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The Former Provost

Nariman Farvardin
Nariman Farvardin served as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of Maryland, College Park in July 2007 until March 2011. He was also Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Prior to his appointment as Provost, Dr. Farvardin was the Dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering (2000-2007) and Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (1994-2000). He served as Acting President of the University of Maryland during September-October, 2010.

As Provost, he has spearheaded the development of the University's ambitious strategic plan, Transforming Maryland: Higher Expectations, and is leading the implementation of the plan within the Division of Academic Affairs. Noteworthy initiatives currently underway are: redesign of the University's General Education program; a significant enhancement and expansion of the living-learning programs, including the development of the Honors College; new initiatives to improve student recruitment, retention, and graduation, including efforts aimed at closing the achievement gap; a multi-dimensional expansion of the pre-college Young Scholars Program; a comprehensive review of the University's doctoral programs aimed at enhancing the quality and stature of these programs; a reorganization of the University's international programs to sharpen their focus and accelerate progress of the University's international agenda; a new university-wide minor and a new living-learning program on Global Studies; and a host of efforts focused on improving the University Libraries.

During his seven-year tenure as Dean, Dr. Farvardin promoted the development of innovative educational programs, especially at the undergraduate level; supported the development of major research programs; developed new initiatives to improve student and faculty diversity; and enhanced the School's partnerships with industry. During this period, externally funded research expenditures increased from $70 million to over $110 million. In addition, the School received two landmark gifts: $31 million to establish the Fischell Department of Bioengineering and $30 million to establish a scholarship endowment -- the largest gifts in the history of the School and University; constructed a state-of-the-art engineering building; built new programs in nanotechnology, placing the University of Maryland as one of the strongest in the nation in nanotechnology education and research; and launched, with the School of Public Policy, an innovative Master of Engineering and Public Policy program to produce engineers skilled in policy issues.

Dr. Farvardin's research interests include information theory and coding; multimedia signal compression and transmission; high-speed communication networks; and wireless networks. He has more than 150 technical papers in archival journals and conference proceedings. Dr. Farvardin was the Associate Editor for Quantization, Speech/Image Coding of the IEEE Transactions on Communications during 1986-90 and the Associate Editor for Source Coding of the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory during 1992-95. He chaired the technical program committee of the IEEE Speech Coding Workshop in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1995.

A Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Dr. Farvardin is a widely respected researcher in communications and information theory. He is also a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Some of the honors he has received are the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, the George Corcoran Award for Outstanding Contributions to Electrical Engineering Education, and the Invention of the Year Award (Information Sciences) from the University of Maryland. In January 2003, he was selected by The Washington Post as one of the "Five to Watch in 2003."

Dr. Farvardin was the co-founder and chairman of the board of Zagros Networks, a venture-funded fabless semiconductor company in Rockville, Maryland, developing technologies focusing on quality of service provisioning in packet switched networks, and co-founder of NovaTherm Technologies, a Maryland company focused on developing technologies to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. He is currently a member of the board of directors and advisory/technical board of several companies, as well as educational and non-profit organizations.

Farvardin received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1979, 1980, and 1983 respectively.