WPC Class Notes
Remembering K. Michael Goul
K. Michael Goul portrait

Professor K. Michael Goul — a passionate educator to thousands, a visionary researcher, and a mentor and friend to many — died of cancer March 19 at the age of 64.

Goul had been serving as the senior associate dean for faculty and research and as a professor of information systems at the W. P. Carey School. He was an affiliated faculty member for ASU’s Institute for Social Science Research and the Global Security Initiative, and also served on the Biodesign Institute’s internal advisory board.

Goul was recognized in 2016 with the Outstanding Leadership Award by the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Services Computing.

“He was one of the earliest thought leaders who foresaw the extent to which big data, the Internet of Things, and mobile platforms would transform the global economy,” says Raghu Santanam, Goul’s successor as chair of the Department of Information Systems. “His loss will be felt among his many colleagues and friends in the department, school, university, and the worldwide academic community for years.”

Goul began his 35-year career at ASU in 1985, and served as chair of the Department of Information Systems from 2009 to 2015. It was during his time as chair that he spearheaded the development of the Master of Science in Business Analytics program and administered the launch of the undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Business Data Analytics degree. ASU was one of the first schools in the country to offer a bachelor’s degree in business analytics, and recently received the honor of a No. 10 ranking in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Goul also administered the launch of the online version of the Master of Science in Information Systems Management (MS-ISM) program. Most recently, Goul created an open-access version of a computer information systems course, CIS 105, that enables anyone in the world to have access to quality education. Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School, says this course was a passion project for him: “He was always looking ahead, for the people he was close to and even for students who will never join us on campus.”

In January 2020, Goul was the recipient of the Hugh J. Watson Award for his achievements and service to Teradata Corp. and to the data and analytics academic community. This award was presented to him at the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences conference in Hawaii, a place that was near and dear to his heart.

He published more than 100 articles, authored cases, and conducted analytics research at companies including American Express, eBay, Intel, and Teradata. Most of all, Goul was a passionate teacher and mentor. He reveled in helping early-career scholars meet their research goals and could talk passionately and with insight on most any topic. Professor Benjamin Shao, interim associate dean for China programs and MS-ISM faculty director, says Goul was “the epitome of a great gentleman who always saw the strengths and merits of every person. He provided insights and guidance to junior faculty to help them advance in their careers.”

Goul was involved in more than 44 doctoral dissertations as a chair, co-chair, or committee member. He was recently nominated for the prestigious President’s Professor Award at ASU.

Born in Ontario, Oregon, he received a bachelor’s degree in business in 1978, an MBA in 1979, and a doctorate in computer science in 1985 from Oregon State University.

He married Sandra Horn in Mesa, Arizona, in 1999, and they had one daughter, Alexandrea, known as “Drea.” As a family, they enjoyed traveling, Broadway plays, and their two Cavalier King Charles spaniels, Blossom and Raina Ruby.

The W. P. Carey Department of Information Systems has created the K. Michael Goul Memorial Scholarship in Business Data Analytics to continue Goul’s legacy and support scholarships for undergraduate students in the business data analytics program.