Joseph Mertz Named Director of Carnegie Mellon’s Information Systems Program
By Stefanie Johndrow
Carnegie Mellon University has selected Joseph Mertz as director of its undergraduate Information Systems Program (IS).
Now a joint unit administered by both the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy, CMU’s Information Systems program is a unique blend of technology, business, humanities and social sciences that builds on the university’s world-renowned strengths in information technology and analytics.
“Joe is an excellent head to lead IS in the next several years,” said Richard Scheines, Bess Family Dean of the Dietrich College. “As the IS Program is now a joint effort of Dietrich and Heinz, and as Joe is jointly appointed half in Dietrich and half in Heinz, he knows the strengths and opportunities afforded by both colleges, and how to make the program stronger than it would be in either college alone. Joe is a wonderful human being, a pleasure to work with, and he will help us lift IS to an international jewel.”
The IS Program is designed for students who want to lead change at the interfaces of technological, organizational and societal systems. As the birthplace of advanced technologies that could potentially transform segments of society, such as artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles, CMU is uniquely positioned to train leaders who can harness technology effectively and ethically to create human-centered solutions.
“Joe Mertz is a leader in the information systems field. His expertise applying technology to solve problems in a variety of contexts, including governments, nonprofits and private industry, make him ideally suited to direct the IS program,” said Ramayya Krishnan, dean of the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy.
Mertz, a teaching professor in IS, was named the program’s interim director last July. He succeeds Randy Weinberg, who led the program for 18 years and retired in December 2018.
Mertz joined CMU in 1988 as a graduate research assistant in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy. He joined Heinz College and the School of Computer Science in 2002 as an associate teaching professor and joined the IS program in 2010.
Mertz’s teaching focuses on two threads: developing technical-professional leadership skills and using technology for sustainable development. Beginning in 1998, he developed and taught “Technology Consulting in the Community,” an experiential service-learning course that engaged students as technology consultants with local nonprofits. This course was adapted into the IS capstone class, “Information Systems Consulting Project.” These courses have engaged more than 500 students, helping more than 300 nonprofit organizations, schools and businesses in the Pittsburgh region.
Mertz also oversees the Technology Consulting in the Global Community summer program, which has sent more than 100 students to 14 developing countries to help government ministries and NGOs improve their strategic use of technology.