Education in Engineering Lecture
Eric Kaler, Case Western Reserve University
Host: Prof. Krishna Mahadevan
I will describe the outcomes of a US National Academies (NA) study I chaired called “New Directions for Chemical Engineering.” As described by the NA Press, it “details a vision to guide chemical engineering research, innovation, and education over the next few decades. This report calls for new investments in U.S. chemical engineering and the interdisciplinary, cross-sector collaborations necessary to advance the societal goals of transitioning to a low-carbon energy system, ensuring our production and use of food and water is sustainable, developing medical advances and engineering solutions to health equity, and manufacturing with less waste and pollution. The report also calls for changes in chemical engineering education to ensure the next generation of chemical engineers is more diverse and equipped with the skills necessary to address the challenges ahead.
Eric W. Kaler is the president of Case Western Reserve University. He joined Case Western Reserve in July 2021 from the University of Minnesota, where he served as university president for eight years. An accomplished chemical engineer and visionary university leader, Kaler’s career in higher education spans more than 40 years. He has significant expertise in elevating research, expanding fundraising, forming collaborative partnerships, encouraging entrepreneurship, and advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion.
Kaler studies surfactant and colloid science and engineering. His work on these ‘complex fluids’ has implications for many processes and products, ranging from pharmaceutical formulations to personal care products to enhancing oil-field production. He has published over 200 papers and holds 10 U.S. Patents and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (2010). He was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2014) for his leadership in engineering and in higher education. He was a member of the inaugural class of the National Academy of Inventors (2012). He also is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society.
Born in Vermont, Kaler is a first-generation college graduate who earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology and his PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota.