The ISM major was launched in September 1992 and in 2011 earned its first national ranking, being named 12th in undergraduate supply chain education by Gartner. In 2014, the program was ranked 5th by Gartner. Developed initially by two faculty members from the Haworth College of Business—Drs. Robert Landeros and Robert Reck—and Dr. David Lyth from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the curriculum was developed on the basis of an extensive study. “We asked industry to take the lead in defining the curriculum,” says Reck, “because—in a sense—they are the ones who will hire the products.”

Participants from 30 corporations were enlisted to help pair existing WMU courses with three new courses created specifically for the major. A key feature of the curriculum was the inclusion of five engineering courses to address the need for supply chain professionals to interact with engineering and manufacturing functions.

Since the first two ISM students graduated in the spring of 1993, the program has grown so that more than 80 students per year graduate with the ISM major. Not only has the program grown in size, but it has also grown in recognition as major employers recognize the quality of the students in the ISM program and the unique skills that ISM graduates possess.

The ISM program continues to incorporate industry input through the ISM Executive Council. Twice a year, the ISM program faculty meet with industry partners to evaluate the program and the curriculum. As a result of these continuous program reviews, the ISM program has made changes to the curriculum that preserve the core distinction of combining business and engineering courses while allowing students more flexibility to design their program for the range of careers available to graduates with supply management skills. ISM students command some of the highest salaries in the college.

Recent initiatives have increased the information technology content in the curriculum to prepare students for the increasing use of information technology tools in supply management and developing relationships with international partners to provide semester study-abroad opportunities.