Published April 23, 2015
Rajan Batta, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, is the 2015 recipient of the Albert G. Holzman Distinguished Educator Award, the highest teaching award given by the Institute of Industrial Engineering (IIE).
The award recognizes educators who have contributed significantly to the profession through teaching, research and publication, extension, innovation or administration.
Batta, an IIE fellow, has been teaching at UB for more than 30 years and has supervised or co-supervised 41 doctoral students. He’s currently teaching graduate classes in stochastic methods, facilities design and urban operations research.
“Rajan’s students consistently emphasize his caring attitude and the tremendous impact his mentorship has had on their careers,” says Ann Bisantz, professor and chair of the industrial and systems engineering department. “His teaching excellence and concern for students have also been recognized by numerous awards, including a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, as well as UB’s Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award.”
In addition to teaching, Batta has provided strong educational leadership as part of SEAS’ administrative team. He currently serves in the newly created position of associate dean for faculty affairs, providing schoolwide support for faculty recruitment, diversity, mentoring, promotion, tenure and honors and awards. He formerly served as associate dean for research and graduate education (2013-14), acting/interim dean (2011-12) and associate dean for graduate education (2006-11).
Batta uses industrial engineering techniques, such as operations research, to develop and analyze mathematical models of systems critical to society. His current work includes hazardous-materials routing/logistics, UAV routing/scheduling for search missions, convoy routing, routing/scheduling of automated guided vehicles, modeling repair of a transportation network, gasoline-supply logistics, and electric-vehicle routing and location of charging stations.
He has a sustained record of research funding, receiving more than $13 million in awards from federal agencies, among them the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Justice; local governments, including the city of Buffalo; and private industry, such as Boeing, United Airlines and Lockheed Martin. He is a recipient of IIE’s David F. Baker Distinguished Research Award and the SUNY Research Foundation Award for Research and Scholarship, the Research Foundation’s highest award.
Batta recently co-edited the “Handbook of OR/MS Models in Hazardous Materials Transportation” with Changhyun Kwon, assistant professor in the industrial and systems engineering department. He has authored or co-authored more than 120 publications in the top journals in his field, and serves on the editorial boards of Computers and Operations Research, the Journal of Enterprise Transformation and Socio-Economic Planning Sciences. He is a department editor for IIE Transactions.
He received his PhD in operations research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor of technology in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi.