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Office of the Provost

Ji-Cheng ‘JC’ Zhao Named Dean of UConn College of Engineering

Dear College of Engineering Faculty, Staff, and Students:

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Ji-Cheng ‘JC’ Zhao, Ph.D., as the next Dean of the College of Engineering at UConn, effective August 12, 2024. Dr. Zhao, a distinguished figure in the field of materials science and engineering, joins us from the University of Maryland, College Park, where he served as the Department Chair of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) and Clark Distinguished Chair Professor. Dr. Zhao’s dedication to innovation and education, along with his creativity and collaboration, make him the ideal candidate to lead our College of Engineering towards new heights of academic excellence and research innovation.

Dr. Zhao brings a wealth of experience from an illustrious career spanning academia, industry, and government. Prior to his tenure at the University of Maryland, he was a professor at The Ohio State University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering and also served as a Program Director at the U.S. Department of Energy’s ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy), managing $100M in projects to develop energy-efficient and green technologies. Before academia and government, Zhao was a Materials Scientist and project leader at GE Research Center for 12 years, inventing new materials and processes, predominately for gas turbines and jet engines.

His pioneering work in the design of advanced alloys and coatings, additive manufacturing, and high-throughput materials science methodologies, among other areas, has established him as a leader in the field, leading to the induction to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 2023. In addition to many materials innovations, he pioneered the development of a diffusion-multiple approach and co-developed several materials property microscopy tools for accelerated materials discovery and development. He holds 49 US patents covering a range of materials, processes, and systems.

Dr. Zhao’s research has been recognized with numerous awards, including the William Hume-Rothery Award from the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society and the J. Willard Gibbs Phase Equilibria Award from ASM International. Dr. Zhao is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), American Society for Metals (ASM), the Materials Research Society (MRS), and the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS). He served on the Subcommittee on the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI) of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) from 2014 to 2017, and on the Board of Trustees of ASM International from 2019 to 2022.

As department chair at Maryland, Dr. Zhao gained experience in managing complex budgets, leading cross-functional teams, building industry partnerships, and engaging in development work. Dr. Zhao holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Lehigh University, as well as M.S. and B.S. degrees in Materials Science and Engineering (Physical Metallurgy) from Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, China.

Dr. Zhao is dedicated to continuing to build on the College of Engineering’s strengths, expanding our research footprint, fostering transformative and impactful educational programs, and advancing the College’s relationships with local, national, and international partners.

“Even though I am sad to depart the excellent MSE Department at the University of Maryland, I am very excited to join the Husky Nation and to leverage my combined experience in industry, government and academia for the betterment of the UConn College of Engineering,” said Zhao.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Zhao to UConn and to his new role as Dean of the College of Engineering. We look forward to his leadership and vision in advancing the College’s mission.

Anne D’Alleva, PhD
Provost and Executive Vice President
University of Connecticut
Office of the Provost
352 Mansfield Road, U-1086
Storrs CT 06269-1086
Tel. 860-486-4037

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