As an outgrowth of the School of Engineering’s Strategic Plan, Dean of Engineering Amir Faghri officially announced that the departments of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering will be merged to form a new Department of Chemical, Materials & Biomolecular Engineering. The effective date of July 1, 2006 was selected to ensure proper planning and smooth transitioning, though implementation commenced on January 1, 2006.
Commenting on the merger, Dean Faghri said, “This strategic action takes advantage of the confluence of recent events, both internally and at the national level. Initiation and growth of a powerful and dynamic new department will advance the national and international prominence of two of our most important and valued programs that, because of their current small size in terms of both faculty and students, do not receive the university, national or international recognition they deserve. We will be able to recruit top faculty, drawn to UConn by the new department, and drawn to Connecticut by the emerging technological industries in the state. This merger also provides significantly better opportunities for faculty recruitment and retention, including much better startup packages enabled by cluster hiring.”
An important component of the merged department will be a new, joint offering in Biomolecular Engineering. It is expected that top students will be excited by, and attracted to, new and relevant emerging areas of science and technology. Furthermore, Dean Faghri said that the faculty teaching burden will be reduced through consolidation of courses and elimination of duplicate efforts. The distinctive identities of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering will be retained in two programs within the new department, including the existing undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
The merger of these two departments is expected to dramatically increase the size, quality and diversity of undergraduate and graduate programs, and also significantly increase research opportunities in energy, biotechnology, nanotechnology and materials-overlapping research foci of current faculty in both departments.