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Closing of the Florida International University Industrial and Systems Engineering Department

Florida International University is planning to shut down 17 degree programs, including industrial and systems engineering. I have good feelings for FIU, since my first doctoral graduate took a position there (in the business school; he has long since moved on), but it is shocking that a popular and important degree such as IE would not be offered. Here is the situation according the Miami Herald:

Florida International University has proposed eliminating 17 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including some related to teaching, nursing and engineering, and laying off scores of employees in an effort to cope with deep budget cutbacks from the state Legislature.

Staff and faculty in the industrial engineering department say the decision to cut their program came as a shock, and was made without consulting them. Industrial engineering is a popular area of study, with 300 students currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate level programs. Currently enrolled students would be able to finish their degrees over the next three years, after which the faculty and staff would be laid off, said Martha Centeno, associate professor in industrial engineering.

The INFORMS student chapter of FIU has been very active and has sent a plea for help and support:

We are currently pursuing a degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISE) at FIU. FIU with no reasonable justification has proposed to permanently close our department. This decision will impact the current students, alumni, South Florida community and industry.

As students, we will be working on a degree which will not have the same value as it has today, having a degree from a department which does not exist is not the same as having a degree from a department which is stable and strong as it currently is.

This is the situation of over 300 students. We would like to encourage you to sign the petition that we, as students, are preparing for the Governor. The petition can be signed at the following link
http://www.petitiononline.com/ISE52108/

We need your help more than ever to reach our goal to stop the closure of our department. It would be highly appreciated if you could send letter to the FIU’s president stating how important and valuable Industrial Engineering is, and foward this email to all Informs members. We are counting with your support to keep open a department that is strong, healthy and needed for the community. More information can be found at the following web site
http://web.mac.com/save_ise/ISE_PLAN_X/Welcome.html
Thank you so much for your valuable time, understanding and support.
Sincerely yours,
Industrial and Systems Engineering Student Body

INFORMS FIU Chapter

{ 3 } Comments

  1. Greg Glockner | June 9, 2008 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Mike:

    I’m glad to see the OR community getting behind FIU. We’ll see whether it will make a difference. However, I’m personally bothered because I didn’t feel like we got support from the OR community when Yale did the same thing to OR and other applied engineering programs in the early 90s. A few pesky undergrads made little impression on the Yale administration. Perhaps some support from the ORSA/TIMS community could have helped keep the great faculty from leaving for greener pastures. Maybe it will help today at FIU.

  2. Matthew Saltzman | June 9, 2008 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    I remember the Yale incident, but not in detail. I do remember that it was widely deplored in the community.

    One difference is, Yale took place before the large-scale deployment of the World Wide Web, so grass-roots campaigns were harder to organize and publicize than they are now.

    INFORMS Online had a FIU story and a button on the home page last week, but it’s gone now.

  3. Matthew Saltzman | June 9, 2008 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    The INFORMS Online article is back up but not on the front page. It’s linked from the News Room page, which is linked from the front page.