Theodore  Sheskin Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Theodore Sheskin

Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering
Cleveland State University

Professor emeritus Theodore J. Sheskin is the author of a lovely book, Markov Chains and Decision Processes for Engineers and Managers, published by CRC Press in Nov. 2010. A Markov chain is a sequence of random events for which the conditional probability of a future event depends only on the present state of the sequence, and is independent of previous states. Markov models are powerful tools for analyzing the probabilistic behavior of production and service systems. Professor Sheskin is the


Professor Theodore J. Sheskin earned a B.S. in electrical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1962, an M.S. in electrical engineering from Syracuse University in 1965, and a Ph.D. in industrial engineering and operations research from Pennsylvania State University in 1974.  He liked the people at MIT. Students in his Baker House dorm and in labs were always collaborative. His lab partners contributed to his success in obtaining a BSEE. He also liked the people at Syracuse and Penn State. From 1962-64, he worked as a test equipment engineer for IBM in Poughkeepsie, NY. From 1965-68, he worked as a logic design engineer for Burroughs (now Unisys) Corp. in Paoli, PA. In 1968 he joined Digital Information Devices, a start-up company in Lionville, PA, as a systems engineer. When that company failed in 1971, he enrolled in a doctoral program in industrial engineering and operations research at Penn State University. He obtained  a PE license in 1972. At Penn State he earned membership in two honor societies: Phi Kappa Phi for general scholarship, and Alpha Pi Mu for industrial engineering, Upon graduating with a PhD in 1974, he was hired by Cleveland State University as an assistant professor of industrial engineering. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 1980, and to professor in 1988. Following 35 years on the Cleveland State faculty, he retired as a professor emeritus in 2009 after the industrial engineering department was absorbed by mechanical engineering. Professor Sheskin   was engaged in post-retirement teaching at Cleveland State through Dec. 2011.

Professor Sheskin’s primary teaching interests were operations research, engineering economy, and statistics. In 1986 the industrial engineering students named him the outstanding faculty member of the year. He generally taught 5 courses per academic year, including a 4 credit doctoral core course and a 3 credit master’s core course. He held graduate faculty status since 1974.

  In 1983, Professor Sheskin developed an elective course in microprocessors which he taught until 1987 when it was abolished because of low enrollment. In 1992 he initiated and taught for the next 7 years the only two university designated Writing Across the Curriculum  courses in industrial engineering. He also added engineering design projects to three of his undergraduate courses. When he taught an undergraduate course in probabilistic models, he distributed to the students copies of one of his papers published in 1995 in Mathematics Magazine because this paper contains a tutorial on Markov chains.

In 1980, Professor Sheskin served on an Ad Hoc Committee which developed a five year dual degree program in Engineering and Liberal Arts. In fall 1992 Professor Sheskin and an assistant professor visited the dean of engineering and technology at an area community college to propose a dual admission program in industrial  engineering between the community college and Cleveland State. With the encouragement of that dean they jointly wrote a proposal for such a dual admission program. In March 1995 a dual admission agreement was approved by both institutions. In December 2000 he proposed that the industrial engineering faculty establish a five year BSIE/MBA dual degree program jointly with the College of Business. This proposal was not implemented by the industrial engineering faculty because some faculty feared that it would draw students away from the engineering management track of the master’s degree program.

Professor Sheskin is the sole author of 22 papers published in peer reviewed journals, one additional journal paper, and 18 papers published in conference proceedings. NASA  awarded him 15 summer faculty research fellowships. His peer reviewed papers investigate the diverse areas of production engineering, reliability engineering, spacecraft engineering, mathematical algorithms, and coauthorship. The 11 journals in which his peer reviewed papers  appear are: AIIE Transactions, Computers and Industrial Engineering, Microelectronics and Reliability, IEEE Transactions on Reliability, Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, Operations Research, International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, Mathematics Magazine, Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets,  Science and Engineering Ethics, ant International Journal of Management Science and Engineering Management (forthcoming). In addition, the Journal of Information Ethics published his essay on coauthorship. In January 1985 he published a new Markov chain partitioning algorithm which was the first algorithm to use state reduction to find steady state distributions for  Markov chains.

Since 1997 Professor Sheskin has published over 100 letters to the editors of newspapers (including the New York Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland Jewish News, Crain’s Cleveland Business, Lakewood Sun Post, Ohio Academe, and Engineering Times) and magazines (including Business Week, Aviation Week & Space Technology, Chemical & Engineering News, Prism, Industrial Engineer, Technology Review, Academe, Syracuse University Magazine, and Phi Kappa Phi Forum) on a variety of issues. These issues include economic competitiveness, national security, Israel, education, science, space exploration, ethics, and the complementary relationship between licensure and professionalism.


    Professor Sheskin earned a BSEE from MIT in 1962, an MSEE from Syracuse University in 1965, and a Ph.D. in industrial engineering and operations research from Penn State University in 1974.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Professor Sheskin creates computational procedures which measure the performance of Markov chains. He also investigates elementary mathematical models in economics.

Personal Interests

    Professor Sheskin takes home delivery of the New York Times. He enjoys listening to classical music, reading mysteries, and walking. In June 2012, he was energized by the excitement and friendliness of MIT during his 50th reunion.


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