Roberta (Robin) S. Russell, professor and department head of the Department of Business Information Technology in the Pamplin College of Business, will serve as the college’s interim dean, effective July 1. She will assume leadership following the retirement of Robert Sumichrast and as the college conducts an international search for its next dean.

“I am honored to serve as the interim dean of the Pamplin College of Business. The college is on an exceptional path in advancing a world-class 21st-century business research and learning environment at Virginia Tech. I look forward to partnering closely with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and industry partners in pursuit of this mission,” said Russell.

Russell joined the Virginia Tech faculty as an assistant professor in 1983. Her primary research and teaching interests are in the areas of operations and supply chain management, service operations, and security, privacy, and trust. Russell began her research with the scheduling and design of manufacturing operations. More recently, her research has examined issues in quality and supply chain management, with special emphasis on humanitarian and health care operations.

During her career at Virginia Tech, Russell has published in a number of top journals in her field including Journal of Operations Management, Decision Sciences, IIE Transactions, IEEE Transactions, Annals of Operations Research, International Journal of Production Research, International Journal of Production Economics and Computer Law and Security Review. She currently serves as associate editor for two academic journals and has co-authored two textbooks, “Operations and Supply Chain Management,” in its 11th edition, and “Service Operations Management,” in its second edition.

Earning promotions to associate professor in 1988 and to professor in 1993, Russell’s outstanding scholarship and work in the Pamplin College of Business led to her appointment as head of the Department of Business Information Technology in 2017 where she has been directly engaged in a number of high-priority initiatives within the college. 

“Through her collaborative work in the Pamplin College of Business and with faculty and department heads across the campus, Robin has earned the respect and admiration of her colleagues and is well-positioned to effectively lead the college during this transition,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke. “Her knowledge of and contributions to Pamplin’s strategic priorities, and how those priorities advance the university’s strategic vision for the future is critically important. Robin has my full confidence and support and I look forward to having her as part of my leadership team.”

Russell has earned the Pamplin College of Business Certificate of Teaching Excellence on two occasions, Pamplin’s Excellence in Diversity award, the University Certificate of Teaching Excellence, and the MBA Association's Outstanding Professor Award. In 2016, Russell received the Gyrna Award from the American Society of Quality for her research in healthcare quality. The award recognizes the paper, published in the preceding year, which has made the largest single contribution to the extension of understanding and knowledge in the philosophy, principles, or methods of quality management.

“A dedicated Hokie through and through, I am deeply appreciative of Robin for taking on this critical transition role at the college. Along with an Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) spirit, Robin brings extensive leadership experience, unmatched technical expertise, and a penchant for collaboration – all of which will serve her well as interim dean,” said Pamplin College of Business Dean Robert Sumichrast.

Russell served as president of the APICS Foundation (now ASCM) and co-director of the Supply Chain Academic Talent Initiative. She is a past president of the Southwest Virginia Chapter of APICS, the professional association for supply chain management, and has held numerous offices in the Decision Science Institute and the Production and Operations Management Society.

Russell earned a Ph.D. and a B.S. from Virginia Tech and an MBA from Old Dominion University. She holds two professional certifications from ASCM: Certified Fellow in Production and Inventory Management and Certified Supply Chain Professional. 


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