Faculty Spotlight: Robert Mee

July 22, 2018

A member of the Haslam College of Business faculty since 1989, Robert Mee is the William and Sara Clark Professor of Business Analytics and teaches statistics courses for undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students, as well as a popular first-year studies course called “The Question of God.”

In 2016, Mee applied to teach at Nankai University in Tianjin, China, through China’s Thousand Talents program. A former student had told him about the opportunity.

“Through this program, China funds faculty from overseas to work either part-time or full-time in China,” he says. “I’d visited Nankai University previously and had a few connections there.”

Mee was accepted and began a three-year contract for part-time teaching and researching at Nankai, which has a growing statistics program.

“I went for one month in 2017, and this year I was there for two months,” he says. In 2018, Mee taught a one-credit class titled “Experimental Design Augmentation.”

“Teaching for two weeks facilitated connections with Ph.D. students and led to some shared research with faculty and students,” he says.

Mee is co-chair for the next Design and Analysis of Experiments (DAE) Conference, which will be hosted at the Haslam College of Business in October 2019. The DAE Conference series began in 2000; UCLA hosted in 2017.

“We’re really excited about this event. Each session is designed to have one senior person, one mid-career person, and one either Ph.D. student or recent graduate,” Mee says.

The conference sponsors Ph.D. students who want to come and will draw 80–100 attendees from across the country.

“The best way to build design of experiments as a research field is by including Ph.D. students in such a conference.”

This fall, Mee will direct Haslam’s MSBA program while Melissa Bowers is on sabbatical.

“It’s certainly a good time for the department, and we are looking forward to hiring several new faculty members,” he says. “We need that to support growth of the MSBA and the undergraduate analytics program.”

Mee is thrilled that the MSBA program received the 2018 UPS George D. Smith Prize from INFORMS, the leading international association for operations research and analytics professionals.

“Masters in business analytics have only developed over the last decade; because they’re new, they’re not yet in U.S. News & World Report or other widely recognized rankings,” he says. “Universities compete for the Smith Prize, which is awarded for excellence in preparing analytics practitioners. Winning this award brings well-deserved recognition to UT’s MSBA and will increase the number of applicants and employers coming to UT.”