Skip to main content


Message from the Chair

Portrait of Cynthia ChenDear Friends,  

More than 14 years ago, I first set foot on the grounds of the University of Washington to be interviewed for a position. Standing on Red Square next to Suzzallo library with Mt. Rainier in sight, I felt boundless and had a deep conviction that lives spent on this ground would reach their most ambitious aspirations for themselves and society. I still feel that way as I humbly take on the interim chair role for UW’s Industrial & Systems Engineering Department.  

From manufacturing to robotics and autonomous cars, from health systems to disaster rescue and relief, Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISE) at UW is about innovating and making any product or service, public or private, more efficient, valuable and sustainable for all. Join us now because the future of work, manufacturing, health systems, transportation and many others will be vastly different from what has always been. The future is about integrating new technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, cloud- and edge-computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) throughout production and operations. Join us here in Seattle, the beautiful Pacific Northwest and a front-runner in the world’s high-tech race: be a front-runner yourself. Studying in ISE at UW is about living with nature, working with our world-class faculty, and making global impacts.  

Leaders succeed only because of the talent and hard work of others. Every day, I feel a sense of appreciation and gratitude toward our ISE faculty and staff for their amazing ability to make the mission of ISE a warm reality that is felt by us all. We pride ourselves on being a small department within the College of Engineering: join us now, get to know everybody, and feel just at home. Being together in this way is especially important nowadays: in a world of uncertainty, it is easy to feel weary and lose sight of our goals. What will sustain us is the confidence that when we work together, we will produce outcomes that serve others. Every challenge we take on will be an opportunity to empower us and others and find new ways to innovate to serve the public or bring entrepreneurship to a new high.  

Your friend,

Cynthia Chen 
Interim Chair 
Industrial & Systems Engineering