Chair's Welcome

August 2016

Laurence R Weatherley PhD Chair and Spahr Professor of Chemical Engineering

It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the website of Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Kansas. We are sure that you will find your experience here exciting and valuable. We are very proud of our track record of excellence in both teaching and research which is underpinned by the department’s outstanding faculty and teaching and research facilities. These support our department’s key areas of activity in Kinetics and Catalysis, Biofuels and Bioenergy, Bioengineering, Enhanced Oil Recovery and Reservoir Engineering, and Electrochemical Engineering.

We are also proud that our undergraduate programs in Chemical Engineering and Petroleum Engineering are ABET accredited and as such, a BS degree from KU will be recognized nationally and internationally. Graduates from both our degree programs continue to attract some of the highest starting salaries of all new graduates in the US and overseas. The demand for places in our two undergraduate programs continues to be very high. As I write this, our current undergraduate count amounts to over 600 which is the highest number anyone can remember. Over 30% of our undergraduate cohort are women.

This is an exciting time for Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Kansas!  Our discipline has been recognized for its importance to the local, regional and national economic interests of the US, and over the last several years we have seen completion of a major laboratory overhaul with new facilities for petroleum engineering, tissue engineering research, fuel cell research, catalysis, process intensification, and plasma etching, all areas in which you may discover undergraduate and graduate research opportunities.

Along with the other programs in the School of Engineering we are also major beneficiaries of the multi-million dollar Building on Excellence program which is providing new buildings, facilities and additional professors for our program. The first of these buildings known as M2SEC – The Measurement, Materials and Sustainable Environment Center was officially opened in October 2012 and houses some of the research in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine and much of our research into alternative fuels. The building is truly interdisciplinary, housing research groups from chemical and petroleum engineering, mechanical, civil and environmental, and aerospace who are working together in a number of teams.

Fall 2015 saw the opening of the new Engineering LEEP2 building. In addition to extensive new teaching and research facilities, C&PE has a new extensive teaching laboratory for chemical engineering unit operations. Towards the end of 2017 we look forward to the opening of the new Earth, Energy and Environmental Center building on the east side of Learned Hall. This a  multi-million dollar purpose built building to house new laboratories and faculty space for Petroleum Engineering teaching, and to extend the capability of our Tertiary Oil Recovery Program. The building will also house extensive new facilities for Geological Sciences.

We have been especially appreciative of the support we have received both from industry, from our advisory board and from our engineering alumni over many years.  This provides for many student scholarships, student prizes, new laboratories, endowed professorships and support for international activities. These have been made possible by contributions from companies such as Berexco, Conoco Philips, Exxon-Mobil, Koch Industries, Occidental, Devon Energy and from many generous private donors and alumni.

In fall 2016 we are delighted to welcome three new faculty. Dr Mark Shiflett joins us from DuPont as University Foundation Distinguished Professor in Chemical Engineering. In the Petroleum Engineering area we are also very pleased to welcome Dr Shahin Negahban who joins us from BP as the new Director of the Tertiary Oil Recovery Program and Associate Professor in Petroleum Engineering. Dr Masoud Dahaghi joins us from Occidental as Assistant Professor in Petroleum Engineering. The addition of these colleagues further strengthens our already strong faculty team, bringing a wealth of industry experience into our programs. We are also very pleased to welcome on to our staff team, LaToya Allison as our new student advising officer, and Zach Kessler as our new workshop and laboratory coordinator.

The last year has been an excellent one for many of our faculty and students with significant achievements by many students and colleagues which, to name but a few include the following:

Undergraduates, Annie Lynn and Kevin Tenny received Goldwater scholarships earlier this year. Michael Handley and Tomas W. Green who are also C&PE undergraduates were named KU Men of Merit 2016.

Distinguished Professor Bala Subramaniam was named an ACS-IEC Division Fellow and was admitted as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Dr Cory Berkland was named as the Solon E Summerfield Distinguished Professorship, and he was also admitted as a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.

Finally, if you are interested in seeing the department or would like further information, I would be delighted to hear from you by phone, fax or e-mail. If you want to set up a campus visit, please contact the KU Visitor Center at 785-864-3911 or our C&PE General Office at 785 864 4965.


Laurence R Weatherley PhD

Chair of Chemical and Petroleum Chemical Engineering
Albert P Learned Distinguished Professor
University of Kansas

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Upcoming Events and Deadlines

August 17th - 27th = HAWK WEEK

August 17th: New Graduate Student Orientation | RSVP

August 19th: Engineering Rock the Block | 2-4PM on the LEEP2 lawn

August 20th: Engineering Academic Welcome | 3-5PM | meet in LEEP2 Atrium 

August 21st: Fall classes begin and the Great American Eclipse 

[Eclipse details: There will be several local watch parties around Lawrence and the Metro area on Eclipse Day! Totality will occur between about 1:00 - 1:15]

Weekly Event(s): Mindfulness Time

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