5 Questions for the New School Director

Last summer, Dr. Tim Kurzweg was appointed director of the School of Engineering. Previously, he was the vice provost for undergraduate education at Drexel University in Philadelphia. An expert in optical microsystems and alternative materials for electronics and antennas, he holds a doctorate and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as a bachelor’s degree from Penn State.

Engineering News talked with Kurzweg to learn more about his vision and goals for the school.

What do you see as the school’s greatest asset? There are many, but one that stands out is industry partnerships. Behrend has really figured out how to work with companies on collaborative research projects, which makes us unique. It’s a remarkable foundation that we can continue to build on. I also have to say that the people—faculty and staff members—at Behrend are among our greatest assets as well. It’s clear that they truly care about our students and want to help them be successful.

Why is faculty research important? Research brings in funding for equipment and student researchers. It provides experiential learning opportunities for students, as well as personal and professional fulfillment for our faculty members. Furthermore, research helps improve the school’s visibility and reputation.

What are your top three initiatives? First, to advance Industry 4.0, which is a term used to describe a new industrial revolution that marries advanced manufacturing techniques with the Internet of Things to create manufacturing systems that are not only interconnected, but that communicate, analyze, and use information to drive further intelligent action. Industry 4.0 covers many of our disciplines and plays to our unique strengths here at Behrend. Second, I want to explore polymer engineering science because we need to start thinking about the end of life for products before we even create them. We have all the ingredients to be a world leader in this field, including access to Lake Erie and researchers to collaborate with in our School of Science. Finally, I’d like to see us explore biomedical engineering because Erie has several major medical facilities to partner with.

What are your goals for the school? To maintain excellence, grow research, and leverage our unique strengths to provide more opportunities for our students and faculty members.

What would people be surprised to know about you? This is the first time in my life that I’ve ever had to commute to work by car. I always walked, biked, or relied on mass transportation in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.