May 22, 2015

Partly sunny

New Akron U program gets its beginning at county site

Maria Kacik | The Gazette

AKRON — The University of Akron will offer the nation’s first courses in corrosion engineering starting in the fall, and Medina County will get to play a part.

The development of each course — which includes a bachelor’s degree and several qualification courses — was done largely at the Medina County University Center in Lafayette Township, said Sue Louscher, director of the University Center and soon-to-be project director for corrosion engineering and materials performance.

A four-year program will be offered at UA’s main campus through its College of Engineering’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. It will be designed to train engineers to understand and manage the effects of corrosion — a problem the Federal Highway Administration has said costs the U.S. economy about $279 billion annually.

In addition, the University Center and the National Association of Corrosion Engineers will develop an online version of NACE’s corrosion engineer operator qualification course. The program allows companies to train personnel in more than 40 corrosion-related tasks.

Louscher said the qualification course is in testing phases and the University Center will work on several other workforce certification products, such as online software, in corrosion engineering. She also said an associate’s degree in corrosion engineering may soon be developed and the University Center could play a role in that as well.

“The university’s establishment of a corrosion engineering program is driven by need. The demand for corrosion engineers and related qualified experts is immense given the fact that corrosion plays a critical role in the deterioration of our nation’s infrastructure,” George K. Haritos, dean of UA’s College of Engineering, said in a statement.

Ed Evans, director of the corrosion engineering program, said in a statement the bachelor’s curriculum was developed to meet industry employment needs and will place students in apprenticeships to learn the ropes of the industry.

“Students will learn from their more experienced colleagues, taking on steadily increasing project management responsibility each year,” he said.

Contact Maria Kacik at (330) 721-4049 or