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Janis Terpenny, PhD



Janis Terpenny is a professor of industrial and systems engineering. She previously served as the Dean and Wayne T. Davis Dean’s Chair for the Tickle College of Engineering. Her research focus is centered on engineering design process and decision making, smart and integrated manufacturing systems, and engineering education. Collaborations across disciplines and with industry and community partners have been integral to her work.

Prior to coming to UT, Terpenny served as the Peter and Angela Dal Pezzo Chair and Head of the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Pennsylvania State University. She has also served as department chair of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering at Iowa State University, as professor at Virginia Tech in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Education and at the University of Massachusetts in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.

Terpenny co-founded the Center for e-Design in 2003. During her 10+ years as its director, this National Science Foundation Industry University Cooperative Research Center grew to include 7 universities and 30+ members. Terpenny also served as technical lead of the Advanced Manufacturing Enterprise (AME) area for the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII), one of the nation’s first, ManufacturingUSA Institutes. 

In addition to her academic roles, Terpenny  served as program director for the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation, and as a systems analyst for the General Electric Company.

Terpenny earned her bachelor’s in mathematical sciences (applied math) from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1979 and her master’s and doctorate in industrial and systems engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in 1981 and 1996, respectively.

Terpenny’s awards include distinguished alumni honors from Virginia Tech, being named a fellow of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE), and several honors for best paper, presentation, educator, researcher and outreach.

She is dedicated to diversity and inclusion, having served as an NSF Advance Professor and leadership team at Virginia Tech, chair of the Broadening Participation Committee for the Division of Design for ASME, on the Diversity Committee of the ASEE Engineering Deans Council, and multiple diversity initiatives at the University of Tennessee.


Areas of Interest

  • Engineering design and smart manufacturing— Design process and methods; information engineering; product and systems obsolescence; cloud computing in design and manufacturing; diagnostics of manufacturing
  • Engineering design education—project design and student learning; underrepresented student engagement and retention; development of collaborative and problem-solving skills; preparing future engineering education students


  • PhD Industrial and Systems Engineering (manufacturing systems), Virginia Tech, 1996
  • MS Industrial and Systems Engineering (operations research), Virginia Tech, 1981
  • BS Mathematical Sciences (applied mathematics), Virginia Commonwealth University, 1979

Awards and Recognitions

  • Commissioner, Tennessee Technology Corridor Development Authority (2020–2025, 5-year term)

  • Member (elected), Public Policy Committee (PPC), ASEE Engineering Deans Council (EDC), 2020-present
  • Member, Diversity Committee, ASEE Engineering Deans Council (EDC), 2019-present
  • Senior Vice President–Academic, Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers Board of Trustees, elected 2019
  • Director, Center for eDesign, a National Science Foundation Industry University Cooperative Research Center, 2003–2019
  • Program Director, Division of Undergraduate Education, National Science Foundation 2010–2011
  • Member, American Society for Engineering Education, 1998–present
  • Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2012–present (member since 1995)
  • Fellow, Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, 2010–present (member since 1980)
  • Member, Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, 2011–present.
  • Member, International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), 2011–present
  • Member, SME (formerly, Society of Manufacturing Engineers), 2015–present
  • Member, Women in Engineering ProActive Network, 2011–present
  • Eminent Engineer, Tau Beta Pi, inducted 2011
  • Technical Lead, Advanced Manufacturing Enterprise Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, a ManufacturingUSA Institute, 2014–2015

Contact Information