Sue Louscher Executive Director, Strategic Partnerships and Government Programs College of Engineering The University of Akron Akron, OH, USA

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1 Introducing The Nation s First Bachelor of Science Degree in Corrosion Engineering and the National Center for Education and Research on Corrosion and Materials Performance Sue Louscher Executive Director, Strategic Partnerships and Government Programs College of Engineering The University of Akron Akron, OH, USA Abstract: By establishing a holistic program that incorporates workforce training, the nation's first baccalaureate degree in Corrosion Engineering, and world-class research in corrosion and materials performance; The University of Akron (UA) is establishing a program that will create a pipeline of critical resources that will ensure that future investments in equipment and infrastructure revitalization are designed and implemented in a manner that minimizes the impact of corrosion and thus reduces the life-cycle cost to sustain those assets. The UA program offers a multi-disciplinary approach to education, training and research that leverages the academic expertise that is housed across several colleges within UA. While emphasizing strong science and engineering principles, all of our courses, workshops and activities will also integrate a strong management component that will help our students develop a competency in management skills that are necessary for executing "real world" projects. Because of this unique program the Department of Defense has recently named the University of Akron its National Center for Education and Research on Corrosion and Materials Performance. Introduction In 2006 the University of Akron (UA) was approached by industry with the concept of developing and delivering the nation s first baccalaureate degree in corrosion engineering. As is typical of our institutional culture, we responded to that call with innovation and enthusiasm. What resulted was a holistic new program that encompasses a ground-breaking new degree, workforce certification and training products, outreach activities and world-class research and technology development projects. This paper will discuss the economic, national security and workforce drivers behind establishing the program as well as highlight the current status of the various elements of the program. National Economic Imperative In its 2002 report to the Federal Highway Administration titled Corrosion Costs and Preventive Strategies in the United States, CC Technologies, Inc. found that the direct costs of corrosion to the U.S. economy represents 3.2 percent of the U.S. GDP ($279 Billion), and the total costs to society can be twice that or greater - not to mention the costs of human health and national economic sustainability based on deteriorating infrastructure, equipment and

2 machinery 1. They concluded that corrosion has a major impact on the U.S. industrial complex and associated infrastructure as well as adverse impacts on industrial productivity, international competitiveness, and security. The report also concluded that each component of the infrastructure-such as highways, airports, water supply, waste treatment, energy supply, and power generation-represents a complex system requiring significant investment to maintain where the principle cause for deterioration is corrosion and that opportunities for savings through improved corrosion control are possible in every economic sector. National Security Mandate The Department of Defense (DoD), as a microcosm of the national economy, is another area where corrosion represents a significant drain on resources. Because the direct annual cost of corrosion for the department are estimated to be more than $20 billion, the Bob Stump Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 2003 required the Secretary of Defense to designate an official organization to be responsible for the prevention and mitigation of corrosion of military equipment and infrastructure. Thus, the DoD named the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics as its Corrosion Executive and formed the Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight to develop and oversee overarching, integrated and effective corrosion prevention and control program for both equipment and infrastructure. As further evidence of the importance of this issue, the FY 2007 Department of Defense Authorization Act directed the DoD to take additional steps to ensure that the nation will be prepared to confront the issue of corrosion into the future. The committee directs the Secretary of Defense, working through the Department of Defense Corrosion Executive and the Department of Defense Corrosion Policy and Oversight Office, to commission a study by the National Academy of Sciences to assess undergraduate corrosion education in engineering programs and develop recommendations for curricula that could enhance the corrosion-based skill and knowledge base of graduating engineers. In launching the above referenced study, the National Materials Advisory Board (NMAB) of the National Academies stated that an essential element in developing improved corrosion control and management practices throughout the national infrastructure is better education of the nation's engineers. They further noted that advances in durability, and the savings that accrue thereby, are more likely to be realized with an engineering workforce that is capable of understanding the fundamental principles of corrosion science and applying them using engineering techniques. In their final project assessment, the NMAB s Committee on Assessing Corrosion Education suggested that strategies for making technological advances and developing best practices in technology and management will depend on an engineering workforce that has a strong understanding of the physical and chemical bases for corrosion, as well as an engineering understanding of the issues of corrosion and corrosion abatement, including: 1 Corrosion Cost and Preventive Strategies in the United States (McLean, VA: Federal Highway Administration, Office of Infrastructure Research and Development, 2001), US Department of Transportation, FHWA-RD

