February 1, 2024

Board of Governors approves new online master’s program in College of Engineering

DETROIT – On Wednesday, Jan. 31, the Wayne State University Board of Governors unanimously approved a unique online master’s program in the College of Engineering.

Dean Ali Abolmaali, Ph.D., said he believes the new online master of science in systems engineering program, which will be available for the fall 2024 semester, will be the first of its kind in Michigan.

“There is a growing demand for this program, not only in the state but nationally,” Abolmaali said. “It's the only online program that will be offered in the state of Michigan. We expect a good demand and number of students in this program.”

While the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) has been a part of the College of Engineering for nearly a century, it has not previously offered a dedicated degree program in systems engineering.

The new program will be organized into two concentrations: general commercial systems and defense systems. Its online format will enhance accessibility and allow Wayne State to attract students from outside Southeast Michigan.

“Introduction of this program will make the ISE programs more complete and also allow us to attract students not only within the state but outside of the state,” said Ratna Babu Chinnam, Ph.D., chair of the ISE department.

Abolmaali said today’s current global challenges and the rapid technological advancements that have significantly increased the complexity of engineering product development for companies has increased the need for training programs in the field of systems engineering.

“This by itself has its own clientele. It has a management component, and we are adding the application of artificial intelligence, which is growing,” he said. “That all together will make this a very unique program. In addition, offering it online, we are basically bringing in working professionals from within a 100-mile radius of Michigan. It is very popular.”

Beyond serving the commercial sectors, Michigan also hosts a substantial Department of Defense complex in Macomb County that requires proficient systems engineers.

Asked if systems engineering is the study of processes by which artificial intelligence is applied, Chinnam said, “The program is all about recognizing the complexities of man, machine and material in trying to pursue the development of complex products, complex supply chains, setting up complex manufacturing facilities and quality management systems.”

The Board of Governors also approved a request to establish an online master of science in construction management in the College of Engineering. The program, which will also be available in fall 2024, is intended to meet a growing demand both domestically and internationally for graduates to manage various project management construction projects.

The program will be housed within the Division of Engineering Technology.

On Wednesday, the Board of Governors unanimously elected Shirley Stancato as its new chair and Bryan Barnhill as vice chair for 2024.

Stancato, who was elected in Nov. 2020 and served as vice chair last year, replaces Mark Gaffney, a two-term Board chair who headed the selection of the university’s 13th president, Dr. Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D.

Stancato is chair of the Board’s academic affairs committee, and Barnhill, who was elected in Nov. 2018, is chair of the Board’s budget and finance committee.

(L-R): Ratna Babu Chinnam, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering; Dean Ali Abolmaali; Ece Yaprak, a professor and chair of the engineering technology division; and Leslie Monplaisir, associate dean for academic and student affairs and professor of industrial and systems engineering.


Tom Gorman
Phone: 313-577-3853
Email: tgorman@wayne.edu
Bill Roose
Phone: 313-577-5699
Email: bill.roose@wayne.edu

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