National Academy of Engineering member joins UNT faculty

Monday, August 20, 2012 - 16:28

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Dr. Jim Williams, one of the world's leading authorities on titanium alloys and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, has joined the College of Engineering faculty at the University of North Texas.

"Dr. Williams is a world-renowned materials researcher and academician. His long experience and expertise will help the Department of Materials Science and Engineering reach its goals, mission and path to prominence in structural materials," said Dr. Narendra Dahotre, chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Williams came to UNT as a distinguished research professor with a part-time appointment in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering on July 1. Most recently Williams served on the faculty and previously as the Dean of Engineering at Ohio State University. He also served on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University for 13 years, including six years as the dean of the College of Engineering.

In addition to his extensive experience in academia, Williams also has had an impressive career in the aerospace industry. He has worked for Boeing, Rockwell and GE's aviation division. His work in the aviation industry is credited with improving safety, fuel efficiency and environmental impact. While at GE his team introduced several new materials and worked to decrease titanium defects in aeronautical turbine engines. No titanium-related catastrophic engine failures have occurred since this work was implemented.

"I enjoy interacting with the students, and, particularly in engineering, I think it is really important that the undergraduate students get exposed to people with industrial experience," said Williams. "One way to accomplish this is to expand our summer industry internship opportunities for our students. I hope to facilitate this expansion."

During his career, he has had more than 250 publications and has been involved in winning and conducting millions of dollars in research grants. Williams was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1987. Williams is the second National Academy of Engineering member to join UNT. Dr. Alan Needleman, also a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, joined the faculty as a visiting professor in 2007 and became a full-time member of the faculty in 2008.

At UNT Williams plans to help the department further strengthen its structural materials program by collaborating on research projects, participating in strategic planning and facilitating outreach with industry.

"Structural materials are important to high-quality manufactured goods in this country, yet many of the materials departments around the country have either abandoned or reduced their effort in that area," said Williams. "To revitalize America's manufacturing sector we are going to have to make high-value products. High-value products can't be competitive without high-quality and high performance materials."