Ohio’s first master’s program in renewable energy to meet need for qualified workers

Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric D. Fingerhut has approved the state’s first master’s program in clean and renewable energy.

The University of Dayton (UD), Wright State University, Central State University and the Air Force Institute of Technology will collaborate to start the two-year program. Students can enroll in the program on a full-time or part-time basis starting January 2009.

“This is another example of the world-class collaborations in the Miami Valley that will move Ohio’s economy forward,” Fingerhut said. “Students will graduate from this master’s program with the leadership, management, research and technical skills needed to help grow one of the most critical industries of the 21st century – clean and renewable energy and advanced energy systems. The program has the potential to be a regional academic center of excellence where new ideas are incubated, developed, tested and refined.”

Besides developing more engineers, the partners say the program is designed to help address the need for stable, clean and economical energy sources. The program also is in line with the state of Ohio’s interest in research within Ohio’s Third Frontier Project and the University Clean Energy Alliance of Ohio. Furthermore, organizers hope graduates will start new businesses to create new Ohio jobs.

“It is important for Ohio companies working in fuel cells and other energy sources to have access to a qualified workforce,” said Scott Swartz, chief technology officer of NexTech Materials. “Having these students trained in Ohio makes it easier for these companies to recruit the best possible workforce.”

The program will operate within the University of Dayton’s mechanical and aerospace engineering department and Wright State University’s mechanical and materials engineering department. Students will receive a UD or a Wright State degree, depending where they enroll.

The Air Force Institute of Technology and Central State University also will offer classes and instructors but will not grant degrees.

Classes will focus on development of energy-reducing design techniques, renewable energy and manufacturing systems, and better forms of solar energy, fuel cells and biofuels.