This past fall, three new assistant professors joined the ranks of MET faculty: Canan Gunes Corlu (Administrative Sciences), Danielle Rousseau (Criminal Justice), and Guanglan Zhang (Computer Science).
“We were very fortunate in this year’s faculty searches,” notes Dean Tanya Zlateva. “Professors Corlu, Rousseau, and Zhang have outstanding research potential, and each brings expertise in an area that is needed in their departments.”
Assistant Professor of Administrative Sciences Canan Gunes Corlu is a native of Turkey, where she received her bachelor’s degree before venturing to the States to earn her master’s and doctorate in business from Carnegie Mellon University. A reviewer for the journals Annals of Operations Research and Mathematics of Operations Research, Dr. Corlu taught at Bilkent University in Ankara prior to joining the Administrative Sciences department at MET, where she now teaches two courses: Supply Chain Management (with Associate Professor Roger Warburton) and The Innovation Process: Developing New Products and Services.
“Inventory control is the starting point of every problem in our field,” says Corlu, whose area of expertise is business analytics and large-scale simulations. “Simulation allows us to model complex systems and imitate the behavior of these systems in a computer. The goal is to understand how much inventory an inventory manager should keep to maximize the satisfaction of customers.”
Corlu applies her knowledge of simulation models to her research in humanitarian logistics—an area of study with major implications within the realm of nonprofits and disaster relief organizations. Humanitarian logistics ensures that supplies are acquired and delivered efficiently, and on schedule, while minimizing the operating costs absorbed by nonprofits. “My expertise in the design and analysis of stochastic simulations, coupled with my interest in humanitarian logistics, is a good addition to the department” says Corlu. Using the Pittsburgh Food Bank as a model, Corlu formulated a logistical plan that saved 10 percent in overall operation costs, enabling the organization to allocate more money toward distributing food for those in need. “I looked at how we can design their vehicle schedules in a more efficient way, so they spend less money on that, and have more money to help more people in need.”
In the classroom, Corlu’s mission is to ensure that her students are capable of seeing the big picture. “Generally, most of my classes are case-based. I expect students to express their ideas explicitly and effectively. It’s important for them to be able to analyze a particular situation clearly, organize their thoughts, and be able to present it to a manager in ten minutes. This is what the industry demands, and it is one of the most important skills we teach.”
According to Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Danielle Rousseau, “The most important thing for students to learn is to think critically, and not take what a book says—or what I say, for that matter—as fact. Whatever topic we’re working on, students need to apply their own reasoning skills and explore real-world applications for their research: policy implications, practice implications.”
Rousseau—who holds a master’s in clinical forensics psychology and a PhD in criminology and justice policy and women’s studies—brings to her teaching and research activities a decade of experience, ranging from victim services in a police department, trauma and crisis response in a community agency, and as a therapist in both male and female correctional facilities—most recently at the women’s prison MCI–Framingham.
“After spending years in the prison setting and working with law enforcement, I can share that hands-on experience in the classroom. I also have access to guest lecturers from the field—colleagues who are actually in the practice,” says Rousseau, who teaches the graduate courses in Gender and Justice and Research Methods, as well as the undergraduate course in Crime and Delinquency.
Rousseau’s transition from practitioner to teacher stemmed from a desire to share her on-the-job experience and research with students, and to unite research and practice. “Unfortunately, good research doesn’t always inform the practices we see in the system,” explains Rousseau. “Developing programming that is proven effective through research will benefit the criminal justice field—and society generally—by being more cost effective and less punitive.”
Rousseau also brings to the Applied Social Sciences department an interest in race and gender in the justice system—specifically, research on trauma and its effects on women. “Recently, I’ve been doing work with a program called yogaHOPE, a trauma-informed gender response program based entirely on well-founded research. The pilot program in the women’s prison was a great success,” explains Rousseau, whose efforts with yogaHOPE and other prisoner programs for women were recognized by three awards from the Massachusetts Department of Correction. Recently, Rousseau used her experience with yogaHOPE to partner with AMURT-Haiti (the Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team), establishing a Trauma-Informed Mind-Body (TIMBo) program for survivors of the 2010 earthquake.
For her students, Rousseau’s advice is straightforward: “Be engaged. Find your passion, and throw yourself into it. There are great resources at MET: seek out your faculty and explore the interests that you share, or discover new interests.”
“Find an idea that you are really interested in, and then be persistent,” agrees Assistant Professor of Computer Science Guanglan Zhang. “For students who wish to pursue health informatics, I congratulate them. It’s a relatively new field, and there are very good career prospects for the future.”
Zhang, who is from Luoyang, China, has been teaching health informatics courses at MET part-time since 2009. Holding undergraduate and graduate degrees in electronic engineering, and a doctorate in computer engineering, Zhang has authored more than thirty journal publications, developed more than twenty online computational systems, and filed two patents as co-inventor. Through the development of advanced computational solutions, she contributes to the rapid progress of basic and applied biology and biomedicine.
Previously senior bioinformatics engineer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Zhang decided to focus on teaching full-time, bringing to MET’s Department of Computer Science specialized knowledge of health informatics—the application of information technology to the health care field, specifically related to Electronic Health Records (EHR). “Beginning in 2015, physicians failing to demonstrate meaningful use of an EHR will face financial penalties,” says Zhang, who teaches Health Informatics in on-campus and online formats.
“With today’s super high technology, we have more and more data,” Zhang explains. “But, how do we figure out what that data means? We have to use machine learning, data mining, and knowledge management to discover patterns and meaning in big amounts of data. These are the most important topics in managing health data.”
As a key player in the evolution of MET’s graduate programs in Health Informatics, Zhang brings new competencies to the department. “I come from a hardcore medical environment. It helps that I have worked in the biomedical field and interacted with doctors. I know how they think, and I have real-world research problems to use as examples in class.”
“Once again,” says Dean Halfond, “MET has attracted three exciting scholars to join our faculty in cutting-edge fields, where we can show our preeminence and relevance.”