Dr. Burcu B. Keskin, professor of operations management in the Culverhouse College of Business, is the recipient of the 2023 Blackmon-Moody Outstanding Professor Award.
Keskin is also the Reese Phifer Fellow in Operation/Manufacturing Management. She is an established supply chain and applied optimization researcher. She specializes in integrated supply chain management and disruption of illicit supply chains.
Her groundbreaking research into illicit supply chain networks in wildlife trade and human trafficking has garnered national attention and assisted law enforcement.
The annual Blackmon-Moody Outstanding Professor Award goes to a faculty member judged to have made extraordinary research contributions. It is one of the most prestigious awards The University of Alabama bestows.
“Dr. Keskin has established herself as a renowned supply chain researcher and thought leader; and she has made exemplary teaching and service contributions,” wrote Dr. John Mittenthal, chair of the UA Department of Information Systems, Statistics, and Management Science in his nomination letter.
Keskin accepted the award Nov. 17 in a ceremony at the President’s Mansion with the Blackmon family in attendance.
Keskin’s research into integrated supply chain management focuses on the integration of inventory and capacity management, network design, transportation and sourcing with a common goal of quantifying the benefits of integration and ensuring the resiliency of supply chains against disruptions.
Most notably in this area, she worked with the now Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to identify hotspots for speeding and crashes to reduce violations and accidents. Also, her research on increasing fan attendance at the NCAA basketball tournament was highlighted nationally.
Since 2016, she has become more interested in reverse-engineering illicit supply chains for the purpose of interdiction and disruption to reduce or eliminate their effectiveness. In particular, she has been working to disrupt illicit wildlife trade and human or sex trafficking.
Both societal issues require interdisciplinary and multi-faceted solution approaches. Keskin showed the application of optimization research and analytics can be useful in understanding and disrupting illicit networks.
Among her professional awards is the 2022 “Prize for Teaching OR/MS Practice” from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. It recognized her as an inspirational and empowering instructor in her discipline.
Keskin joined UA in 2007 as an assistant professor, advancing to associate professor in 2013 and full professor in 2018. In 2016, she became the Reese Phifer Fellow in 2016.
She graduated in 2007 with a doctorate in industrial and systems engineering from Texas A&M University. Keskin earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial engineering from Boğaziçi University, Turkey, in 2001 and 2002, respectively.
The award was created by Frederick Moody Blackmon of Montgomery. It honors the memory of his grandmother, Sarah McCorkle Moody, of Tuscaloosa.