David E. Douglas, University Professor in the Department of Information Systems and member of the faculty at the University of Arkansas since 1975, is retiring, effective Fall 2017.
In addition to numerous leadership roles at the university and the Walton College, Douglas spearheaded campus efforts in data analysis and helped make the college and the university a recognized leader in big data both nationally and globally.
Douglas’ efforts led to unprecedented partnerships with industry giants such as IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp., SAP America Inc., Teradata, and SAS Institute Inc. His work in data analysis also has resulted in the Walton College and the university hosting large sets of real data from companies such as Sam’s Club, Dillard’s, Acxiom and Nielsen. Those data sets are available to be used by researchers and students around the world.
“Whether attracting top researchers to work here, bringing large consumer data sets for student and faculty analysis or serving as a department and university leader, David Douglas has set the standard for information systems at the Walton College,” said Matt Waller, Walton College dean. “Researchers and students will benefit from his work in the field for decades to come.”
Douglas joined the U of A as an assistant professor in industrial engineering in the College of Engineering in 1975 and became an associate professor in information systems in the business college four years later. He became a professor in information systems in 1989 and a University Professor in 2007.
He has been the Walton Professor of Information Systems since April 2013.
“David Douglas’ contributions to the field of information systems go beyond just the University of Arkansas,” said Rajiv Sabherwal, chair of the Department of Information Systems and holder of the Edwin and Karlee Bradberry Chair in Information Systems. “He has been key to placing the Walton College and the university at the forefront of data analytics for decades now. David’s day-to-day work in the field will be missed by his students and colleagues and by the data analytics community around the world.”
Douglas earned a B.S.I.E. in operations research, a M.S.I.E. in computer analysis and a doctorate in computer modeling, all from the University of Arkansas.
His success in developing industry ties and furthering the field of data analytics in academia has directly resulted in the raising of more than $300 million in gifts, in-kind donations and funding over the past 40 years.
Douglas has served on the university’s Faculty Athletics Committee since 1988 and has been a member of Board of Directors-SAP University Alliances North America and Teradata University Network. He chaired the information systems department from 1985 to 1998. He has been the director of enterprise systems since July 2007 and was the founding co-chair of the Institute for Advanced Data Analytics since 2014.
While serving in his leadership roles in Walton College, Douglas also was instrumental in championing the creation of a doctoral program in information systems and the master’s in information systems. He also was key in the hiring of several renowned faculty members in information systems, leading to the department being consistently ranked among the top five information systems departments in the world in terms of research productivity.
Douglas received the Sam Bruno Lifetime Achievement Award from the Federation of Business Disciplines, was honored several times with the IBM Faculty Award recognizing outstanding faculty doing innovative, collaborative research in disciplines of mutual interest and received the Enterprise Computing Community 10 Year Service Recognition.
Douglas has created the Gene and ImoJean Douglas Endowed Scholarship to honor his parents. The scholarship will be established as a permanent endowment and will benefit information systems students beginning in the 2018-19 academic year.