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 higher education, President Aoun has led the global expansion of Northeastern’s signature co-op program, bringing experiential learning opportunities to more than 140 countries. During his tenure, the University has created a global university system spanning 13 campuses across North America and the UK, quadrupled external research funding, and hired more than 800 tenured and tenure-track faculty.
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 lays out a blueprint for colleges and universities to meet the challenges and opportunities associated with the transformative effects of artificial intelligence. The book outlines three primary strategies: a new curriculum for the A.I. age called “humanics”; 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. Most recently, he received the Peter J. Tanous Founder’s award from the American Task Force on Lebanon for his exceptional achievements in education.