Impactful Research

Distinguished Professor

Professor Vijayan Sugumaran focuses on student success, teaching and research

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A dedicated teacher-scholar who brings a cross-disciplinary real-world perspective to his students and colleagues, Dr. Sugumaran is known for his unwavering focus on advancing student success.

Decision Information Sciences

icon of a calendarMarch 15, 2021

icon of a pencilBy Susan Thwing

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While champion of student success can’t be found in any of his job descriptions, Vijayan Sugumaran, Ph.D., considers that his most important and rewarding role.

Since joining the OU School of Business faculty in 1999, Dr. Sugumaran has worked tirelessly to combine his focus on advancing student success through teaching, hands-on learning and professional connections with his applied research projects in emerging areas of intelligent systems, information technology and data analytics.

Today, in addition to teaching and research, Dr. Sugumaran chairs the School of Business Administration’s Decision and Information Sciences Department and co-directs OU’s Center for Data Science and Big Data Analytics.

In recognition of his commitment and portfolio of accomplishments, the OU Board of Trustees honored him with the appointment of Distinguished Professor last year.

“Dr. Sugumaran is a highly respected academic who uses his skills and experience to enhance student success. He believes in the education of the whole person,” says Michael A. Mazzeo, Ph.D., dean and professor of finance at the Oakland University School of Business “He is highly regarded in the area of his expertise and able to enhance student learning and success through his research, projects and corporate connections.”

Connecting students
While his scholarly achievements and academic reputation is stellar, Dr. Sugumaran is known on campus for his dedication to ensuring OU business students truly understand the complexity involved in managing information and how to do it to benefit their careers and their organization’s success.

In fact, it is his ability to bring the business world into the classroom that benefits students most, says colleague Fabia U. Battistuzzi, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Biological Sciences.

Connecting students with research and corporate-sponsored projects enhances their education with hands-on experiences while elevating their profile with potential employers.

“Working with Dr. Sugumaran helped me develop new skills which led to an internship and then a full-time job,” says Avanti Tatiraju, MSITM ’18, who worked with him as a graduate assistant on a presentation for FCA’s 2017 Advancing Safety Through Data conference.

“He is a great teacher who motivated me to expand my skill set. I wouldn't be where I am without his help and guidance,” says Tatiraju, who is now a Salesforce consultant at Henry Ford Health System.

“As department chair and program adviser, he has greatly influenced our skills and professional networking opportunities,” says Aswathy James, MSITM ’17, data engineer, FordDirect. “The advanced database and big data management course where Dr. Sugumaran introduced us to ETL and Microsoft BI stack helps me extensively in my current position.”

Their experience with Dr. Sugumaran’s mentorship is far from unique. Business students in OU’s MIS undergraduate and graduate programs benefit from this commitment.

“I believe that as professors we are charged with providing the skill set needed for today’s careers. Students can use the information they learn here in many areas including data science, application development and business to name just a few,” Dr. Sugumaran says. “In our coursework we do a lot of technical and hands-on project work. Students learn from this real-world experience. I believe in seeking ways to improve their educational experience and serving as a champion for their success.”

Innovative multidisciplinary research
Dr. Sugumaran’s unwavering focus on advancing student success is only one reason the Board of Trustees bestowed him with the honor of Distinguished Professor. The board members also considered his significant contributions to research and service in the field of management information systems.

In addition to having published or accepted for publication 105 peer-reviewed journal articles and 136 peer-reviewed conference papers, Dr. Sugumaran’s work has been cited more than 5,900 times and he has received nearly $11 million in funding from governments around the world. With a focus on the development of intelligent systems using a design science approach, Dr. Sugumaran’s work has led him to serve as Distinguished Professor of the Ministry of Public Security, People’s Republic of China, and visiting scholar at Shanghai University, China. He has keynoted many international conferences and was a Fulbright Scholar in 2012 as part of the Fulbright Specialist Program.

Not only is Dr. Sugumaran well known in his areas of expertise, he has a well-deserved reputation of pioneering projects that cross disciplines.

“Dr. Sugumaran, with his dynamic personality and interest in teaching and research, loves to take new initiatives and does not shy away from new or even radical ideas,” says Ravi Khattree, OU professor of statistics, and co-director, OU’s Center for Data Science and Big Data Analytics.

Using the Center for Data Science as an example, Khattree explains, “We are developing an interdisciplinary forum so students and faculty alike can learn from each other about their very different disciplines.”

“Dr. Sugumaran has a unique ability to work across fields. He is the first person I worked with from the business world. I have been impressed by how quickly he was able to make connections with those of us working in biology,” says Battistuzzi, who is also part of the multidisciplinary research center. “We have written grants and created events that seamlessly blend biology, statistics, engineering and business. This has been possible because Dr. Sugumaran is able to see these connections and, thus, can push the field forward in innovative ways.”

That ability to visualize and make connections led to Dr. Sugumaran and his colleagues to coordinate and host a virtual symposium focused on how data can improve response to various aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly 100 attendees from around the world joined thought leaders from around the country to discuss the impact of analytics, artificial intelligence, statistical modeling, deep learning and other data in the fight against Covid-19.

A dedicated teacher-scholar who brings a cross-disciplinary real-world perspective to his students and colleagues, Sugumaran remains focused on what he views as his most important role. “It’s a great honor to be recognized by my peers,” he says. “But my greatest reward is working with students to guide them to interesting and successful careers.”

Read the Insight Brief about Dr. Sugumaran’s appointment to the rank of Distinguished Professor here.

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