A Message from the Dean

James Sherwood faculty bio head shot

Welcome to the Francis College of Engineering at UMass Lowell! The College has a proud heritage, spanning more than a century, for providing outstanding, practical and affordable engineering education and a growing portfolio of research and innovation. This heritage has evolved with the economy and industry of the area.

In the 19th century, the city of Lowell was the acknowledged cradle of the American Industrial Revolution, through its systematic harnessing of water-power for the textile industry. Throughout the 20th century, as the economy of the region has evolved and diversified – from textiles to minicomputers, telecommunications and information technology and more recently to biomedical and biopharmaceutical technology - the Francis College of Engineering at UMass Lowell, formerly the Lowell Technological Institute and the Lowell Textile Institute, has been intimately involved through its training of engineers and entrepreneurs and its close partnerships with local industry. 

Today, Lowell is again positioned as the cradle for the New Economy. This is no better exemplified by the recent opening of the Mark and Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center (ETIC) which houses cutting-edge research programs in nanomedicine, nanomanufacturing, plastics and elastomers, clean-room technologies, and biomaterials development. Specifically, the facility has a dedicated floor to nanotechnology through the Kennedy Nanotechnology Research and Development Center, including the Center of Excellence for Nanomanufacturing funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for High-Rate Manufacturing funded by the National Science Foundation. The ETIC also houses the Technovel Compounding Laboratory and the Ward Biomedical Materials Development Laboratory. The College also boasts expertise in Wind Technology. 

In addition to the vast research and innovation activity, the College remains dedicated to providing a hands-on, real-world education for its students in our Departments of Chemical, Civil and Environmental, Electrical and Computer, Mechanical and Plastics Engineering and Engineering Technology. Classroom instruction is bolstered by industrial co-ops and internships, research opportunities, and a National Science Foundation-funded initiative for Service-Learning. Here, students are exposed to projects that “make a difference,” including projects in Assistive Technology, where engineering students assist handicapped or disadvantaged individuals through applications of innovative problem-solving; Sustainable Infrastructure and Development, where engineering and nursing students assist with providing infrastructure and public health needs in developing foreign locations; or other needs originating from the community. 

We invite you to explore our College. We have a lot to offer! 

James Sherwood, Ph.D., Dean