The University of Akron in Akron, Ohio, is giving its students the opportunity to build a strong foundation in the polymer industry as it becomes the first public university in the state to offer an undergraduate degree in polymer science and polymer engineering.
The Bachelor of Science in Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering program will begin in fall 2022 and will be ideal for students with interests in technical solutions to sustainability, materials science, processing, soft-matter physics and biomaterials, the university said in an April 8 news release.
Undergraduates in this new program will learn analytical techniques and design, UA said, and will have access to the 25 polymer research labs within the School of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering. Previously, the university offered polymer degrees only to its master's and doctoral students.
Students enrolled in the undergraduate program also will have access to advising, career services and tutoring, as well as participation in design teams, student organizations — like the Polymer Student Organization — and the university's Co-op and Placement Program.
The university also announced it selected Craig Menzemer, to be the dean of the College of Engineering and Polymer Science, effective April 1. The appointment is pending approval of the university's board of trustees, according to an April 11 news release. Menzemer has served as the college's interim dean since 2018.
"Menzemer's leadership in the College of Engineering and Polymer Science has been critical to the success of moving the college and university forward," said John Wiencek, executive vice president and provost. "The university's engineering and polymer programs have global reputations for groundbreaking research and innovative technology that have made the world a better place to live for all of us. We are grateful that [he] is continuing as dean of the college, especially with his wealth of experience that will benefit our students and future work force."
As dean, Menzemer is responsible for the day-to-day functions of the college, including curriculum development, student assessment, recruitment and budgeting. As its leader, he steered efforts to improve the infrastructure of the college and managed the reorganization of three colleges and an academic unit into the College of Engineering and Polymer Science. He also developed five-year bachelor's and master's programs and helped to develop and conceive the Timken Foundation Center for Precision Manufacturing on campus.