Lt. Gov. Fedele and UConn create energy faculty
Posted on 12/23/2008
By KARA O'CONNOR
STORRS -- The University of Connecticut and Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele recently teamed up to create a development faculty qualified to train a 21st Century energy workforce.
Gov. Jodi M. Rell invested $4 million in state funding for the initiative, establishing a public-private partnership entitled the Eminent Faculty program, which will be housed at UConn's Storrs Campus.
Mehdi Anwar, associate dean for research and graduate education at UConn and chairman of the Eminent Faculty program, said the faculty members in the program are a mix of fresh college graduates, with a master or Ph.D. relating to energy, people from the industry, laboratories and academia.
"The whole idea behind this program is to eventually create a qualified workforce pertaining to energy in the state of Connecticut," said Anwar. "Thankfully with this grant we are able to add faculty members that will research energy and eventually teach it to students."
The Eminent Faculty program is designed to promote economic development and help build the industry's future energy workforce. Anwar said the faculty members will focus on assembling a research team that will look at the spectrum of different cost-effective energy practices and educate students on their findings.
"We have to look at the energy curriculum we have and ask the question, 'Will it generate a qualified future workforce?," said Anwar. "This faculty will make sure the answer to that question is yes."
Fedele called Connecticut the energy capital of the United States, and said it is important to recognize and keep that title.
"The green industry is very important to this state," said Fedele. "It's a good thing we (Connecticut) are recognized as a leader in technology for the future. It brings benefits and more importantly it makes sense to have this energy faculty program."
The Eminent Faculty program is already underway. Four faculty members have already been recruited and have started their energy research, and more will start in January, said Anwar
"I think that having a university in the area is a great advantage to this program, this is a very important partnership," said Fedele. "I think other states will follow our lead once they see how successful this program is. It is definitely going to create a number of jobs dealing with energy in the future."