I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished since September, 2008, when our program began. Our 5 year program (that includes 48 weeks of paid and full-time co-op experience) now houses more than 250 undergraduate students and we have graduate students engaged in our newly established PhD program in engineering. Since January of 2013, newly-built Institute Hall has housed our program and contains outstanding teaching and faculty labs that we are very proud of. We have a tremendously productive faculty who publish research in high impact journals in their areas of expertise. This significant research presence enriches student learning as it naturally makes its way into our classrooms and enhances our ability to excite and engage our students. The commitment to teaching is hard-coded in to our environment and culture here--I encourage you to peruse the RIT web site so you can see for yourself the tremendous support network for both student learning and teacher success.
Companies who hire even our youngest students for co-op comment on the excellent level of training received from our program, and this is in part due to the unique layout and implementation of our lab courses in chemical engineering. We have many industrial pieces of equipment resident in our teaching labs, the exact ones students will see if they work in an industrial setting. Note that our co-op program is used strategically to enhance student education. Placement in external companies helps students reinforce classroom learning, but also allows them to network with employers before they graduate. As a result, it is not uncommon for our students to obtain a job offer even before they begin their 5th and final year of training. Additionally, co-op may also be done on campus, working on research projects with professors in our program. Students taking this path often ultimately enroll in graduate school, and often have a few peer-reviewed publications with our faculty upon graduation. The point is that co-op allows our students to decide on a path to take after graduation based on experience.
I am perhaps most proud of the culture we have created in our department, which embodies the interactions typically encountered on an industrial team. This perspective is an outgrowth of my industrial training for 18 years prior to my joining RIT in January of 2007. We emphasize the importance of teamwork and value what each and every student, staff, and faculty member brings to the learning environment. Our goal is to instill in our students that their actions have impact both in what they produce as engineers and how they choose to live their lives in society--and that they can and will make a difference in the world upon graduation. I am proud of our faculty in that each of them is a role model who inspires our students to be the best engineers and people they can be.
I invite you to visit our Chemical Engineering department and see for yourself the unique environment and support we provide our students. I am very proud to be a Professor and Department Head at RIT!