Dr. Ali A. Houshmand became Rowan University’s seventh president in June 2012, after approximately six years as provost/senior vice president of Academic Affairs, CEO and interim president of Rowan University.
He joined Rowan University as provost/senior vice president for Academic Affairs in September 2006. In that position, he was responsible for more than 900 faculty members and the programs they taught. During his tenure as provost/senior vice president, he established the College of Professional and Continuing Education (now the College of Graduate and Continuing Education) and hired its first dean; oversaw the restructuring of the summer school and graduate school as revenue-generating programs and created a University-wide revenue-sharing model; and established the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning. As leader of the Academic Affairs Division, he focused his efforts on increasing the allocation of economic resources to the Division, reorganizing academic programs to optimize efficiency and effectiveness and fostering innovative and entrepreneurial initiatives to enhance revenue and better serve students.
The Rowan University Board of Trustees named him CEO in January 2011 and interim president in July 2011. As CEO, he managed the day-to-day operations of the University. During his interim presidency and the early part of his presidency, Rowan University continued to partner on some of the most important projects in its history, including cofounding Cooper Medical School of Rowan University with The Cooper Health System and constructing Rowan Boulevard with SORA Holdings, Kinsley Properties and the Borough of Glassboro.
Dr. Houshmand succeeded Dr. Donald J. Farish, who went on to become president of Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.
Rowan’s president was educated in three countries and served in academia in the Midwest and on the East Coast.
Born in Iran, where he attended primary and high school as an academic and athletic standout, Dr. Houshmand earned his bachelor’s (with honors) and master’s degrees in mathematics and mathematical statistics from the University of Essex, United Kingdom. He earned a second master’s degree and a doctoral degree in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
After earning his doctorate, Dr. Houshmand worked as a staff analyst for United Airlines, developing large-scale optimization and forecasting models.
From there, he began his career in academia, joining the faculty of the University of Cincinnati, where he went on to serve as director of graduate studies and acting director of the Industrial Engineering program. During that time, he tripled the number of graduate students in Industrial Engineering, established a comprehensive freshman retention program for the College of Engineering and developed a college-wide teaching effectiveness course, proven to significantly improve instructional quality. For three years, he was the director of student assessment for the College of Engineering.
He joined the Drexel University administration, where he served as associate provost for Academic Affairs, dean of the Goodwin College of Professional Studies and interim provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs. During his 18 months as provost, Dr. Houshmand oversaw 11 colleges and associated support services. He supervised the implementation of Drexel’s five-year strategic plan, achieving all specific first-year goals in the areas of research, budgeting, cooperative education, faculty development, undergraduate programs and student retention.
The president is widely published in technical, business and academic fields, and he has received numerous competitive research grants and contracts throughout his career.
Dr. Houshmand lives in Glassboro with his wife, Farah. They are the parents of two grown children.