Dr. Francis A. Méndez Mediavilla: Dean Paul R. Gowens Excellence Professor in Business Administration

The Dean Paul R. Gowens Excellence Professor in Business Administration is given to a faculty member who combines excellence in research, service, and student mentoring. Dr. Francis A. Méndez Mediavilla, a professor in the Department of Computer Information Systems and Quantitative Methods, has been on Texas State’s faculty since 2005. Dr. Méndez received his PhD in Management Science at Rutgers University.

Q: What are your goals and plans for the professorship? 
A: My goal is to use the resources provided by the professorship to support the research that I am doing as part of a multidisciplinary team, which includes faculty and students from McCoy College of Business and the Ingram School of Engineering. My goal also is to support students, who are specifically motivated to do undergraduate research, to participate in the research that I am currently exploring. I also plan to support my professional development activities in order to prepare to teach the new courses in our Master of Science in Data Analytics and Information Systems. 

Q: What do you think is most beneficial about the professorship? 
A: What I find most beneficial about the professorship are the resources that it makes available. The professorship can be used to encourage students who want to do research and to support professional development. Students benefit from the research experience by working together with professors who are working on innovative ideas. These professorships also allow professors to prepare and explore new paths in their discipline. 

Q: Can you give me some details about your research background?  
A: My research area is applied statistical methods. I have dedicated time to study areas of the statistics discipline called exploratory data analysis (EDA) and computational statistics. These areas are often referred to as data mining, data analytics, and data visualization. 

Q: How do you think the professorship will help you reach your research goals? 
A: I plan to use the professorship to support my main line of research as part of a team that studies human motion in the manufacturing environment. The study of motion is an important development to improve health and performance of the human body. Human physical intervention in manufacturing is still sizeable and important. My current research focuses on the statistical analysis of motion captured by optical-passive sensors attached to workers simulating manufacturing tasks. Working as part of a multidisciplinary team, we propose a framework for motion tracking, data collection, and analysis to extract information about the nature and quality of human motion. It introduces a proof of concept using motion capture (MoCap) technology to identify areas of improvement on a manufacturing line with the purpose of reducing musculoskeletal disorders, improving worker efficiency and process design, and identifying more effective training regimens. We have begun to implement this framework in an industrial engineering laboratory in Ingram Hall. This project also employs six or seven students at a time, who are in charge of collecting data. Another undergraduate student works with me on the development of code to process part of the data. Multiple graduate engineering students are developing their own thesis topics as variations around this common topic, which include but are not limited to extensions to robotics and virtual reality applications.