Posted: August 23, 2010

Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering in Greensboro opens for first day of classes

(Nanowerk News) It's the first day of school at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering in Greensboro. That's not just for the new school year; it's the first day of school ever for one of the UNC system's most innovative educational initiatives.
With the opening of classes, the JSNN becomes one of fewer than 10 schools nationally to offer degree programs in nanotechnology, according to the National Nanotechnology Initiative. And it's the only one created and operated collaboratively by two universities. The school was created by North Carolina A&T State University and The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
The school opens with 18 students in two degree programs – 17 are in the doctoral program in nanoscience, and one is in the professional master's degree program in nanoscience.
That enrollment is remarkably strong, considering that the first degree programs were approved by the UNC Board of Governors only last January.
"The original projection was 10, due to the lack of time we had to market the program to prospective students," said Dr. James Ryan, dean of the school. "We're delighted and a little surprised at the popularity of the program."
Ryan credits much of the school's progress to the two "great collaborators" who lead the universities. They share Ryan's delight.
"The enrollment of the first cohort of students into the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering marks the fruition of a vision that was cast years ago," said UNCG Chancellor Linda P. Brady.
"The cutting-edge disciplines of nanoscience and nanoengineering combine the strengths of the two universities, and the training these students will receive at the Joint School will be in demand and spur economic development for years to come."
Dr. Harold L. Martin, Sr., chancellor of North Carolina A&T, also cited the singular opportunities the school represents for both students and the community.
"This unique school will provide our students with remarkable education and research experiences in the rapidly developing field of nanotechnology," Martin said.
"The Joint School enables our universities to enhance the competitiveness of our community and region, and we look forward to continuing to work with our local business and government leaders to realize the school's potential for a very real impact on our economy."
The JSNN is located at the South Campus of the Gateway University Research Park on East Lee Street near Interstate 40-85 in Greensboro. Gateway is also a joint venture between N.C. A&T and UNCG.
The school's $65 million building is under construction, with completion scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2011. Construction so far is on time and on budget, Ryan said. For now, classes are being held next door in the conference room of Gateway's USDA research building.
"The first year of the program for both degrees is intended to give students a view of the breadth of the subject," Ryan said. He noted that most work in nano-related fields exists in areas where traditional scientific and engineering fields converge, creating new disciplines like nanobioelectronics or nanobioengineering.
First semester courses include Mathematical Methods in Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, taught by an A&T faculty member, and Nanochemistry, taught by a UNCG faculty member.
The students also will take two lab rotations and a professional development course. The students will have a choice of labs, including two JSNN labs temporarily located in the USDA building and nano-oriented labs at both campuses.
Second-semester courses include Nanobiology and Nanophysics, two more lab rotations and another professional development course. With those first-year courses as a foundation, Ryan said, students will be prepared to focus on the specific fields of their choice in the subsequent three years of the Ph.D. program.
The doctoral program is designed to produce researchers for industry and academia. The professional master's program is for students who want to work on the business side of the nano field. It will include management courses taught at the two universities' schools of business as well as the first-year science courses.
In addition to the two nanoscience degrees, which are offered by UNCG, N.C. A&T will submit proposals to the UNC General Administration this fall to offer master's and doctoral programs in nanoengineering at the JSNN.
About North Carolina A&T
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is a public, high research activity, 1890 land-grant university committed to exemplary teaching and learning, scholarly and creative research, and effective engagement and public service. The University offers degrees at the baccalaureate, master's and doctoral levels and has a commitment to excellence in a comprehensive range of academic disciplines. Our unique legacy and educational philosophy provide students with a broad range of experiences that foster transformation and leadership for a dynamic and global society.
About UNCG
Founded in 1891, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is the largest public university in the Triad region with more than 18,000 students and an alumni base of more than 100,000 graduates. UNCG's mission is to redefine the public research university for the 21st century as an inclusive, collaborative and responsive institution making a difference in the lives of students and the communities it serves. In keeping with that mission, UNCG is a learner-centered, inclusive and innovative institution, providing the challenges, supportive environment and community engagement that fuel growth and elevate achievement in a complex and changing world.
Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering Timeline
  • October 2007 – Creation of JSNN is announced by North Carolina A&T State University and The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
  • July 2008 – Dr. James Ryan is selected as first dean of the JSNN.
  • November 2009 – Groundbreaking is held for the JSNN building at the South Campus of the Gateway University Research Park.
  • January 2010 – First JSNN degree programs are approved by the UNC Board of Governors: a Ph.D. in nanoscience and a professional Master's of Science in nanoscience, both of which will be awarded by UNCG.
  • August 2010 – First classes begin.
  • October 2010 (anticipated) – N.C. A&T submits proposals for doctoral and masters programs in nanoengineering to UNC General Administration.
  • 4th Quarter 2011 (scheduled) – Completion of the JSNN building.
  • Source: University of North Carolina