University of Arizona College of Engineering University of Arizona College of Engineering University of Arizona College of Engineering University of Arizona College of Engineering University of Arizona College of Engineering

Welcome to SIE!

The University of Arizona department of systems and industrial engineering was established in 1961 as the nation's first academic department of systems engineering. In the more than 50 years since, we have achieved international prestige for contributions to the interdisciplinary design of large-scale complex systems involving people, technology and information.

We offer three undergraduate degrees, two graduate certificates, four master's degrees and a doctoral degree, and our alumni find work in leading corporations, research institutes and universities.

SIE Professor, Other Researchers Seek to Clean up Space with DARPA, Lockheed Martin Funding

A satellite floats in orbit above the earth as the sun peeks over the curve of the planet. Roberto Furfaro, director of Space Situational Awareness-Arizona -- or SSA-Arizona -- and systems and industrial engineering associate professor, wants to make space a safer place for our nation's satellites. With a total of $6.65 million in new funding and the help of other researchers in the field, he's ready to make that happen.

The new awards -- a $3.3 million cooperative agreement with the Air Force Research Laboratory, a $350,000 award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, and a $3 million sub-award from Lockheed Martin -- collectively represent the first major return on the UA's investment in SSA.

Since the Soviet Union flung Sputnik I into low-Earth orbit in 1957, dozens of other countries have sent Earth-orbiting satellites into space with no way to retrieve them when they eventually, inevitably break down.

The project is aimed at creating ways to detect a satellite on its way out before it has actually died, so those who own the satellite have time to direct it to a graveyard orbit -- one that is away from common operational orbits such as geosynchronous earth orbit, or GEO -- before it's too late.

SIE Students Host Regional Conference

SIE Group Photo

The UA student chapter of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers/International Council on Systems Engineering, or IISE/INCOSE, is hosting the 2018 IISE Western Regional Conference on Feb. 15-18, with most sessions being held in the Environment and Natural Resources 2 Building on the UA campus.

Speakers include:

  • Larry Head, professor of systems and industrial engineering, director of the UA Transportation Research Institute, and interim dean of the College of Engineering.
  • Mike O’Brien, senior VP of operations at XPO Logistics in Phoenix.
  • Young-Jun Son, professor and head of the UA Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering.
  • Ari Supomo, process automation manager at Freeport-McMoRan in Phoenix.

SIE Seeking Nominations for 2018 Alumni of the Year Award

Herb Burton, left, and Sylvia Burton flank scholarship recipient Kyel Powell at the 2016 College of Engineering annual scholarship reception.

Starting with alumnus Herb Burton in 2016, SIE presents its annual SIE Alumni of the Year Award every May during the department's precommencement ceremony.

Burton, who graduated with his bachelor's degree in 1960 and went on to become an executive at AT&T Bell Laboratories, received the award from department head Young-Jun Son in recognition of his strong support of the SIE department. Son also presented alumna Cindy Klingberg with the award in 2017 for numerous contributions to the UA, where she has served on the UA President’s Diversity Advisory Council, the UA Alumni Association Wildcat for Life Leadership Council, the UA Foundation National Leadership Council, and the UA Asian American Faculty, Staff and Alumni Association.

Now, SIE is looking for another name to add to the list of accomplished alumni who have received this honor and is taking nominations now. If you know someone who deserves to be a nominee, download the award criteria and nomination form (PDF) and fill it out by Feb. 15. If you have questions, contact Mia Schnaible at

SIE Assistant Professor Vignesh Subbian Awarded CUES Distinguished Fellowship

Assistant professor of both systems and industrial engineering and biomedical engineering Vignesh Subbian has been selected as one of the UA’s first cohort of the Center for University Education Scholarship Distinguished Fellows.

“Award of this distinctive fellowship acknowledges your commitment to innovation and scholarship on teaching and learning,” said CUES director Debra Tomanek in the award letter.

CUES’ mission is to help further advancements of teaching and learning at the UA, and as part of the award, $20,000 will be allocated to 2018 research funding for Subbian’s work at the university.

UA President Appoints Engineer as Faculty Athletics Representative to PAC-12 and NCAA

Ricardo Valerdi, right, stands beside former UA linebacker Jason Sweet, left.UA President Dr. Robert C. Robbins announced that Ricardo Valerdi, associate professor of systems and industrial engineering, is the new faculty athletics representative to the PAC-12 Conference and the NCAA.

Robbins announced in late October 2017 that Valerdi would succeed School of Dance professor and former dean Jory Hancock.

All PAC-12 and NCAA member institutions are required to appoint faculty athletics representatives. Their major responsibilities are ensuring academic integrity in intercollegiate athletics; compliance with PAC-12, NCAA and university rules; and student-athlete well-being.

Coordinating complex systems is Ricardo Valerdi’s stock in trade. He founded Arizona Science of Baseball, a curriculum that uses baseball statistics to excite middle-school students about science, technology, engineering and math, as well as Science of Sport, Valerdi’s expanded version of the curriculum for other sports. These programs have been used by more than 60,000 students, particularly from low-income communities, across the country.

Students Learn Important SIE Skills in Gore Lean Crash Course

Team 16006 stands with its check for $750, awarded by Gore and Associates for "Most Creative Solution"In November, nine employees of W.L. Gore & Associates Inc. gave up their Saturday to teach SIE students about lean manufacturing, which focuses on minimizing waste without sacrificing productivity.

More than 70 students participated in the “Lean Crash Course,” learning skills that are important in systems and industrial engineering careers and could be put to use right away in the field.

This course is another example of how Gore has been an active part of SIE’s year, in addition to sponsoring the Award for Most Creative Solution, which was won by engineering management major Andrew Whiteside and his partners in Team 16006.

University of Arizona College of Engineering