Campus Leadership

Ahmed Abdelal, Academic Affairs

Provost; Professor, Biological Sciences
Second Floor, Cumnock Hall


As Provost, Ahmed Abdelal serves as the chief academic officer, overseeing long-term planning, curriculum, instruction, research, outreach and assessment, libraries and academic services. In his role, he is also a member of the Chancellor's Executive Cabinet. Prior to joining UMass Lowell, Abdelal served as Provost of Northeastern University ('02-'08), and Dean of Arts and Sciences at Georgia State University ('92 -'02).

Abdelal earned his Ph.D. in Microbiology at the University of California, Davis, and carried out post-doctoral research at the same institution and at the Institute for Microbiology at the University of Gottingen, Germany. He is a member of the American Academy for Microbiology, the American Society for Biological Chemists, and the American Society for Industrial Microbiology. His research was supported by grants from NSF, NIH, DOE, and the Georgia Research Alliance. He has made numerous presentations at national meetings on topics in higher education.

At Northeastern, Abdelal provided leadership for developing and implementing a five-year strategic plan that strengthened academic programs across colleges, bolstered experiential learning, and increased retention and graduation rates. This effort similarly strengthened interdisciplinary research and graduate education in the sciences and engineering with emphasis on emerging fields such as nanotechnology, and in the social sciences with emphasis on policy and urban affairs. The revitalized research centers provided the framework for strong interdisciplinary and translational research and attracted significant funding and national recognition. Importantly, Abdelal worked successfully with the senior leadership team on advancing ranking by U.S. News & World Report from 150 in 2001 to 96 in 2007.

At Georgia State University, Abdelal led the College of Arts and Sciences in enhancing selectivity and retention in undergraduate and graduate programs, in developing vibrant interdisciplinary research and service centers spanning the diverse disciplines of Arts and Sciences, and in establishing an Institute for Women's Studies and a department of African-American Studies. Under his leadership, the College increased research funding several fold, and considerably upgraded teaching and research facilities. The college also secured major funding from the Georgia Research Alliance in support of interdisciplinary research and emerging technologies, thus enhancing the role of the University as a key engine for economic development. Abdelal provided leadership for developing  strong K-12 and community service efforts that helped establish Georgia State as the premiere urban-oriented research institution in the state.

Abdelal led both Northeastern and Georgia State in establishing partnerships for collaboration across disciplines with international institutions in world regions that are of specific interest to the faculty, the students, and the community. While at Georgia State, Abdelal served as the Founding Director for the Middle East Center for Peace, Culture, and Development. At Northeastern, he established six international centers that focus on different world regions. For a complete C.V., please see Ahmed T. Abdelal, C.V. 2013 and abbreviated C.V. 2013.

Abdelal is strongly committed to a collaborative leadership approach. The success of this approach in tackling challenging issues in higher education was the subject of a case study, developed and published in 2002,  by faculty from the Harvard Institutes of Higher Education.