Commitment: Dr. John Usher on his return to Industrial Engineering

Acting Dean, John S. UsherEffective July 1st, 2017, Dr. John Usher will step down from his tenure as the interim dean of the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. Starting immediately thereafter, Usher will take a long overdue sabbatical, the first in his decades long career at the university. The plan is to take that time to recalibrate and get resituated to work in the classroom.

“I miss being in the classroom a lot. I feel like I’m a good teacher and I have a lot of experiences that I can share with the students. I’m also looking to get away from the stress. The administrative life contains a lot of budgets and a lot of that, that I did it, I enjoyed it, but I’m looking to get away from that and get back in the classroom. It just feels like good timing,” says Usher.

He gravitated towards the field during his education, with an eye towards the big picture.

“I thought it had matched my personality and skill set. The general population doesn’t really understand engineering. Industrial engineers build the systems that produce those items. They help to build the factory that builds the car. They have to know about scheduling and inventory and ergonomics. It’s a higher-level systems design that’s equally as challenging,” says Usher.

The department of Industrial Engineering has provided a few administrators to the Dean’s Office over the last several years, so Usher’s return is warming received.

“The Industrial Engineering Department is thrilled to have Dr. John Usher return to the IE department after serving as Acting Dean of the Speed School. John is a distinguished teacher, and an accomplished researcher, a revered colleague. We welcome him back,” says Dr. Suraj Alexander, chair of the Industrial Engineering department.

Usher remains a team player with one eye towards the future. Given his absence while serving as an administrator for the last five years, he is cautious to make sure he has his footing before stepping back in.

“I’ve got to find out what classes I’m going to be teaching. I’m not going to walk in and say I used to teach that course. I’ll do whatever they need. They’re still figuring it out. Part of my time on sabbatical is to figure out what they need or resurrect some old courses. I’m also going to get my research going again. I may travel a little. I’m still figuring some of that,” says Usher.