The Department of Industrial Engineering and Management (IEM) was established in 1969, under the academic supervision of the Technion. The first department head was the late Professor Roll, who was appointed by the Technion, and served in this capacity until 1973. Professor Finger, who had joined the department in 1972, was then the first full-time senior faculty member, and as such fulfilled all duties, academic and administrative alike. Enrollment in the first few years was about 25 students. Memebers of the first graduation year received their diploma from the Technion.
In June, 1972, the department was certified by the Council for Higher Education to grant a BSc degree. By October 1974, certification was extended to include an MSc degree.
In those first years, undergraduate students could specialize in one of three tracks: Industrial Engineering, Statistics and Management Science, Operations Research. For MSc students, there were two options: Industrial Engineering and Industrial Management. Two laboratories served both students and research work: The Work-Study Laboratory and the Statistics Laboratory.
In 1973, Professor D. Tabak, from the Electrical Engineering Department at Ben-Gurion University, was appointed for one year as the department chair. Professor L. Cohen, from Columbia University, then became the department chair. At that time, the number of faculty members reached eight with a total of 253 students. Business Management was added as an area of specialization for graduate students.
In 1977, Prof. Shinar joined the department, and established the Ergonomics Laboratory. Faculty increased to 11, and graduate studies included two additional areas of specialization: Economics Management , with the Department of Economics, and Health-Care Management, with the Faculty of Health-Sciences. Enrollment reached 257 undergraduate and 51 graduate students.
By 1984-1985, faculty reached 19 members with a total student enrollment of 494. In February 1984, the department was certified by the Council for Higher Education to grant a PhD degree. The number of courses increased dramatically, and courses diversified in contents. Cooperation with industrial plants in the area increased, and undergraduate students conducted several of their assignments and final projects in those plants. This cooperation has endured to this day. Around that time (1985-1986), undergraduate students were allowed to choose one of two areas of specialization: Production Systems and Information Systems. Students selected their specialization area at the end of the first semester in the second year of studies.
In 1994-1995, given the increased demand for qualified managerial manpower in the hospitality industry, a new major in "Hotel and Tourism Management" was approved by the Council for Higher Education and opened within the IEM department.
Concurrently, the size of faculty continued to grow and reached 29 with 1198 students. The IEM department became more inter-disciplinary in nature, a feature that characterizes it to this day (as may be realized from the list of faculty expert areas, given in Sections 1.2.2). In that period, a new program for graduate students was opened that allowed excelling MSc students to proceed directly to their PhD studies.
In 1993, a Wolfson Grant was received to establish a Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) Laboratory, initiated by Professors Stern and Rabinowitz. Prof. Edan was recruited to establish the laboratory, and this gave a tremendous impact to the development of robotics and computer production-control. New labs in these areas were founded (Automation, Robotics), that have since served both teaching and research. The Production Systems curricula were updated to benefit from hands-on studies in the new laboratories.
In 1996, the School of Management was founded by the then department chair, the late Professor A. Mehrez. All faculty members specializing in management domains moved to the new school (5 faculty members). As a result the department found it necessary again to recruit faculty. Also, we were asked at the time to provide courses in our areas of specialization (like quantitative analysis), both to the newly established School of Management, and to other departments at the university, most notably within the Faculty of Engineering Sciences. This again required increasing faculty in the department. Focus was put on recruiting faculty in the areas of Operations-Research and Statistics.
In 1996, Professor H. Stern initiated the establishment of the Multi-Media Intelligent Systems Laboratory. This laid the basis for a new study program on Intelligent Systems within the MSc Industrial Engineering track.
In 1997, the Department of Communications Engineering had been established by a faculty member, Dr. Ran Giladi, who then left IEM to serve as the chair of the new department.
In parallel, and in order to respond to the increasing demand for information systems experts, the department updated its curriculum in the Information Systems track, and accordingly recruited faculty in this area. By the end of 2000, another group of faculty "departed" to establish the Department of Information Systems Engineering (ISE). The IEM Department was initially required to provide "Service Courses" to the new department. Thereafter, it was agreed that each department would serve itself and therefore several new faculty in the area of information systems were recruited to IEM. Due to the high-tech boom, the recruitment process is still ongoing. Focus was placed on finding faculty that could integrate with other disciplines of IEM.
By the end of 2002, IEM had 34 faculty positions (with only 27 filled by full-time department faculty and the rest by adjunct instructors). Student enrollment reached 1159.
Given the new environment in which the department had to operate, namely, the existence of a separate department for Information Systems, a thorough revision of the department's undergraduate programs was needed. This revision was undertaken, and provided an opportunity to refresh and update both the structure of the various programs and the contents of their syllabi. This updating process is still ongoing (refer to Section 3.2). The basic concept was to focus in the first two years on basic engineering, science and computer perspectives, followed in the last two years by advanced courses in statistics, operations research, industrial engineering and management. Focus was put on integrative courses, on increasing the number of electives, and on hands-on specialized IE courses (e.g., databases, simulation and automation) and thorough update of the "Final Project" concept.
As part of these curricula developments, the department laid out a five year plan for laboratory development. This included upgrading equipment in existing laboratories and the establishing of new labs. Concurrently, the department continued furnishing its computer laboratories with state-of-the-art software.
In 2002, Prof. Rabinowitz initiated the Advanced Industrial Engineering Laboratory, as part of a research fund donated by Intel. Research funds enabled continuous development of all laboratories. This helped attract many graduate students from other engineering departments.
In parallel, the department continued to develop new study programs and submitted three programs approved by the Senate of the university: Quality & Reliability Engineering (BSc, approved in November, 12th, 2000), Transportation Engineering & Management (MSc, approved in January, 28th, 2001) and Natural Resources Engineering Management (MSc, approved in April, 7th, 2002). These areas were selected based on existing faculty expertise and industry needs. The new programs emphasized the IEM's interdisciplinary approach, while seeking to enhance its graduate programs with specialized areas.
In the summer of 2003, we moved to our new building, which now includes some 20 research and teaching laboratories. New laboratories were founded in the areas of Human-Computer Interfaces, Cognitive Engineering, Intelligent Systems Engineering (Multimedia, Parallel Computing), TeleRobotics and Transportation Research. These developments have already made space requirements problematic for the department operations.