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Kobza to Step Down as ISE Department Head at End of June, Remain on Faculty

Industrial and Systems Engineering Department Head John Kobza has decided to return to the faculty, effective July 31.

Kobza has been in the position since coming to UT in August of 2013, and will have served two full terms.

“Since coming to UT to be department head a decade ago, Dr. Kobza has helped guide it through a sustained period of growth and success,” said Dean Matthew Mench, the Wayne T. Davis Dean’s Chair of the college. “I am grateful for his tremendous decade of service to the TCE and wish him well.”

Kobza had various faculty and leadership roles prior to coming to UT, including stints at Virginia Tech from 1993-99 and later at Texas Tech University from 1999-2013, where his duties included time as senior associate dean and interim department head.

“Being a department head has been one of the greatest experiences of my academic career,” Kobza said. “It has been exciting to work with faculty, staff, students, and alumni over the last decade to develop new capabilities and take advantage of opportunities. We have a very connected ISE community at UT, and I am very proud of what they have achieved. The next ten years will be even more dynamic than the last. We are in a great position, so it is a good time to change leadership and begin the next chapter.”

Kobza’s tenure has coincided with a period of great growth and change for the college. Several of the new buildings and programs were made possible in part through the support of graduates of the department. The Tickle College of Engineering, the John D. Tickle Engineering Building, the Zeanah Engineering Complex, and the Cook Grand Challenge Honors Program are all signs of the impact that ISE alumni have had on UT.

“During my time at UT I’ve seen ISE alumni, such as John Tickle, Eric Zeanah and Joe Cook, have a tremendous impact, which has been recognized in the naming of programs, buildings, even the college itself,” Kobza said. “While I had little to do with those events, I felt the pressure to ensure today’s ISE graduates are prepared to be as successful in their careers and as inspirational in their giving in thirty years.”

Other areas where ISE has had an important role or seen growth in while Kobza has served as department head include the creation of the Heath Integrated Business and Engineering Program in conjunction with the Haslam College of Business—which has seen a large number of ISE students actively participate—as well as the success of the engineering entrepreneurship minor and the department’s key part in research areas related to data analytics and quantum computing, which are rapidly becoming focuses of the university as a whole.

An internal search for his replacement as ISE leader will soon begin.