Michelle M. H. Seref appointed assistant professor of business information technology
September 3, 2014
Seref is one of nine new faculty members at Pamplin this fall. Their addition reflects the college’s commitment to hiring tenured and tenure-track faculty to further strengthen its teaching, research, and business outreach, particularly in the areas of business intelligence and analytics, innovation through entrepreneurship, and international programs.
Seref received a Ph.D. in operations management in 2009 from the University of Florida, where she also earned a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering.
During her master’s program, she co-authored the textbook, “Developing Decision Support Systems using Excel and VBA.”
Her dissertation focused on supply chain management decisions under various marketing strategies, including advance sales inventory management and pricing and timing decisions related to new product development. She has published research articles in top journals, such as the European Journal of Operations Research.
Seref specializes in relationship analysis, factor analysis, feature selection, and predictive models in optimizing decision responses. Her research combines quantitative methods from mathematical modeling and algorithm development with qualitative methods such as context and discourse analysis.
In her research area of decision analytics, she focuses on computational rhetoric and on qualitative factor analysis.
Her work in computational rhetoric develops an innovative approach to analyzing large amounts of text-based data in decision analysis. Her research in this area has applications in investment decisions in online communities, accounting reports and fraud detection, and consumer responses to online reviews.
Her work in qualitative factor analysis uses survey analysis to extract factors that influence business decisions. Her research here is applicable to problems in disaster operations management, interdisciplinary collaboration, and diversity.
Seref has been an instructor in the accounting and information systems department since 2012, teaching a course on advanced spreadsheet functions in business. She previously taught in the engineering communications program at Virginia Tech from 2009 to 2011.
Her awards include a 2013 Favorite Faculty Award, sponsored by Housing and Residence Life at Virginia Tech.