The Polymer Science and Engineering Department (PSE) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) educates and pursues knowledge at the intersection of polymers and soft materials science, educating future leaders in these fields through highly impactful research and teaching. PSE builds from foundations in chemistry, physics, materials, and engineering in order to advance fundamental and applied discoveries, which enable new technologies and inspire strong collaborations with industry. We actively engage local, national, and global partners through outreach and collaboration. These partnerships bolster the economy, train a future generation of diverse scientists and engineers, and prepare leaders to address society’s grand challenges.
Success in this mission is critically enhanced by bringing together faculty, staff, students, postdocs, and visiting scholars from diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and cultures, creating an academic community in which mutual respect and integrity are valued. As such, PSE strives to cultivate an inclusive, safe, and welcoming atmosphere; supporting and participating in campus-wide diversity initiatives. We welcome everyone to join in our mission.
In pursuit of our mission, we uphold the following values:
Education & Teaching
PSE educates its students in the fundamental principles of polymer science and engineering, producing the next generation of skilled leaders and innovators. Our department fully supports all scholars by committing to an appreciation of differences in both academic and cultural backgrounds and continually evaluating teaching methods. As befits an interdisciplinary field, we pursue various strategies in both pedagogy and assessment. All conversations must be accessible, allowing each member of the community to obtain greater general knowledge and a stronger foundation for future learning.
Innovative, advanced research is at the core of PSE’s educational mission, with a focus on the synthesis, processing, characterization, and theoretical foundations of new materials that incorporate polymers in a crucial way. Interdisciplinary research that spans chemistry, engineering, materials, and physics places PSE at the forefront the field. The department strongly supports inter-group collaborations that further conceptual understanding and foster greater innovation. Notably, PSE seeks important impacts across fields in which polymers are closely connected, including nanotechnology, biomedical materials, alternative energy technologies, and sustainable materials.
Diversity and Inclusivity
We value an open and inclusive department and welcome all cultures, backgrounds, and demographics. We continuously assess departmental practices for fairness and effectiveness and are committed to redressing any inherent biases and cultivating a supportive environment.
Outreach and Mentoring
Facilitating a positive environment for learning, we endeavor to inspire and support a genuine curiosity and desire for discovery in all persons, including not only PSE members, but also the general public. Several department-supported outreach programs expose people of all ages to both the fundamentals and advanced research happening at PSE, providing a broad societal education about polymer science. PSE supports and encourages mentoring at all levels. The near-peer PSE mentoring program assists first year students in all aspects of transitioning into a rigorous graduate program, including academic, professional, and personal development. Additionally, the student-run PSE club organizes departmental events to strengthen relations within the community.
PSE bridges all STEM disciplines by promoting the productive exchange of ideas locally and globally to enhance and strengthen the polymer and soft materials communities.
PSE supports a safe and inviting environment for all who work in, or visit, the department. In pursuit of this goal, we promote laboratory safety as well as general safety practices and policies that prevent harm to individuals resulting from hate, bullying, or sexual harassment.
We acknowledge and respect differences in each other and provide a supportive environment in order to encourage each individual in open and healthy communication.
Honesty and Integrity
We require honesty from all faculty, staff, students, postdocs, and visiting scholars. As appropriate, each member of the PSE community is responsible for workplace, research, and academic integrity.