Center for Information Systems Engineering and Management

Mission Statement

The mission of the Center for Information Systems Engineering and Management is to provide a conducive environment and facilities for interdisciplinary research in selected areas of information systems.


The Center for Information Systems Engineering and Management (ISEM) at Tennessee State University (TSU) contributes to the research base of the state in three areas: astro- physics/robotics, advanced control systems and system identification, and management information systems. Since 1986 the center has grown to four full-time researchers, three faculty associates, a systems analyst and a director. Over 60 students, both graduate and undergraduate, have significantly participated in center research projects. These students have come from the computer science, mathematics and engineering curricula.


The ISEM Center has distinguished itself in several ways. For example, the National Science Foundation awarded funds to build the first minority university research grade telescope to TSU in 1991. This telescope is located on Mt. Hopkins in Arizona and is remotely operated from the TSU campus.

Because of its success in obtaining high quality astrophysical data, the center has been named principal astronomer on five robotic telescopes (Vanderbilt/TSU 16-inch, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory 30-inch, Fairborn Observatory 10-inch, TSU 32-inch and a 20-inch Automatic Imaging Telescope) and currently controls more ro- botic telescopes than anyone else in the world. In the past, center astronomers have been privileged to use the Kitt Peak facilities and the International Ultraviolet Explorer satel- lite. Center astronomers were also awarded time on the Hubble Space Telescope. In 1995, the center competed for and was awarded a $6.5 million grant from NASA to establish the Center for Automated Space Science. The focal point will be the construction and operation of a 2-meter, automatic, spectroscopic telescope.

Major Programs

Astrophysics/Robotics Research - The Astrophysics/Robotics group investigates a wide range of magnetic phenomena in convective stars -- those with surfaces cooler than the Sun's. This research aims to understand which properties of these stars cause magnetism and how magnetism changes the star's outer atmosphere, rates of mass loss in stellar winds and luminosities. A second goal of the group is to pioneer automation in astronomy through the use of computer- controlled "robotic" telescopes and the use of the latest communications technology to reduce the cost of measuring properties of stars.
Monica Page, a student research assistant in the center, shown here with her advisor, Dr. Jiann-Shiun Lew, was named undergraduate Researcher of the Year (1994) by the National Science Foundation at their Conference on Diversity in the Scientific and Technological Workforce.
Advanced Control Systems and Systems Identification - Since the early 1980s, robust control has been at the forefront of advanced control system research. One of the three major approaches to this type of problem, the parametric approach, is the focus of our Advanced Control Systems group. This method is unique and has a promising future for application to real world systems. The software developed by the center research staff has been installed at NASA field installations and is currently being tested to identify potential applications to their satellite control problems. This group has published two books, Control of Uncertain Dynamic Systems and Robust Control: Parametric Approach, which have become popular as essential graduate level course resources in many schools.

Management Information Systems - Although still a fledgling effort, this research effort has already produced seven refereed publications in the area of group support systems and was cosponsor of the Eleventh Annual Office Research Conference in San Antonio, Texas. This group, which has received much assistance from the TSU College of Business, is expected to flourish as our other areas have.

Major Accomplishments

  • The center has generated millions in externally funded research.
  • Center-operated robotic telescopes have discovered over 100 new variable stars.
  • A center-operated robotic telescope observed the largest stellar flare ever seen.
  • The center has developed robotic telescopes capable of making the most precise measurements of stellar brightness. It has also developed robotic telescopes that can make observations at a tenth of the cost of traditional, manual methods.
  • The center has produced 251 publications, 182 in refereed journals. Additionally, center personnel have made 184 presentations at regional, national and international conferences and symposia. Four internationally recognized researchers have visited the center to collaborate and publish with center staff. Center staff serve as referees for a variety of prestigious journals and for important scientific organizations.


Over the past nine years, the ISEM Center has evolved to a level of maturity such that it significantly contributes to humanity's body of knowledge. The work and success of this center is the very essence and spirit of the original intent of the state's Centers of Excellence program. TSU anticipates that the center will continue along its path toward excel- lence by enhancing the research environment, producing scholarly work and providing a genuine research experience for graduate and undergraduate students.