Department Chair's Letter

Department Chair

Karyn Biasca

Warm greetings from Stevens Point. The 2014-15 academic year was a whirlwind of activity for the Paper Science and Engineering Department. Here are the major events of the year.

The fall semester was exceptionally busy, with the 40th Anniversary Banquet for the Paper Science Foundation, our annual Paper Science and Engineering Career Fair, and a visit from ABET, the engineering accreditation body. The banquet was a wonderful event, complete with a video appearance by Mike Kocurek. The Career Fair brought more than twenty companies to campus for discussions and interviews with our students. We now encourage our first-year students to attend this event to give them an idea of what the future holds.

For the academic program, the ABET visit was the most important event of the year. Many of you are familiar with audits and credentialing organizations, such as those associated with ISO 9000 compliance. ABET performs a similar function for engineering academic programs. We hosted an evaluation team in October 2014. During their two days on campus, they visited with PS&E faculty, students and staff as well as numerous administrators across campus. The final statement from ABET showed no shortcomings for the Paper Science and Engineering program, a significant accomplishment in only our second formal review. We are clearly established as a quality engineering program, and are officially accredited through the 2020-21 academic year. The quality of our student body is consistently high, and the placement of our students in internships and entry-level positions remains close to 100%. The support of scholarships from the Paper Science Foundation is a significant factor in attracting these high ability students to UWSP

We do have some challenges ahead. The recent budget cuts will result in a loss of a faculty position in our department. The state funding for the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology (WIST) was eliminated, and we are doing what we can to attract grant funding to help WIST continue to support our top-notch laboratory facilities.

A very positive challenge is out there for us as well. Our request to offer a chemical engineering major at UWSP was recently approved by the UW System Board of Regents. This program will be officially implemented in January 2016, and we are already seeing significant student interest in this new program. This is an extremely exciting development; one that we anticipate will attract even more high ability students to our programs.

Thank you so very much for your support of our students and our programs.

Karyn Biasca
New PS & Department Chair