Dr. Mary Leitnaker arrived at the University of Tennessee in 1984 and was one of the first female professors in the college to reach full professorship. In addition to her research and teaching responsibilities, Dr. Leitnaker has worked on many projects that have helped shape the Haslam College of Business as we know it today.
One of Leitnaker’s first projects was the development of a “Practical Strategies for Process Improvement” course, which taught process improvement and was a precursor for Black Belt training. It was also one of the first courses for what is now part of executive education training offered by Graduate and Executive Education in the Haslam College of Business.
After this project, she started the Institute for Statistical Engineering, which delivered large scale, on-site training programs to companies, including Pepsi International and Aera Energy.
In 2009, Mary took on one of her most daunting projects as the founding director of our Master’s in Business Analytics (MSBA) program. With this change, our department stopped offering a traditional master’s degree in statistics and management science, and put our PhD on hold in order to put all of our “eggs in one basket.” During Mary’s time as director, we saw the MSBA program grow substantially and receive a Top 20 ranking from “Information Week.”
Now that Mary has handed the role of director to Dr. Missie Bowers, she has begun to work more closely with Consolidated Nuclear Security at the Y-12 National Security Complex. She has taken on a partial appointment with Y-12 with the goal of fostering a strong relationship between Y-12 and the Haslam College of Business— specifically in the areas of business analytics and supply chain. The partnership has already generated several business analytics graduate assistantships, and she looks forward to more opportunities once the PhD program in Analytics is officially launched.
The Department of Business Analytics and Statistics and the Haslam College of Business are very proud of all the work Mary has done for the College and for the future female professors who wish to follow in her footsteps.