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Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost

Chris McCordChris McCord, Acting Provost, was previously Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Northern Illinois University, holding the Ray & Pat Smerge Endowed Dean’s Chair. In his ten years as dean, McCord has led  the creation of the university’s first interdisciplinary degree programs, integrated student engagement and community engagement into the college’s mission, formed three interdisciplinary centers, and grown international engagement. 

He has also played a leading role in the university’s strategic planning efforts, particularly the recent Program Prioritization effort, where he served on the Administrative Task Force and subsequently guided the implementation of the resulting action plans across the university. Other University-level leadership has included leading the revision of the curricular approval process, creating new mechanisms for joint appointment faculty, collaborating with the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning to create the Student Engagement Fund, serving as a member of the IT Steering Committee, and serving on the board of the university’s Research Foundation. He has led NIU’s ADVANCE IT-Catalyst grant, studying the status of women in science and engineering at NIU. 

Prior to joining NIU, McCord was associate dean for graduate affairs in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Cincinnati. His work there included leading the development of a new program review process, creating a funding model for summer school, and overseeing the college’s involvement in major space projects.

McCord earned Bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and physics from Bowling Green State University and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work as a mathematician explored the interplay between geometry and differential equations, with a particular focus on the impact of geometry on the “N-Body Problem” – the movement of particles under their mutual attraction as described by classical Newtonian mechanics. 

He has also worked in operations research and optimization of manufacturing processes.  His work has been supported by DARPA and the National Science Foundation. He served the mathematical community as a member of the American Mathematical Society’s Committee on the Profession. McCord has been an active member of the Council of Colleges of Arts & Sciences, a national organization for arts & sciences deans and associate deans, since 2003. He has served on the Board of Directors since 2012, and is currently President-Elect of the organization.



Responsibilities

The Executive Vice President and Provost is the second highest university official and responsible for a wide array of responsibilities.  The Provost functions as the Chief Academic Officer and leads the Division of Academic Affairs, which includes all of the academic colleges, the university libraries, the graduate school, academic support services, undergraduate affairs, faculty affairs, resource planning, and academic planning and development.  The Division of International Affairs also reports to the Provost as it is a catalyst in supporting NIU’s international students, as well as our study abroad programs, and international university partnerships.

The Executive Vice President functions as the head of Human Resource Services, Affirmative Action and Equity Compliance, Institutional Research, and works in partnership with the President and Vice President of Administration and Finance on all matters related to university budgets and decision making. In addition to the University Council Committees below, the Executive Vice President and Provost serves as a member of the Executive Budget Committee, the President’s Senior Cabinet, Operations Cabinet and as the facilitator of the Academic Cabinet.


Committee Participation