Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Janis Terpenny, PhD

Wayne T. Davis Chair of Engineering and Dean


Janis Terpenny is the Wayne T. Davis Dean’s Chair at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tickle College of Engineering. Her research focus is centered on industrial and systems engineering, with a secondary focus on engineering education.

Prior to coming to UT, Terpenny was 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, which she joined upon leaving Iowa State University in 2015.

At Iowa State, Terpenny co-founded (and continues to direct) the Center for e-Design, a National Science Foundation-backed Industry University Cooperative Research Center with 30 members. She also was technical lead on the Advanced Manufacturing Enterprise Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, a ManufacturingUSA Institute, much like the UT-housed IACMI—The Composites Institute. Terpenny also previously served as the Joseph Walkup Professor and Department Chair of the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering at Iowa State.

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

Terpenny earned her bachelor’s in mathematical sciences 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 and the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, the 2018 Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, and several honors for best paper, presentation, educator, or researcher.


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

  • 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–present.
  • 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