Dr. Nariman Farvardin is the seventh president of Stevens Institute of Technology, having joined Stevens in July 2011 after a 27-year career as a faculty member and academic administrator culminating as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of Maryland. Since joining Stevens, President Farvardin has led a remarkable university-wide transformation that has resulted in a dramatic ascent in rankings and stature, enrollment growth, improved student success, alumni engagement, philanthropic support, modernized and expanded IT and campus infrastructure, and strengthened financial profile.
Under his leadership and with broad participation by all university stakeholders, Stevens undertook the development of a 10-year strategic plan entitled, The Future. Ours to Create., launched in 2012, which set a goal for Stevens to become “a premier, student-centric, technological research university.” Now in its sixth year of implementation, Stevens has met or exceeded nearly all of its midpoint goals. Since 2011, undergraduate applications have increased 132% while undergraduate enrollment has increased 29% coincident with a 130-80 point increase in SAT scores (25th and 75th percentile) of enrolled freshmen. The retention and graduation rates have increased three and four points, respectively (to 95% and 83%), and the percentage of graduates who secure employment or enter graduate school within six months of graduation increased by four percentage points to 96%. Graduate applications have also increased 128% while graduate enrollment has grown 24%, including a transition from a majority of part-time graduate students to a majority of full-time students. The full-time faculty complement has also grown by 22%.
Financial metrics have also improved significantly, including a 42% increase in operating revenue; an upgraded S&P credit rating; a 41% increase in alumni donor participation and a nearly 400% increase in annual philanthropic support, along with a 38% increase in the size of the endowment.
Since 2011, significant capital investments have resulted in the transformation of the campus IT enterprise from archaic to state-of-the-art, and the renovation, modernization, and expansion of a large percentage of Stevens’ academic and student spaces. Ninety-five percent of classrooms have been renovated including state-of-the-art technology upgrades; new academic spaces and learning laboratories such as the North Building, the ABS Engineering Center, the Hanlon Financial Systems Lab and the Hanlon Lab for Financial Analytics and Data Visualization have opened; the Babbio Garage Expansion will be completed in late 2017; the Schaefer Athletic Center lobby has been renovated; the Ruesterholz Admissions Center was completely remodeled; and the Gianforte Family Academic Center, a 90,000 s.f. state-of-the-art academic building, is scheduled to open in fall 2019. Planning is also underway for a new University Center and Student Residence Hall.
These achievements have earned recognition from external agencies and organizations. In September 2017, President Farvardin was awarded the prestigious Carnegie Academic Leadership Award, and Stevens was highlighted in Forbes as “The Turnaround University” and “one of the most desirable STEM colleges in the nation.” U.S. News & World Report’s fall 2017 “Best Colleges” edition placed Stevens at #69 among national universities, an ascent of 19 places since 2011, making Stevens the second-fastest rising university among the top 100 in the nation. Also, Stevens’ ranking in the Payscale College ROI Report increased from #31 to #10 from 2011 to 2017. In November 2016, President Farvardin was named “Educator of the Year” by the Research & Development Council of New Jersey, and in October 2013, he was named “CEO of the Year” for non-profit organizations by the New Jersey Technology Council (NJTC), the state’s premier trade association for technology companies. In 2015, the NJTC also honored Stevens with its “Knowledge is Power” award.
President Farvardin has launched a number of signature programs during his tenure at Stevens. He was the driving force and inspiration behind Stevens’ participation in the highly competitive U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition, in which Stevens won first place in 2015 for its SU+RE (Sustainable+Resilient) House, a net-zero energy house inspired by New Jersey’s challenges during Hurricane Sandy. The House is now on permanent exhibit at the Liberty Science Center. Other initiatives he has launched include: the President’s Distinguished Lecture Series, which brings to campus the world’s most distinguished thought leaders in science and technology to create debate and spur discussion on the role of technology and its implications in 21st century society; OnStage at Stevens, a performing arts series featuring the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra which welcomes members of the Stevens community and friends from Hoboken and the New York metropolitan region; the Stevens Venture Center, an environment to launch and support students’ and faculty’s new technology-based businesses; Stevens Connects, a multi-faceted partnership to bring Stevens’ intellectual, cultural, and volunteer resources to bear on the Hoboken community; and several programs to increase and support talented, underserved and underrepresented minority students at Stevens. These programs include the Clark Scholars Program and Stevens ACES (Accessing Careers in Engineering and Science), among others. Under his leadership, the School of Technology Management has been transformed into a comprehensive and AACSB-accredited School of Business, and the School of Systems and Enterprises has undergone a thorough review and reorganization. Also, in 2015, Stevens announced its most ambitious fundraising campaign in history, The Power of Stevens, which has raised more than $135 million toward a December 2018 goal of $150 million.
Regular engagement with students is an integral and rewarding element of President Farvardin’s tenure. He teaches a freshman seminar course on Technology and Leadership; hosts monthly “Pancakes with the President” breakfasts with groups of students; and meets periodically with members of student organizations.
President Farvardin serves in leadership positions on a number of technology, higher education, and business-oriented organizations. He served as Chairman of the New Jersey President’s Council Task Force on Alignment of Higher Education Programs and New Jersey Workforce Needs. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Technology Council and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU); serves as an Education Advocate of Choose NJ; and is a member and serves on the Board of Directors of the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF).
Dr. Farvardin is an accomplished researcher in the areas of information theory and coding, multimedia signal compression and transmission, high-speed networks, and wireless networks. He has made significant contributions to a number of communications standards and practical systems in data communication, image and video compression, and voice coding in wireless applications. He holds seven U.S. patents in data communication, image coding, and wireless communication. He also co-founded two companies: Zagros Networks, a venture-funded fabless semiconductor company; and NovaTherm Technologies, a high-tech start-up company that develops technologies to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. Recognized for his research in communications and information theory, Dr. Farvardin is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, which honors academic innovators who are named on a patent issued by the USPTO and who have contributed to the invention of products, goods and services which have positively impacted quality of life, economic development and welfare of society. A Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Dr. Farvardin served as associate editor for two IEEE publications: Transactions on Communications, from 1986 to 1990, and Transactions on Information Theory, from 1992 to 1995. He has co-authored more than 150 technical papers in journals and conference proceedings. He is also a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).
Dr. Farvardin joined Stevens from the University of Maryland, where he was a member of the faculty for 27 years. He served as the University of Maryland’s Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost from 2007 to 2011, having previously served as Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering. Among Dr. Farvardin’s accomplishments at the University of Maryland was spearheading the development and implementation of the University of Maryland’s ambitious strategic plan, Transforming Maryland: Higher Expectations.
He was selected by the Governor of Maryland to serve on the state’s task forces for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Nano-biotechnology, and he chaired the University System of Maryland’s Task Force on Cybersecurity. He has also served on a number of special panels organized by the National Science Foundation, National Research Council, U.S. Department of Commerce, and National Council of Entrepreneurial Technology Transfer.
In recognition of his contributions to technology education and his support of innovation and entrepreneurship, Dr. Farvardin was featured in The Washington Post as one of the “Five to Watch” in 2003. Among his honors are the National Science Foundation's Presidential Young Investigator Award, the George Corcoran Award for Outstanding Contributions to Electrical Engineering Education, and the University of Maryland’s Invention of the Year Award in Information Sciences.
A native of Tehran, Iran, Dr. Farvardin earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, in 1979, 1980, and 1983, respectively.
Updated November 2017