Northeastern University President Joseph E. Aoun has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society. Bestowed upon the association’s members by their peers, election as a fellow is recognition of the individual’s efforts to advance science or its applications.
Aoun, a noted linguist, was selected as a result of his distinguished contributions to general syntactic theory—particularly the understanding of referential relationships—and for productive analytical work on many languages, notably Arabic and Chinese.
Aoun is one of a select group of scholars and scientists to receive the honor this year. In addition to Aoun, nine Northeastern faculty members and deans are also fellows. They are professors Paul Champion, Albert-László Barabási, Lisa Feldman Barrett, Barry Karger, Alexandros Makriyannis, Joanne Miller, and Pran Nath; Nadine Aubry, dean of the College of Engineering; and J. Murray Gibson, founding dean of the College of Science.
In addition to his scholarly achievements, Aoun is a national leader on issues critical to higher education. He frequently writes and speaks about innovation in higher education, with particular emphasis on American higher education in a global context.
Earlier this year, Aoun concluded his term as chair of the American Council on Education, the nation’s largest higher education advocacy organization. He also serves on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s academic advisory council. He has led efforts to support critical defense and homeland security research funding, to preserve federal financial aid for students, and to advance experiential learning as a valuable educational model.
Aoun holds a doctorate in linguistics and philosophy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and advanced degrees from the University of Paris in France VIII and Saint Joseph University in Lebanon.
He has published seven books and written more than 40 articles. Aoun is also a fellow of the Linguistic Society of America and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2006 he was named a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques (Knight of the Order of the Academic Palms) by the French government. In 2011, he received the prestigious Robert A. Muh Award from MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is the immediate past chair of the American Council on Education.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is a global association with a mission to advance science, engineering, and innovation through education and leadership. The organization produces scientific publications, including Science magazine.