Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

The Provost guides the university in implementing the academic plan, with a special responsibility for integrating academic planning across the colleges and fostering cross-college interdisciplinary initiatives within the goals of the plan. The Provost collaborates with the President in setting overall academic priorities for the university and allocates funds to support those priorities; and works with the Deans, the Colleges, and the Faculty Senate to ensure that recruitment, mentoring, and tenure and promotion processes attract and retain excellent faculty.

The Provost is also charged with:

  • sustaining and enlarging Northeastern’s reputation as a leading center of experiential education;
  • enhancing the research mission of the university by elevating research funding, strengthening the research infrastructure, and extending partnerships with industry consistent with the university’s academic plan’s focus on interdisciplinary and translational research;
  • furthering the University’s distinctive centers of emerging excellence in the arts and humanities and their partnerships with other area institutions; and
  • in cooperation with other senior administrative officers, developing the university’s annual budget and long-term financial plans and overseeing the delivery of strong administrative services to support the university’s academic activities.

The Deans of the university’s academic units and the Library report to the Provost.


A native of Long Island, Director received a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1965 and master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering in 1967 and 1968, respectively, from the University of California at Berkeley.

Professional Accomplishments

Prior to joining Northeastern University, Stephen W. Director served as the Provost at Drexel University and Robert J. Vlasic Dean of the College of Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan. He received the B.S. degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1965 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1967 and 1968, respectively. From 1968 until 1977 he was with the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Florida, Gainesville. From September 1974 to August 1975, he was a visiting scientist in the Mathematical Sciences Department at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY. He joined Carnegie Mellon University in 1977 where he was the U.A. and Helen Whitaker University Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and served as Head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering from 1982 to 1991 and then Dean of the College of Engineering until June of 1996. In 1982, he founded the SRC-CMU Research Center for Computer-Aided Design and served as its Director from 1982 to 1989.

Dr. Director is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). He has served as President of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society, as Chairman of the CASS Technical Committee on Computer-Aided Network Design (CANDE) and as associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems.

He has served as Chair of the National Academy of Engineering Committee on Engineering Education and also serves on numerous other boards and committees and as a consultant to industry, government and academia. He served as Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Society for Engineering Education Engineering Deans Council from June 1999 through June 2001.

Director has published over 150 papers and authored or co-authored six texts. He has received numerous awards for his research and educational contributions including the 1970 and 1985 Best Paper Awards from the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society, the 1976 Frederick Emmons Terman Award from the American Society for Engineering Education, and the 1979 W. R .G. Baker Prize Paper Award from the IEEE. In 1984 he received an IEEE Centennial Medal and was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He received the Society Award (Van Valkenburg Award) from the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society and Best Paper Award from the ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conference in 1992 and the Outstanding Achievement Award from the IEEE Education Society in 1995. In 1996 Dr. Director was selected as the first recipient of the Aristotle Award from the Semiconductor Research Corporation and received the Outstanding Alumnus Award in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He was awarded the 1998 IEEE Education Medal, and in 1999 received the University of California, Berkeley Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award and the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society (CASS) Golden Jubilee Medal. In 2000 he received the IEEE Millennium Medal and in 2002 he was named Honorary Professor of Shanghai Jiao Tong University by the Chinese Ministry of Education.

Research Interests:

Design Process (Work Flow) Management

This work is aimed at developing a comprehensive design environment, called Odyssey, that supports design process management. The need for such an environment results from the rapid increase in the number and diversity of computer-aided design tools used by VLSI circuit designers as well as an increase in complexity of the circuits being designed. Design process management allows designers to shift their attention to higher levels of abstraction in the design process, thereby allowing them to handle these more complex design problems. In addition, design process management facilitates effective participation in distributed concurrent design teams and aids designers during the early conceptual phases of design.

Statistical VLSI Design

The goal of this research is the development of statistical design methods that can be employed to maximize the yield of manufactured integrated circuits. Due to inherent fluctuations in IC manufacturing processes, many circuits fail to meet performance specifications. Parametric yield maximization techniques can be used to maximize the fraction of acceptable circuits by making the circuit immune to fluctuations.