JC Zhao Named Dean of University of Connecticut College of Engineering

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Ji-Cheng (JC) Zhao, chair of the Clark School’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), will be the next dean of the University of Connecticut’s College of Engineering. Zhao will begin his tenure at the University of Connecticut in August 2024.

“We are very proud to see a fellow Terp engineer embracing a new opportunity to lead by dedicating his career to a new community, growing the nation’s pipeline of talented engineers, and improving our profession,” said Clark School Dean Samuel Graham, Jr. “With JC’s leadership, our MSE department is among the most respected in the nation and I am confident, working in community with students, faculty, staff, alums, and supporters, he will lead the UConn College of Engineering to the same kind of success.”

During JC’s five-year tenure, MSE’s annual research expenditures grew to $18.3M (for about 20 TTK faculty). MSE’s undergraduate program was ranked #24 by U.S. News & World Report for the first time and its graduate program achieved its highest ranking in department history. He helped hire and mentor five new top-notch faculty. MSE faculty also garnered several high-visibility awards including two Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors; two Fellows of the Materials Research Society; two University of Maryland (UMD) Distinguished University Professors; and two UMD Distinguished Scholar-Teachers.

“It is sad for me to depart from the excellent MSE department at UMD with great colleagues and fascinating research as well as a collegial and highly supportive environment. It is also an exciting opportunity for me to serve as UConn’s Engineering Dean to leverage my combined experience in industry, government, and academia to make a broader impact,” Zhao said.

Zhao is a highly accomplished and widely-respected engineer. He is a pioneer in the development of accelerated methodologies for discovery and rapid screening for metals, and a renowned expert on computational design of materials. His work earned him the 2021 William Hume-Rothery Award from the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) and the 2023 J. Willard Gibbs Phase Equilibria Award from ASM International.

Zhao is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, ASM International, MRS, NAI, and TMS. In 2023, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and named a Clark Distinguished Chair. He holds 49 issued U.S. patents.

Published April 19, 2024