Samueli School Separates ChEMS into Two New Departments

Julie Schoenung and Vasan VenugopalanSept. 27, 2018 - The UC Irvine Samueli School of Engineering has reorganized the Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science (ChEMS) into two new departments, effective July 1, 2018: Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering (CBE) and Department of Materials Science & Engineering (MSE).

One initiative of the Samueli School’s 2025 Strategic Plan was to examine the reorganization of ChEMS to bring the school into better alignment with its peers nationwide and to provide heightened visibility for the faculty’s innovative research accomplishments in these two distinct disciplines. The ChEMS faculty debated the merits of the reorganization prior to initiating and submitting the proposal, which was subsequently supported by the school, the Academic Senate and the provost/executive vice chancellor.

“This is a significant accomplishment for the school and it will allow these departments and their faculty to fully achieve their potential,” said Samueli School Dean Gregory Washington.

Professor and former ChEMS department chair Vasan Venugopalan added, “The formation of the CBE and MSE departments will provide focused leadership and advocacy for these separate engineering disciplines. This will better position the school to develop a full spectrum of research and educational activities and collaborations to impact important areas, including advanced manufacturing, sustainable energy, world-class materials characterization, and biotechnology and healthcare.”

A transition committee is in place and the transfer is expected to take about a year to complete. Venugopalan will serve as the inaugural department chair for CBE, and Professor Julie Schoenung will serve as the inaugural department chair for MSE.

“I am excited and honored to be part of the leadership team for this important endeavor,” said Schoenung. “The faculty in both departments are energized, motivated and committed to enhancing the educational programs, research activities and worldwide recognition of the Samueli School of Engineering at UCI.”

– Lori Brandt

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