Welcome Message from Interim Dean Alexander Couzis
Dear Colleagues, Students, Alumni and Friends,
I am honored and humbled to have been appointed interim dean of The Grove School of Engineering at The City College of New York, during so perilous a moment in our city’s history. It was only 100 days ago that the world shifted beneath our feet. Our resilience will continue to be tested, and these new challenges will demand the best of us. Great obstacles lie ahead, yet I am confident that together, with the work of our faculty, staff, students, alumni, partners, and friends, we will persevere and reaffirm our shared mission and values.
I want to thank Dean Gilda Barabino for her thoughtful leadership, vision, and transparency. Under Dean Barabino’s leadership enrollment reached at an all-time high even as CCNY had been forced to make do with budget cuts. Despite these odds, The Grove School of Engineering improved retention and graduation rates, developed new and innovative programs, and moved up in rankings. As interim dean, my goal is to build on that momentum and use our collective talents to navigate through a new reality for engineering education in a post-COVID-19 world.
I joined the CCNY School of Engineering faculty in 1994. From 2008 to 2013 I served as the Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering. During that time, we accomplished great things at CCNY: we secured ABET accreditation, founded the CUNY Energy Institute, and completed a multi-million-dollar capital project that upgraded laboratory space for teaching and research. In 2013, I took a five-year hiatus from academia to help establish a clean energy start-up, Urban Electric Power (UEP), that spun-off from our research work at CCNY. As CEO and CTO of UEP, we secured over $20M in funding and grew from five engineers to a company of more than 30 with a 40,000 sq ft pilot manufacturing plant in Pearl River, NY.
Since returning as faculty in 2018, I have spent much of my time listening to students, colleagues, and alumni, to reacquaint myself with the college’s ongoing evolution, and to better understand their experiences, expectations, and hopes for the direction of the school. I’ve learned that it’s our shared desire to thrive, to build on this rich history, and develop an inclusive community of faculty and student scholars.
I look forward to working with each of you as we continue to navigate the many challenges with an unwavering spirit of practicality, innovation, and optimism. There will be challenges ahead, but our work at The Grove School of Engineering is now more critical than ever. I am inspired by this opportunity, and I hope you’ll share your thoughts insights and recommendations in the days to come.
Alexander Couzis, PhD
Interim Dean of The Grove School of Engineering
Alexander Couzis, PhD
Interim Dean, The Grove School of Engineering
Alexander Couzis, Professor of Chemical Engineering at The Grove School of Engineering at The City College of New York (CCNY), has been appointed interim dean of the school effective July 1, 2020.
Professor Couzis received his BS in chemical engineering from the National Technical University in Athens, Greece and received his MS and PhD degrees in chemical engineering from The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. Immediately after graduating, he joined International Paper in their research center with the division of Applied Polymer Science developing novel polymeric materials and coatings for gas and vapor barrier applications. In September 1994, Couzis joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at CCNY where he established an internationally recognized research program focused on the study of the dynamic phenomena at solid-liquid interfaces. He is the author of over 50 highly cited peer-reviewed publications, he holds six patents, and has mentored and co-mentored 19 PhD students. From 2008 to 2013 he served as chair of the chemical engineering department at CCNY. During this period, the department successfully achieved ABET accreditation, receiving the full six-year renewal; the CUNY Energy Institute was established and housed within the chemical engineering department; a number of newly hired professors joined the department and the institute; and the department support infrastructure was greatly enhanced. Additionally, a NYS funded capital improvement project was undertaken, upgrading 5,000 square feet of chemical engineering laboratory space for teaching and research.
In January 2013, Couzis took a special leave to take on the role of CTO of Urban Electric Power (UEP), where less than two years later in November 2014 he was also appointed CEO by the board of directors. UEP is a NY-based clean energy start-up company that spun off from research at CCNY. The company is commercializing advanced zinc anode rechargeable battery technology developed at the CUNY Energy Institute. During Couzis’ tenure at UEP, the start-up made up of just five engineers located in a 5,000 square foot facility in Harlem successfully ramped up pilot scale production, increasing staffing to over 30 and moving to a 40,000 square facility in Pearl River, NY, within the original Pfizer Industrial Campus. In January of 2018, Couzis returned to his duties at City College, as professor and researcher. He maintains an advisory role in UEP as the company continues on path towards commercialization. In September of 2019, Couzis, as a Co-PI, along with Professors Messinger, Biddinger, and Banerjee were awarded the NASA-MIRO grant of $3 million over three years.