Dr. Eileen Van Aken

Dr. Eileen Van Aken
Dr. Eileen Van Aken

I hope that you have been enjoying the start of summer weather!  Here in the ISE Department, we’ve been enjoying a little bit of a slower pace since the academic year ended, but there are still many things going on!  I’d like to tell you a bit about what’s new in ISE, and I hope that you’ll enjoy reading about even more in the rest of this issue of the ISE Connection.

On behalf of the ISE Department, I’d first like to offer congratulations to all of our May 2017 graduates!  To let you know, we had 143 students graduate with the BS in ISE, 40 graduate with Master’s degrees, and 5 with the PhD.  We look forward to hearing the many great things our newest alumni achieve.

Next, I’d like to let you know of some recent leadership changes.  As many of you may know, Dr. Don Taylor, who is completing his year as Interim Dean of the College of Engineering, will begin serving August 1 as Virginia Tech’s first Vice Provost of Learning Systems Innovation and Effectiveness.  Although the plan was for Don to return to ISE as Head, the opportunity emerged in the spring semester for him to continue to play a major leadership role in the university. We will all miss seeing Don around the department as frequently, but we know he won’t be too far away. I’ve agreed to stay on as Interim Department Head for another year, and there will be a search for a permanent Head in the fall.  Fortunately, we will have continuity in the Associate Head role, given that Dr. John Shewchuk has agreed to stay in that role going forward.

I’m very pleased to share with you the addition of several new faculty to ISE.  Dr. Weijun Xie and Dr. Robert Hildebrand will join us in August and January, respectively, as Assistant Professors in our Operations Research group, specifically in optimization.  Dr. Mike Madigan will join us in August as a Professor in our Human Factors Engineering and Ergonomics group, working in the area of biomechanics.   Sadly, we also say goodbye to several faculty – Dr. Bob Sturges is retiring after many years working in robotics and automation, Dr. Chris Wernz is taking a position at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Dr. Barb Fraticelli will join the BIT Department at Virginia Tech as an Assistant Professor of Practice.

Our faculty, staff, and students have been receiving significant recognition and attention for the excellence of their work.  We’ve selected some items to share with you in this newsletter, but you can always stay up to date via our website, at ise.vt.edu.  Due to the efforts of the ISE community, we continue to have a strong reputation externally – our undergraduate program remains ranked at #5 according to U.S. News and World Report, with our graduate program tied at #6.  Thus, we are doing very well – but as industrial and systems engineers, we are of course always seeking ways to get better!

On behalf of the students, staff, and faculty of the ISE Department, we hope you have a great summer and hope to see you here on campus or at an alumni event soon!

With warm Hokie regards,
Eileen Van Aken
Interim Department Head