J. Cole Smith

Dean, College of Engineering and Computer Science

Portrait of Cole SmithJ. Cole Smith joined the College of Engineering and Computer Science as dean in October 2019. Smith came to Syracuse from Clemson University, where he had been associate provost for academic initiatives and previously served as chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering. His research focuses on integer programming and combinatorial optimization, network flows and facility location, computational optimization methods, and large-scale optimization due to uncertainty or robustness considerations.

When Smith began his tenure at Clemson in 2014 as chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering, the department was ranked in the mid-30s nationally. He implemented several initiatives to encourage and support innovative and relevant research, attract undergraduate and graduate students, and improve the department’s profile with respect to funding, diversity, and international distinction. The undergraduate population grew 50 percent over four years, and the department’s ranking is now No. 24 nationally. During his time at Clemson, Smith identified new sources of revenue to support departmental growth and opened a new building that was funded through online program revenue. He demonstrated his commitment to graduate education and research by serving as an advisor on 22 dissertations and helping to place graduates in tenure-track positions at the University of Michigan, Arizona State University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Arkansas, the U.S. Naval Academy, Wichita State University and Bogazici University in Turkey.

Smith was inducted as a fellow of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers in 2018 and has been recognized with awards for research publications and presentations. He has served in many leadership roles in his profession, including president of the Association of Chairs of Operations Research Departments (2016), chair of the Council of Industrial Engineering Academic Department Heads (2017), chair of the INFORMS Computing Society (2018-19), member of the board of trustees of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineering (2018-20) and member of the board of directors of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (first term encompassing 2019-20).

Before Clemson, Smith was a professor in industrial and systems engineering at the University of Florida (where he also served for one year as interim chair before leaving for Clemson) and the University of Arizona. He received his Ph.D. in industrial and systems engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a bachelor’s degree in mathematical sciences from Clemson.