New Systems and Information Engineering Endowed Professorships Will Push Boundaries for Benefit of Societysbs5g@virginia.edu
The Jefferson Scholars Foundation and the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science today announced the creation of two new professorships at the School of Engineering, the first ever for the School. This new partnership will enhance scholarship and research in Systems and Information Engineering and create new pathways for students and faculty at the University to benefit society.
Through generous philanthropic contributions from longtime benefactors, Michael Pausic and Kelley MacDougall and John and Anne Koch, plus matching funds from the University’s Bicentennial Professorship Fund, for a total investment of $10 million, the Jefferson Scholars Foundation will establish two new distinguished professorships in Systems and Information Engineering (SIE) at the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Systems and Information Engineering pushes the boundaries of knowledge in the three core areas of human interaction, optimization and secure control and information modeling to improve performance across the range of human activity. Newly developed approaches have produced advances in domains as varied as aviation safety, juvenile diabetes, manufacturing, precision medicine and surgery.
“The ability to attract world-class scholars in these disciplines will be truly transformational and these investments signal a strong future for systems and information engineering,” Systems and Information Engineering department chair Bill Scherer said. “Our vision seeks to maximize the value of data to produce more efficient, sustainable and powerful systems and decisions. I am beyond grateful and proud.”
The Pausic Family Jefferson Scholars Foundation Distinguished Professorship in Operations Research and Financial Engineering and the John B. and Anne M. Koch Jefferson Scholars Foundation Distinguished Professorship in Systems and Information Engineering will become the first Jefferson Scholars Foundation Distinguished Professorships in Engineering.
“Distinguished professorships such as these help the University meet a pressing need and further the Foundation’s mission of attracting exceptionally talented people to Grounds,” Jefferson Scholars Foundation President Jimmy Wright said. “We could not be more excited by this new partnership with the School of Engineering and grateful to the Koch and Pausic families for their vision and investment.”
The Pausic Family Jefferson Scholars Foundation Distinguished Professorship in Operations Research and Financial Engineering will be an eminent scholar who pursues innovative research and teaching of intelligent financial systems (IFS), which lies at the intersection of operations research and analytics (ORA), human technology integration (HTI) and information and intelligent automation (IIA). Intelligent financial systems leverage artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics to automate financial processes, optimize decision-making, manage risks, and provide personalized financial services while ensuring compliance with regulations. They enhance operational efficiency, improve financial outcomes, and enable organizations to make more informed and strategic financial decisions. The Pausic Family Professor will be the driving force to grow UVA Engineering’s IFS program.
The John B. and Anne M. Koch Jefferson Scholars Foundation Distinguished Professorship in Systems and Information Engineering will be an international leader in the profession of systems engineering, oriented with a systems engineering foundation while specializing in the foremost research areas of modern systems engineering that include AI-driven Systems and Systems-of-Systems Methodologies, Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Systems Engineering, Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) and Digital Twin Technology, Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), and Decision-Making, among other potential disciplines. Areas of application would include healthcare, defense, finance, logistics, cybersecurity, education, manufacturing, aviation, infrastructure, environment, transportation, sports analytics, and government policy. The Professorship will be dedicated to fostering a strong educational environment in SIE, advancing the field through research, and preparing the next generation of Systems Engineers for successful careers.
“On behalf of our entire UVA Engineering community, I extend my deep gratitude for these incredibly generous contributions,” Dean Jennifer L. West said. “This new partnership and these endowed professorships will have a profound and positive impact in advancing our School’s education and research priorities and our mission to make the world a better place by preparing engineering leaders to solve global challenges.”