Mustafa Bilgic Appointed as Department of Computer Science’s New Interim Chair



By Casey Moffitt
Mustafa Bilgic

Mustafa Bilgic, associate professor of computer science, has accepted the challenge to lead Illinois Institute of Technology’s Department of Computer Science as it accommodates a swift growth in enrollment as the department’s new interim chair.

Enrollment in the department totals more than 2,200 students for the 2023–24 academic year. More students are enrolled in computer science programs than in any other college on campus.

The explosion in enrollment brings challenges, as class sizes have increased, which puts a strain on faculty and staff as they teach and support a larger number of students.

“If you ask me which problem to have, not enough students or a large enrollment, I, of course, prefer to have the—quote unquote—problem of large enrollment,” Bilgic says. “But to serve our students better and to make the faculty and staff load manageable, we need to hire more faculty, staff, teaching assistants, and tutors.”

Bilgic says he has many—perhaps too many—goals for the department.

“If I had to narrow it down to two, I’d say my number one goal is to listen to all members of the department, faculty, staff, and students, and to figure out how I can help. My second goal is to hire more faculty and staff, and recruit more Ph.D. students to support our large enrollment.”

Bilgic joined the Illinois Tech faculty in 2010 after earning a Ph.D. in computer science from University of Maryland at College Park. He founded and currently directs the Machine Learning Laboratory at Illinois Tech, where he conducts research in the areas of machine learning, learning with rationales, interactive machine learning, and explainable artificial intelligence. His work has attracted funding from the National Institutes of Health, Samsung, and the National Science Foundation, including a prestigious NSF CAREER grant.

Bilgic played a lead role in developing the bachelor’s and master’s degrees in artificial intelligence, and served as program director for the Master of Artificial Intelligence.