The event held Saturday, September 17th, brought together alumni, faculty, staff and students of the department in a tailgate themed reception. Many of those attending commented on the changes the department has undergone in the years since its humble beginnings.
The Imhoff Study Center, named for founding department head, John L. Imhoff was fittingly the back drop for the event. Dr. Imhoff is fondly remembered by alumni, faculty and staff alike as a passionate industrial engineer and teacher.
In conjunction with the event, the Arkansas Academy of Industrial Engineering (AAIE) held their annual Mentor Circle Kickoff event. The mentoring circles are sponsored by the Academy’s A4U Committee. A4U is an abbreviated form of AAIE focused on the Recruitment, Retention, and Readiness of industrial engineering students at the University of Arkansas. This committee also coordinates a comprehensive Mock Interview event annually for students.
Dean of Engineering, John English welcomed the attendees and congratulated the Department on its many achievements. Dean English is an alumnus of the Department as well as an AAIE member.
“It was great to see so many alumni at the event,” commented Ed Pohl, head of the department, “I am honored to be a part of the history and success of the department.”
A little history on the department…
In 1949 plans were announced to offer the Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering. At the time, advanced BA students in Industrial Management were given the opportunity to take additional courses to qualify for the new degree. The first students to graduate with the degree graduated in 1950 and 1951.
John Imhoff was hired as the first head of the program in 1951. Coming from the Industrial Engineering option in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, he had coordinated the program and was keen to see the program at the University of Arkansas succeed.
With the strong leadership of Imhoff in the fifties and sixties the student chapters of AIIE and Alpha Pi Mu were initiated. The program played a leadership role on the national level of the professional societies. And in 1966 with Imhoff as president of the Alpha Pi Mu society, the national conference was held at the University of Arkansas. It was attended by the acknowledged “Mother of IE”, Dr. Lillian Gilbreth.
In January of 1987, the students, faculty and staff of the College of Engineering began the spring semester in a brand new building: Bell Engineering Center. Bell provided space for four of the college’s departments, including Industrial Engineering, as well as plenty of room for teaching and labs.
Today the Department has 236 undergraduate students and 52 graduate students (16 MS, 36 PhD). Currently there are 17 tenure/tenure-track faculty members along with 4 non-tenure track faculty members.Through the years, the outstanding leadership of the Industrial Engineering Department has led to the hiring of strong performing award-winning faculty, making the department a rising star among its cohorts in academia.