Welcome From the Dean
Greetings and welcome to our newly redesigned web site. Our college faculty, contract professionals and staff, now numbering seventy four, remain dedicated to maintaining the highest quality of research and teaching to our student body.
I am proud to share some of the significant benchmarks that allow our college to claim world class prominence in polymers and biomaterials. Examples include:
- 2,170 alumni world wide
- 318 current graduate students (Fall 2012)
- 300,000 sq ft. of research space
- Collaborations with nine Chinese universities yielding ~ 100 3+2 students
- Establishment of the National Polymer Innovation Center for industrial collaboration
- Faculty research expenditures exceeding $15 Million in 2012
However, we are still working hard to push the College to the next level for a bright future in polymers and advanced materials. The College will be enhanced to become a global force in interdisciplinary research. We will strive to provide high impact technological advancements and research discoveries that will have worldwide implications and benefit humankind. We will continue to bring together researchers in the physical sciences, the life sciences and engineering and will explore new opportunities in the humanities and the arts. We will continue to maintain and develop high-quality research and research support facilities and services to enhance the work environment. In addition, we will engage the local, national, and international broader communities through sustainable educational outreach.
Based on The University of Akron's strategic plan "Vision 2020" and the strategic plan of the College, four clusters will be formed:
- Biomaterials and Medicine including bio-molecular design, cell and tissue engineering, biological intelligence, personal medicine, bio-detectors and sensors. The combination of the CBMM of ABIA with the college's cluster leads to a critical driving force to achieve the success of this cluster;
- Renewable energy materials including development of functional materials utilized in fuel cells, photovoltaics, batteries, capacitors, and CO2 capture. We are organizing a Center of Renewable Energy Materials supported by government agencies and industry;
- Environmental materials including air and water filtration, green polymers, bio-mass and bio-degradable materials, coating, soft hybrids, and structural materials (including aerospace, building, anti-earth-quake materials). The funding provided by industrial partners has supported seed research projects to initiate a research center that combines all the strengths we have;
- Communication materials including microelectronic, optical materials and devices on the nano- and micro-length scales, specifically in flexible devices and sensors. A new center in this area will be critically important for the next generation of high technologies in the US. In particular, novel nano-processing technologies are on the horizon.
The success of the College requires the distinction of its programs from programs elsewhere in the nation. In particular, over 100 years the polymer program at UA has gradually evolved from a focus on rubber to a broader purview of both elastomeric and plastic materials. What is next? Our continued efforts will focus on:
- Educating graduate students who will become the foundation and leadership of development efforts in the next generation;
- Growing our funding streams and securing additional funding from both government agencies and the private sector;
- Attracting and retaining world-class faculty members to have a faculty with an optimal distribution of academic experience;
- Establishing and sustaining world-first-class, state-of-the-art facilities including equipment and space;
- Making Ohio and the College “the place to be” for leading-edge, interdisciplinary research with national and international prestige;
- Establishing new routes from research to commercialization. These will be novel and efficient pathways to transfer technological inventions and developments to industrial production to generate significant impact.
After over 100 years of developing our academic programs and 25 years of establishing this unique College, it exists to showcase our academic excellence and act as flagship for the academic and research activities of the University. Advancement of the College will have significant impact, speeding up interdisciplinary advanced studies in polymers and advanced materials and bringing our research activities to the highest level.
I hope you will take the time to browse our college site and witness firsthand the ongoing commitment we have to continued academic excellence. Our support of our university’s 10 year strategic plan – Vision 2020, is evident throughout.
Stephen Z. Cheng, Dean