The CSSH Dean’s Strategy Council (DSC) was formed in 2015 to provide advice and guidance to our college’s dean. Composed primarily of college alumni, the DSC meets several times per year to offer their time and support in advancing the goals of CSSH. For this Spotlight, we talk with the Chair of the DSC, Edward Meehan, Esq.
Edward Meehan, Esq. (MA, Economics ’79) serves as the CSSH Dean’s Strategy Council Chair. He practices law in Washington, DC for a broad spectrum of U.S. and international clients. He earned his undergraduate degree from Boston College, a master’s degree in economics from Northeastern University, and a law degree from George Washington University. Ed helped create and fund initiatives at several universities and at public elementary and middle schools, all aimed at providing experience-based learning opportunities reflecting principles similar to those of Northeastern’s co-op program.
How did you get involved with the Dean’s Strategy Council?
I had recently decided to become involved at Northeastern, and I met Dean Poiger at one of the first alumni events I attended. She was in the early months of her tenure as dean and had begun to develop the college’s mission and vision. She asked me for my opinion on how she might best continue to engage alumni and I suggested that she should create a ‘kitchen cabinet’ of alumni leaders who can provide guidance, feedback, and institutional memory as she moved the college forward. She apparently liked the idea, and then she asked me to lead it. It has been my pleasure to be involved ever since. The moral of the story is that it is never too late to get involved with your alma mater.
The council recently convened for its fall meeting. What’s the most exciting thing coming out of that for the college right now?
There were so many interesting elements from our fall meeting to consider, it’s difficult to identify just one. The focus of the fall meeting was a discussion about Northeastern’s Ethics Institute, composed primarily of faculty from the college’s Philosophy and Religion department. The faculty and students in the Ethics Institute are working on cutting-edge research and programming. We learned that the leaders in data and information ethics education and research are at Northeastern. They are asking pressing questions and creating frameworks for solutions. They have a presence not only in the academic community, but also in the corporate space where they are providing guidance on how companies can ethically address issues which surround the big data sets currently at their fingertips. Our students are integrating liberal arts capacities. like ethical reasoning and critical thought, with the knowledge and skills of how to handle technology and big data in their classes, co-ops, and research groups, and this distinguishes them in the workforce. That’s a pretty exciting educational model. As a lawyer, I know there are laws which try to dictate ethics by prohibiting certain conduct, but what we really need as a society is a sense of how to relate more positively to each other. What is special about this program is that it brings about this change to more proactive thinking. I believe this really sets Northeastern and CSSH apart from other institutions.
As Chair of the DSC, what do you hope to accomplish, short and long term?
Well, in the short term, we want to expand the composition of the group, and then in the longer term, identify a future chair as we make this Council an indefinite part of the college’s framework. Ultimately, I hope that the discussions of the Council will continue to effectively assist Dean Poiger as she works to accomplish her priorities for the college. As alumni and parents, we have a unique view of where the college has been, and where it can go. It is my hope that we can infuse awareness of the college’s mission of the Experiential Liberal Arts throughout the alumni and parent community. Part of the council’s responsibilities is also philanthropic. Building awareness will hopefully drive funding for important college programs and initiatives. Support for the college from alumni, parents, and friends allows Dean Poiger to be innovative. She needs our support as she builds new pathways for students to learn how to shape public spheres, how to build resilient and sustainable communities, and how to engage with cultures past and present.
It’s a rewarding experience to be a part of this Council, and I encourage others to consider joining us as we help CSSH meet and expand its mission.