ISE Insider Fall 2020: Message From the Chair

David Kaber, Ph.D.

Dear Friends,

We hope that you and your families are all safe and healthy at this time with the persistence of COVID-19. Here at UF, we remain committed to keeping our faculty, staff and students as safe as possible.

Despite the pandemic, this year has shaped-up to be fairly strong for our department. We recently reported accomplishments to the Advisory Board, including our #12 top-public program ranking on both the undergraduate and graduate level. During this time, the department has also continued to grow in faculty and staff. The UF ISE Department is now among the 15 largest departments in the country with faculty in the areas of supply chain and logistics, operations research, human systems, healthcare systems and data analytics. We are proud to announce that five new faculty joined us this year, including three assistant professors, one assistant research professor, and a new assistant instructional professor. In conjunction with the expansion of our faculty, the department has also made 10 new staff hires in the past 2 years. Our staff team has been critical in faculty recruiting and the stability of the department during the pandemic. The department’s recent rankings are also attributable to our development of new world-class research resources, including the Data Informatics for Systems Improvement and Design (DISIDE) Laboratory led by Drs. Mostafa Reisi, Xu Sun and Xioachen Xian.

As many of you may know, UF has embarked on a new AI University initiative, which will create an AI-centric data center that houses the world’s fastest AI supercomputer in higher education.

Our department has responded to this initiative by creating new courses focused on data analytics, data mining, systems monitoring, high dimensional analysis and statistical machine learning. Several of these courses are to be included in an enhancement of our master’s program with a concentration on data analytics and AI in systems engineering. We are also using several optimization courses for integration of content across the other methodological and applications-oriented classes to help students effectively solve systems engineering problems.

Our students and student organizations continue to go strong in spite of limitations the virus has posed to our normal operations. We have currently enrolled 460 undergraduates with highly active chapters of IISE and the Society for Health Systems among others. Our graduate population is currently 150 students and we are adding a new student chapter of the Human Factors & Ergonomic Society.

On the research front, our graduate students and faculty have made tremendous progress in the current year. Our research awards increased by 74% from the preceding year and currently total $3.74 million. Faculty have realized new and substantial funding from AFRL, AHRQ, the Department of Agriculture, NIH, and the NSF. We are excited about the pending research outcomes that these grants will generate across various areas of our discipline.

Finally, we have revised our undergraduate curriculum. The revision includes a new ISE core focusing on contemporary aspects of our discipline, including the addition of a new in-house statistics course and a human factors and ergonomics class. Beyond this, we have created specialization areas for our students in Production & Logistics, Human Systems, Data Analytics and Operations Research. Our faculty and students are very excited about the implementation of the new curriculum coming in Fall 2021.

In this edition of the newsletter, you will find stories on the amazing activities of our alumni, faculty and students. We also enjoy hearing from you with any accomplishments and accolades that you and your families have achieved during this most challenging time.

Please reach out to the department with your good news. We appreciate your continuing interest and engagement in the department as well as all your support. We look forward to hearing from you!

Best regards and GO GATORS!




Dave Kaber, Ph.D.
Department Chair, ISE