The University of Akron will house the nation's first baccalaureate program in corrosion engineering. The program is designed to train engineers to understand and manage the effects of corrosion, which cost the U.S. economy about $279 billion a year, according to a 2002 Federal Highway Administration report.
With a $500,000 contract from the U.S. Department of Defense and seed money from corporate sponsors, UA has established the corrosion engineering baccalaureate program.
Through its Medina County University Center (MCUC), UA also has partnered with the Corrosion Society of the National Society of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) International to develop an online version of NACE's Operator Qualification Course, which allows pipeline companies to train key personnel in more than 40 corrosion-related tasks.
"The university's establishment of a corrosion engineering program is driven by need. The demand for corrosion engineers and related qualified experts is immense given the fact that corrosion plays a critical role in the deterioration of our nation's infrastructure, [e.g.], highways, airports, water and energy delivery systems, power generation and waste treatment facilities," says Dr. George K. Haritos, dean of the UA College of Engineering. Haritos adds that industry studies show there is a 75 percent shortage of experts with corrosion-related skill sets.
According to Dr. Ed Evans, associate professor of chemical and bimolecular engineering and director of the corrosion engineering program, the curriculum was developed to meet industry employment needs by focusing on science and engineering fundamentals while using an apprentice model for learning experience in both the course sequence and cooperative education.
"Students will learn from their more-experienced colleagues, taking on steadily increasing project management responsibility each year. As a result, these future engineers will receive a rigorous education and training that will ready them to make an immediate impact as corrosion experts," says Evans, who points out that 81 percent of corrosion-related employers who responded to a recent National Association of Corrosion Engineering study reported that they would prefer to hire an engineer with an undergraduate degree in corrosion engineering.
Sue Louscher, project director for UA's Corrosion Engineering and Materials Performance Initiative, says the new degree program represents a culmination of planning and input from industries and agencies including the Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight for the Department of Defense, NACE International, the Material Technology Institute of the Chemical Process Industry Inc. and the American Society of Materials.
The program, approved June 18 by the University's Board of Trustees, will be housed within the College of Engineering's Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
Media contact: Laura Massie, 330-972-6476