In Memoriam: Sandra A. Slaughter

Sandra A. Slaughter

Sandra A. Slaughter, a professor at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business who was world-renowned for her contributions to information technology research, died unexpectedly on Nov. 3.

Professor Slaughter, a department co-editor for the INFORMS journal Management Science, was due to receive the Information Systems Society’s Distinguished Fellow Award on Nov. 9 at the INFORMS Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

During her career, Professor Slaughter published more than 100 articles in leading research journals, conference proceedings and edited books. Her book on the software industry, “A Profile of the Software Industry: Emergence, Ascendance, Risks and Rewards,” was published earlier this year.

In addition to groundbreaking research and outstanding teaching, Professor Slaughter is remembered by colleagues and students for her generosity with her time, talent and resources.

Professor Steve Salbu, who helped recruit Professor Slaughter to Georgia Tech during his tenure as dean, says: “Sandy was a star in her field and an inspiration to all in her dedication to service and in her great generosity to her colleagues. She was loved by all at Scheller for her excellence and for her kindness. Sandy set the standard for collegiality and friendship toward which we all strive.”

Professor Slaughter, who joined Georgia Tech in 2007, held the Alton M. Costley chair and was a professor of information technology management at Scheller. During her years at Georgia Tech, she provided leadership in the development of the interdisciplinary one-year Master of Science in Analytics degree (serving as co-director), as well as Scheller’s Business Analytics Center.

According to Scheller Dean Maryam Alavi, Professor Slaughter “played an instrumental role in raising the profile of Scheller College’s Information Technology Management faculty group as well as our entire College of Business.”

Over the course of her career, Professor Slaughter’s work received nine best paper awards at major conferences and has been supported by more than $2 million in grants from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense and other organizations.

Chris Forman, professor of information technology management at Scheller, emphasizes the importance of Professor Slaughter’s academic contributions. “She was a leader in research fields such as software development, information systems outsourcing, and the human capital of IT professionals,” he explains. “Any Ph.D. course covering these topics would have a paper from Sandy in the syllabus.

“But this is only the tip of what made Sandy such a special person and influential voice in the community,” Forman adds. “She was an outstanding teacher and advisor to Ph.D. students – her students are at institutions across the country and around the world. She always found time to help others to learn at all levels – from undergraduate students, to master’s students, to Ph.D. students, to faculty.”

Voted the Georgia Power Professor of Excellence at Georgia Tech in 2013, Professor Slaughter was known for freeing up dollars from her endowed chair to bring educational opportunities to Scheller, provide internships to MBA students, and help Ph.D. students attend important conferences to advance their careers.

In addition to her work with Management Science, Professor Slaughter’s academic contributions included service as senior editor for Information Systems Research and Production and Operations Management, and as associate editor of Organization Science, MIS Quarterly, the Journal of the Association of Management Systems and the Journal of Database Management.

“Sandy was a great faculty member who excelled in all aspects of academia: research productivity, awards, grants, high-quality teaching, etc.,” says Eric Overby, associate professor of information technology management at Scheller. “But what distinguished Sandy – and why this is a such a terrible loss for so many – is that she was more than a great faculty member; she was a great colleague.

“Throughout her career, she devoted herself to others,” Overby adds. “She served tirelessly on numerous editorial boards, helping the rest of us improve and publish our research. She served on discipline-wide initiatives, helping to create structures that enable all of us to be more successful.”

Before joining Georgia Tech, Professor Slaughter was a member of the information technology faculty in the David A. Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, where she held the Xerox Research Chair. Prior to her academic career, Professor Slaughter spent 10 years working as an IT analyst and project leader in companies including Hewlett-Packard, the Allen-Bradley division of Rockwell International and Square D Corporation. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota.

Professor Slaughter is survived by her husband, Ron. Together they once held a Guinness World Record for the longest tandem bike ride, during which they toured many countries.

Source: Georgia Tech