Virginia Tech's Pamplin College of Business has appointed business information technology professor Cliff Ragsdale as the new academic director for its Center for Business Intelligence and Analytics.

Ragsdale will lead the center together with executive director Linda Oldham.

Ragsdale, who holds the Bank of America Professorship, has taught at Virginia Tech since 1990. His primary research interests involve applications of quantitative analytical modeling techniques to managerial decision making problems.

He succeeds accounting and information systems professor Patrick Fan, who has led the center since it was formed in the fall of 2013. Fan and business information technology professor Terry Rakes, who had served as associate director, will continue to participate in the center as fellows.

The center supports research, teaching, and outreach to the business community in the growing field of big data — a range of activities connected to data-intensive decision making.

Business intelligence techniques and technologies turn raw data into useful information for decision making, while business analytics activities focus on gaining new insights to identify and leverage business opportunities.

The center seeks to create learning opportunities for students and build research and other partnerships within the university and with corporations related to business analytics technologies, issues, and trends.

Its initiatives this year include a new lecture series featuring speakers from Boeing, Deloitte, Logi Analytics, and other organizations who will discuss business analytics in their industry.

Ragsdale earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from the University of Central Florida and his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.