Textiles and Clothing

Jun 14, 2013 Debra Cheung

Mission

To develop and disseminate knowledge about the production, distribution and utilization of fibers, polymers and textile products. The strength and uniqueness of the program derive from an interdisciplinary perspective on commodity-relevant issues; we have a range of expertise from polymer science and textile technology to consumer psychology and cultural studies that allows us to take a systems approach to commodity-based problems. Furthermore, it should be noted that we are the only textiles program in the UC system - in the second largest fiber/textile/apparel producing state in the nation.

Faculty

We currently have six Senate faculty for a total of 3.5 I&R and 2.5 OR. Assuming retirement at age 65, two of the six Senate faculty will retire in the next six years.

Major Programmatic Thrusts of the Department

Overall, our program has built an international reputation on relating the qualities and properties of fibrous materials to their consumer and industrial end uses. Specific programmatic thrusts of the department include:

  • Functional textile products for health and safety. We have a strong record in developing protective clothing for hazardous occupations and are expanding our interests in household products that can reduce home hazards. Work in this area is consistent with campus support for health-related activities and college support for agriculture and human health.
  • Textile marketing systems and cultural diversity. We currently are engaged in both teaching and research efforts in the areas of international trade and cross-cultural consumer behavior. These efforts are relevant to the Hemispheric Initiative on the Americas.
  • Bio-based materials and macromolecular science. We have developed a number of projects in this area, which are consistent with national initiatives on becoming less dependent on fossil fuels and gases as well as campus and college concerns about environmental protection.
  • Sensory science. Faculty have developed improved physical testing systems as well as psychological measurements to relate fabric properties to consumer responses. Work in this area contributes to the campus initiative on Mind Sciences.

We anticipate a continued emphasis on each of these areas over the next 5-10 years.

Program Impact/Ranking

Indicators that our program is held in high regard by our peers are the numerous awards obtained by both individual faculty members and the faculty as a whole. For example, two faculty members have been honored as Fellows of the International Textile and Apparel Association for exceptional service to the association and significant contributions to the field. Another faculty member is a Fellow of the Textile Institute, conferred for original and substantial contributions to the field of textiles. Other major recognitions for individual faculty include selection as a Fiber Society Lecturer and the 20th Century Award for Achievement, International Biographical Centre, medalist. In addition, the faculty as a whole won the American Textile Manufacturers Institute Excellence in Teaching award in 1993.

Extramural Grants and Gifts

Extramural direct cost expenditures for 1998-99 are $279,936. Sources of funding include California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, California Dairy Research Foundation, National Science Foundation and Cotton, Inc.

Teaching Programs of the Department

The department offers undergraduate majors in textiles and clothing and fiber and polymer science. Enrollment in these two majors averages around 40 students. Annual student credit hours recorded for our faculty were 4,919 in 1997-98 and 3,049 in 1998-99. The textiles and clothing (TXC) major emphasizes the connections among:

  1. The physical characteristics of textile products.
  2. Human perceptions of and behavior toward these products.
  3. Global economic trends affecting the textile/apparel marketplace.

The fiber and polymer science major provides students with material science training specifically related to fibers and polymers.

In addition, we offer an M.S. in textiles; currently, there are seven students enrolled in this program. We have another 11 Ph.D. students in related programs such as agricultural and environmental chemistry, communications and the Individual Ph.D. Program.

Outreach/Extension Roles

All of the faculty participate in outreach activities related to their areas of expertise. This summer, our lecturer has been given a short-term assignment to expand our outreach efforts. However, for coordinated long-term outreach efforts, an Extension specialist is needed. To maximize use of resources, we propose a joint position with the Design Program.

Potential for Collaborative Links to Other Units to Develop Clusters of Excellence

There are a variety of areas that connect us to other units across the college and campus including: cotton fiber quality, biomass materials, functional textile products for health and safety, and consumer perceptions and behavior. We have also made formal commitments to participate in two new collaborative groups - The Agricultural Health and Safety Workgroup and the Product Development, Consumer Preferences and Marketing Initiative. In addition, our faculty are actively involved in the formation of the new Cultural Studies Graduate Group.

Positions Needed to Improve Research, Teaching and Extension goals

To maintain excellence and balance in our teaching and research programs, we would need to have:

  1. A position in functional product development for health and safety.
  2. A position in textile marketing systems for diverse consumer cultures.
  3. An additional position in macromolecular science would contribute to the campus strength in that area.

Priorities (No Growth Scenario)

If retirements occur as projected, the positions in functional apparel development and textile marketing would allow us to maintain a significant presence in the first two programmatic areas.

Priorities (Minimal Growth Scenario)

As noted previously, a position in bio-based materials and macromolecular science would link to college and campus initiatives on environmental protection and allow us to reinstitute our classes in textile processing and clothing materials science as well as expand teaching contributions in Environmental Toxicology.

Projected Resource Needs and Strategies for Achieving

As noted in our last two program reviews, areas in which we are lacking include computing facilities and chemical laboratory facilities. We continue to seek and obtain Instructional Use of Computer and Instructional Equipment Replacement funds to upgrade hardware and software but need additional support and space to provide our students with competitive training in this area. Critical needs in the chemical laboratories are for additional bench space, chemical fume hoods and chemical-free space for student consultations. Industry contacts have expressed willingness to provide resources to improve our facilities but need to be assured that the college and campus are equally committed to providing support.

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