Message from the chair

May 10, 2020

Dear ISE students, faculty, alumni and friends,

Thank you for visiting the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering website.

As you probably heard by now, after completing two full terms as the Chair of the department, Dr. Leslie Monplaisir has decided to accept a position in the College of Engineering as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in May 2020. We congratulate him and thank him for his tremendous leadership over the past decade and taking the department and its programs to new heights.

We are happy to report that the IE undergraduate program has been re-accredited by ABET and our graduate programs have successfully undergone their seven-year review in March 2020 by external reviewers. Overall, the department is recognized to be doing very well in carrying out its mission of teaching, research, and service.

In spite of being a relatively small department, we are offering a range of core IE programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. In addition, we have been creative and efficient in offering a number of unique graduate programs, including the Professional Engineering Management Master's Program (EMMP) for Ford Motor Company as well as a novel Data Science & Business Analytics MS Program in collaboration with the Department of Computer Science, Management Information Systems Department of the Ilitch School of Business, as well as the Mathematics Department of the College of Liberal Arts and Science. The Global Executive Track PhD program, introduced in 2008, aims training experienced industry professionals with decades of experience and leadership and remains as the only program of its kind in the U.S.

The ISE Department provides its students with many academic opportunities and assists our students with finding the careers that make a difference in our surrounding world. With an outstanding faculty dedicated to research and lifelong learning, the department enjoys solid relationships across many industries including healthcare, automotive, manufacturing, military and more. ISE undergraduate students have the potential to find interesting projects and internships through our Operations Management Leadership Program (OMLP), as well as our real-world applicable capstone courses. Graduate students in our data science and business analytics MS program participate in challenging real-world data science and analytics projects sponsored by industry through the end of program Practicum projects. You can learn more about this and sponsorship opportunities here.

The faculty in the ISE Department have established research strengths in areas such as supply chain management, product development, intelligent manufacturing, operations management, end-of-life product value recovery, quality management, sustainability, business analytics and big data, healthcare systems engineering, and smart engineering systems. Our new faculty have allowed us to broaden our expertise into the domains of autonomous and unmanned vehicle systems, cyber physical systems and augmented and mixed-reality. The department is home to the National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for e-Design conducting research in fundamental science, mathematics and engineering principles in the development of new products and systems. Our faculty are also affiliated with the NSF's Midwest Big Data Hub. Overall, ISE provides many research opportunities for our students across all degree programs.

Despite the current COVID-19 situation, we have several new initiatives planned for the coming years. The department recently developed a new strategic plan to further enhance its programs, research impact, and reputation. In addition, we have four major initiatives for the coming years:

  • Double the enrollment of our undergraduate program by 2026. While the department has very healthy student enrollment, we are predominantly a graduate program. We would like to change that by also increasing the size of the undergraduate program to better serve the needs of our community.
  • Increase research funding and impact. While the department has a long history of conducting world-class research in many domains, we need to further increase our research funding and the enrollment of the traditional doctoral program.
  • Develop a Center of Excellence in the realm of "Factory of Future". The industry is facing unprecedented challenges currently in coping with local and global trends and disruptions. The department in collaboration with faculty from the College of Engineering as well as industry and other stake holders is currently working to establish a comprehensive Center of Excellence to help industry make an effective transition to Industry 4.0 and beyond and realize smart factories to enhance productivity and competitiveness.
  • Develop and offer a comprehensive set of industry facing short training programs. The target areas include Lean Manufacturing/Services, Six-Sigma, Value Engineering, Project Management, and Data Science, Big Data, AI & Analytics. The ISE Department has built strengths in these areas through teaching and research and will now offer these short programs to boost Michigan industry needs in transforming its workforce for the new digital economy.  

If you have an interest in helping us or collaborating with us in any of our initiatives, please contact me.

Please take the time to review our programs, and always feel free to reach out to me or one of our friendly faculty or staff members. We look forward to exceeding your expectations and assisting you in your future success. You can also stop by at my office or email me should you need any additional information about our programs.


Ratna Babu Chinnam, Interim Chair
Industrial & Systems Engineering
Wayne State University
Tel: 313-577-4846