Donna Rhodes

Senior Lecturer, Engineering Systems
Systems Engineering Advancement Research Initiative

Donna Rhodes is a senior lecturer in the Engineering Systems Division (ESD) and principal research scientist in SSRC. She is the director of MIT’s Systems Engineering Advancement Initiative (SEAri), a research group focused on advancing the theories, methods, and effective practice of systems engineering applied to complex sociotechnical systems. Prior to joining MIT in 2003, Dr. Rhodes held senior management positions in systems engineering and enterprise practices at IBM Federal Systems, Lockheed Martin, and Lucent Technologies.

Dr. Rhodes conducts research on innovative approaches and methods for the architecting and design of complex systems and enterprises, including predictive indicators of performance, empirical studies of engineering systems thinking and practice, and designing for uncertain futures. Her research is driven by the desire to more predicatively architect sociotechnical systems to address significant societal needs in a dynamic world. She is involved in research across multiple sectors including defense, aerospace, transportation, energy, and commercial products. 

Dr. Rhodes received her Ph.D. in systems science from the T.J. Watson School of Engineering at Binghamton University. She serves on industry and government advisory boards focused on advancing systems practice and education as well as on study panels for issues of national and international importance. She engages with government and industry leaders through collaborative research, consulting engagements, and executive courses. She has been very involved in the evolution of the systems engineering field, including the development of several university graduate programs. Dr. Rhodes is a past president and fellow of the International Council on Systems Engineering and a recipient of INCOSE’s Founders Award and several distinguished service awards. She serves on the INCOSE Systems Engineering editorial board.