Eastman Chemical Co. in Kingsport (NET News Service file photo)
KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Engineering and Eastman Chemical Company have announced plans to provide for three new professor of practice positions, improve and renovate lab space and construct a new student lounge.
Taking all areas into account, Eastman's support for the college will total $2 million over a five-year period.
"This is a major commitment between Eastman and our college," said Wayne Davis, dean of the College of Engineering. "Eastman has already shown its willingness to help us improve the facilities and lives of our students and faculty with its funding of the new lab that is going into the Nathan W. Dougherty Engineering Building."
The impact will be felt in a number of areas of the college, with the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering; and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science all being helped in some form.
"Eastman's collaboration with UT's College of Engineering is an excellent example of a successful partnership between business and education," said Murray Deal, Eastman's vice president of talent development. "It's critical for us, as a company, to recruit top-tier talent and to have a university as strong as UT in our region is a real asset."
Some of Eastman's investment in UT has already begun to take shape, with renovations in Dougherty ongoing and hiring notices for professor of practice positions posted.
With Eastman having its global headquarters in East Tennessee and employing a large number of UT alumni, it's no surprise that the company wants to help grow its future workforce.
"Eastman is committed to securing the best and brightest engineering graduates from UT, and the entire region benefits from the economic impact of students graduating with advanced degrees and securing local jobs," said Etta Clark, Eastman's vice president for global public affairs and policy. "When we combine resources it helps both Eastman and UT, resulting in a win for both as well as the state of Tennessee."
Part of the plan is for students—both current and potential—to gain real-world engineering skills and understanding by developing relationships with Eastman employees.
This summer, for instance, students attending the Office of Diversity Programs' High School Introduction to Engineering Systems Camp at the college in July are sponsored by Eastman and will take a field trip to their facilities in Kingsport.
"You can teach skills to students in a classroom, but getting real-world experience is a real benefit," said Clark. "The relationship between Eastman and UT encourages collaboration and teamwork, which are critical skills sets. By developing a strong foundation we are enabling students to be successful in the workforce."comments powered by Disqus