Larry Finkelstein, dean of CCIS, to step down

In leading the College of Computer and Information Science for the last 18 years, Larry Finkelstein advanced Northeastern’s teaching and research mission in critical areas and expanded experiential education opportunities for students.

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.