3 understanding current design practices for corrosion control; utilizing methods for predicting materials life and performance; exploiting advanced technologies in the research, development and implementation of new, better corrosion resistant systems; and developing strategies for realizing the savings 2. The Gap in The Talent Pipeline In the USA, a variety of personnel handle the job of corrosion engineers. A recent industry survey conducted for The University of Akron by Eduventures, an educational market research firm, revealed that the vast majority of professionals who proclaim to be Corrosion Engineers have had formal academic training in one of the following sciences or engineering disciplines: chemistry, physics, coating science, and material science; and civil, mechanical, chemical, and electrical engineering. However, they also indicate that the majority of their corrosion-specific knowledge was gained through on the job training supplemented with short courses, and eventually the ability to understand the academics in the field enough to apply the fundamental knowledge to real-world problems. Thus, it is not surprising to learn that a similar survey of employers conducted by UA and NACE International found that 46% of respondents reported that the level of corrosion-related knowledge of recent engineering graduates is poor and that 81% of the respondents reported that they would have a preference for hiring an engineer with a BS in Corrosion Engineering. Therefore, the most compelling rationale for launching this program was that there was no corrosion engineering degree anywhere in the USA and demand for skilled engineers was going unsatisfied. The Degree The Corrosion Engineering degree begins with a broad background of courses in chemical engineering supplemented by courses from each of the other engineering departments. This will prepare you to address corrosion challenges from various perspectives and to work effectively on multidisciplinary teams. The corrosion core of the curriculum will include coursework, laboratory activities and co-op work assignments from many different sectors including protective coatings, oil and gas, and energy. The program is designed to: Be responsive to industry needs. Be filled with lab experiences in a new state-of-the-art facility. Allow students to get involved with corrosion engineering within weeks of starting their freshman year. Build toward a capstone design experience. 2 Committee on Assessing Corrosion Education, Assessment of Corrosion Education (Washington, DC: National Research Council of the National Academies, National Materials Advisory Board, 2009), 66, National Academies Press.

4 Allow participation in numerous student design teams that compete in regional, national and international student competitions. In each of the corrosion core and elective courses students will focus their studies at the intersection of engineering, science, and management with many offering a lab component in the new state-of-the-art facility depicted on the left facing page. Key elements of the corrosion core are: Tools for Corrosion Engineering Fundamentals of Aqueous Corrosion Aqueous Corrosion Prevention Fundamentals of Dry Corrosion Dry Corrosion Prevention Corrosion Management I Corrosion Management II Co-op Opportunities The College of Engineering at The University of Akron has found over the years a great deal of merit in the saying experience is the best teacher, and has incorporated practical work experience into its curriculum in the form of the Cooperative Education Program. The co-op program is an educational plan whereby a student, after completing the first five semesters of study, begins alternating a semester of paid employment in his/her major field of interest with a semester of classroom study, until reaching the senior level. The College of Engineering partners with over 1,000 employers and government agencies within Ohio and 25 other states. Although the decision to participate is optional to all undergraduate students, about 90 percent choose this path as the program is nearly 100 years old within the College of Engineering and highly supported as one of the greatest strengths of the undergraduate program. The National Center While the delivery of this new degree is indeed remarkable, the long-term viability of a world-class academic program depends upon the ability of an institution to attract and retain the best and the brightest students and faculty and this, quite simply, means developing strong graduate and research thrusts in the specific field. Likewise, the long-term viability of industry means the development of an educated workforce at all levels including workers who need only certification and training as opposed to, or in complement of, degrees. This is why we are so pleased that UA s strategic partnership with the Department of Defense Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight has not only supported the launch of our new degree, but has resulted in the establishment of the National Center for Education and Research on Corrosion and Materials Performance. There are several roles for UA that are formalized under this umbrella organization. First, is UA s role as one of six universities conducting research for the DoD as part of its pilot University Corrosion Collaboration. UA is pleased to join The Ohio State University, the

5 University of Virginia, the University of Southern Mississippi, the University of Hawaii and the United States Air Force Academy in this elite demonstration program. Second, is our role as a preferred training provider for the DoD on corrosion-related topics. Specifically, UA has been tasked with developing a series web-based training courses designed to meet the workforce training needs of the DoD on corrosion topics from infrastructure to weapon systems. Working with a team of internationally-recognized media-design firms, these courses integrate state-of-the-art gaming techniques to appeal to a new generation of distance learners. Although these courses will be developed to incorporate specific DoD case studies, it is important to note that these courses will be available to the public and will provide a sound introduction to engineering principles as well as a foundation from which UA could easily build industry-specific content modules. Third, is our role as a partner with the newly established Corrosion Independent Assessment Center at Corona (CIACC) for performing independent assessments on DoD projects and eventually housing a CIACC technical representative at UA. Finally, UA serves as a facilitator linking industry representatives to DoD project offices in an effort to ensure that technology solutions are introduced when and where they are needed in DoD acquisition projects. Conclusion The University of Akron is proud of this latest achievement in our long tradition of innovation and we look forward to continued partnership with both government and industry in addressing the challenges presented by corrosion and materials degradation.

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