
He is the author of numerous articles and books, including Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (MIT Press, 2017). In it, he confronts the need for colleges and universities to meet the challenges and opportunities of the complex digital economy. The book lays out a blueprint for higher education with three primary components: a new curriculum for the A.I. age; the case for experiential learning, the ideal delivery system for this new curriculum; and a call for higher education to place lifelong learning at the heart of the educational enterprise.
President Aoun came to Northeastern from the University of Southern California’s College of Letters, Arts & Sciences where he was the inaugural holder of the Anna H. Bing Dean’s Chair. He received his Ph.D. in linguistics and philosophy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and advanced degrees from the University of Paris VIII (France) and Saint Joseph University (Beirut, Lebanon).
He was named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor and a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques by the French government, and is a recipient of the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Academic Leadership Award. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a past Chair of the American Council on Education.