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Effective Jan. 1, 2015, Lei became the first woman to lead the Rutgers Business School.
Lei’s many contributions to the university include becoming the founding director of the Rutgers Center for Supply Chain Management in 2001 and establishing the Department of Supply Chain Management and Marketing Sciences in 2008 as founding chair.
She is recognized internationally as an expert in operations scheduling, project resource allocation models, logistics performance optimization, and distribution network design. She also is a deeply respected teacher, having received multiple best professor awards at RBS and having been nominated for the 2010 U.S. Professor of the Year Award.
Lei has been a faculty member at Rutgers since receiving her Ph.D. in industrial engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1989. She served as an associate editor for academic journals such as IIE Transactions, Naval Research Logistics, Journal of Supply Chain Management, was a co-guest editor for Annals of Operations Research three times, and received the Meritorious Service Award from the Editorial Board of Operations Research in 1997.
Together with a team of faculty colleagues, staff members, and more than 100 industry sponsors, Lei helped bring Rutgers Supply Chain Management academic programs to national and international prominence. Supply Chain Management is the fastest growing major at the Rutgers Business School, with the RBS Supply Chain Management and Marketing Sciences program ranked third in the nation (Gartner Supply Chain Leaders, 2011). Its undergraduate internship placement rate was 100% in 2009 and 2010, while its MBA internship placement rate has been nearly 100% since 2008.
Lei also is a powerhouse in the classroom: She has received five teaching excellence awards at Rutgers Business School since 1990, and was listed in Business Week as one of the two Most Popular Business Professors at Rutgers University. Lei was awarded the prestigious University Academic Excellence Award in 2005.
Lei was a co-guest editor for Annals of Operations Research, and served as an associate editor of IIE Transactions and Naval Research Logistics. She was a member of the review board of Journal of Supply Chain Management, and the review panel of the National Science Foundation, and has published many articles in refereed journals such as Management Science, INFORMSJournal on Computing, Interfaces, IIE Transactions, European Journal of Operations Research, Naval research Logistics, Journal of Operational Research Society, and others.
In 2004 she was the leading researcher for an industry distribution network design project that led to a potential saving of millions of dollars, and in 2011, she was the Principal Investigator for a major research project funded by U.S. Department of Homeland Security on managing healthcare supply chain disruptions.
Lei received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in industrial engineering, and her M.S. from Dalian University of Technology, China, in electrical and computer engineering.