ISD Welcomes Six Faculty and Staff Members

Integrative Systems + Design (ISD) is excited to welcome six faculty and staff members to the ISD community, including two new associate chairs, for the Fall 2021 semester:

Dr. Mihaela (Miki) Banu
ISD Associate Chair of Doctoral Education and Research

In this role, Dr. Banu will develop new initiatives focused on strengthening the research community and practice across all ISD programs and oversee the research portfolio of the ISD community by creating bridges between industry needs and research discoveries. She earned her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from University of Galati, Romania and RIKEN Institute, Japan, where she also served as department chair of Manufacturing Engineering. Since joining U-M in 2013, she developed a new research program in green and sustainable manufacturing to advance the use of eco-friendly lightweight materials in future transportation in order to address the global challenge of reducing CO2 emissions. Dr. Banu is the core contributor of the American Metal Manufacturing Innovation Institute (LIFT, Detroit), one of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation Institutes. She is the recipient of the 2001 Willie Hobbs Moore Achievement Award, 2019 Research Faculty Achievement Award University of Michigan. She serves as Associate Editor of Journal of Manufacturing Processes and Editorial Board Member of Scientific Reports, and is the chair of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’s (ASME) Advanced Material Manufacturing Technical Committee and a member of the Executive Committee of the ASME Manufacturing Engineering Division.

Ted Coutilish
ISD Assistant Director of Strategic Engagement and Communication

In this role, Coutilish leads advertising, branding, communications, marketing, new student recruitment, social media, strategic engagement and web initiatives. His goals are to revamp the ISD website, streamline communications, create and execute an integrated marketing communications plan, help develop a strategic plan, refine new student recruitment strategies, and grow the number of photos and videos. Coutilish earned a BA in Print Journalism from Wayne State University and a MALS in Communications at University of Detroit Mercy. Coutilish is past president and a current member of IABC Detroit. In 2012, he was recognized as the IABC Detroit Communicator of the Year.

Amy Hortop
ISD Associate Chair for Master’s Education and Student Experience

In this role, Hortop coordinates and continues expanding the academic activities within ISD, Student Experience Team and curricula development. She is responsible for course planning, resolving student issues, helping faculty connect students with various resources and creating a holistic student experience. Hortop, who earned a MS in Mechanical Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology as well as an Engineer’s Degree in Engineering Management from George Washington University, was named the 2021 Integrative Systems + Design Division Faculty Award Winner for her contributions to ISD and the College of Engineering. She is currently serving as co-chair for the national Capstone Design Conference and as a member of the American Society for Engineering Education.

Elizabeth Mekaru
ISD Associate Director of Academic Programs

In this role, Mekaru provides on-going leadership to manage ISD’s portfolio of academic program and admissions operations, services, administration, strategies, and partnerships for both on-campus and online students. She supervises and manages the ISD team responsible for academic program operations and services, coordinates their efforts across other teams and initiatives, and ensures alignment with ISD leadership, college, and university practices and strategic direction. She is a proud Michigan alum with B.A. and M.A. degrees in Asian Studies and Japanese Studies and has been working at the University for ten years, starting her career in support of international education for undergraduate students.

Dr. Kathleen H. Sienko
ISD Program Chair of Design Science

In this role, Dr. Sienko co-leads the Design Science program with Dr. Nigel Melville in advising MS and PhD students and teaching the seminar series. She also directs the Sienko Research Group and U-M Global Health Design Initiative, co-founded the U-M Center for Socially Engaged Design and is an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at U-M. She earned her PhD in Medical Engineering and Bioastronautics from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Science and Technology, and also holds an SM in Aeronautics & Astronautics from MIT and a BS in Materials Engineering from the University of Kentucky. She is currently serving as a member of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Board on Global Health.

James Tobias
ISD Graduate Coordinator, Design Science program; Systems Engineering and Design program

In this role, Tobias serves as a primary staff liaison for Systems Engineering + Design and Design Science degree students, and manages a broad range of programmatic and administrative responsibilities across ISD’s education portfolio. This includes providing guidance on student educational needs and academic performance, supporting the Systems Engineering + Design and Design Science program directors and supporting academic administration and operations activities. He has a bachelor’s degree in German from U-M and a master’s degree in Higher Education Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University. He has a wealth of experience helping students navigate higher education and connecting them with resources that will help them succeed.