Yemisi Bolumole

Teaching from the Inside

Supply chain management wasn’t Yemisi Bolumole’s original career path. It wasn’t even on her radar when her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry landed her a job with an oil and gas company.

But a new world opened to Bolumole when she was tasked with investigating how third-party logistics service providers might solve distribution issues.

Before long, she decided to pursue a PhD program in logistics and supply chain management. To better understand how supply chains function for her dissertation research, Bolumole got a job managing a distribution warehouse—the 2 a.m. shift. “I thought, ‘What better way to learn about supply chains than from the inside?’” she says. “It might have been the best and most difficult thing I’ve ever done.”

After completing her PhD in 2001, Bolumole was recruited by the University of North Florida. During her decade there, she became director of the transportation and logistics program, helped to acquire funding for a new IT lab for the program, became an SAP software trainer, and fostered connections between the institution and policymakers.

The program grew from her first logistics class of 13 students to several hundred in the graduating class by the time she left. “Many of my early students had never seen a woman of color in the field— especially one who could go from being in a suit in the classroom to steel-toed boots in the warehouse,” she says. “Navigating between those two worlds helped students see the numerous opportunities available with the degree.”

Bolumole wants to see workplaces accommodate these diverse graduates entering the field. “It’s one thing to use policy levers to encourage firms’ diversity goals,” she says. “It’s another thing to understand the modifications that some of our corporations need to make to ensure success in their recruiting goals—simple shifts, such as adding more restrooms for women, matter.”

As an educator, Bolumole uses technology to enhance curriculum, giving students hands-on access to industry tools. Her innovative flipped classroom won her the AT&T Instructional Technology Award in 2019.

In 2021, Bolumole came to Haslam as the Ryder Professor of Supply Chain Management. “Yemisi brings a vast amount of research experience in transportation management and policy decisionmaking to our team,” says John Bell, Gerald T. Niedert Professor in Supply Chain Management. “She is already making an impact.”

At Haslam, Bolumole has found a home with the perfect setting for conducting research, consulting with policymakers, and applying those insights in the classroom. “Being able to do all these things is why I’m here,” she says.

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