New renewable energy chair and Emergent Technologies Institute director named

FGCU’s newest leader, John Woolschlager, will have a lot on his plate starting Aug. 7 when his duties as the university’s newest Backe Chair in Renewable Energy, Director of the Emergent Technologies Institute and Director of Engineering Graduate programs begin.
“I am very pleased to have been able to recruit such an outstanding faculty member and administrator,” Whitaker College of Engineering Dean Richard Behr said in a press release. “I believe that Woolschlager has the experience and skills needed to create successful research and graduate programs within the new Emergent Technologies Institute.”
The current and inaugural Backe Chair in Renewable Energy, Joseph Simmons, is retiring. Along with his leadership roles, coming this fall, Woolschlager will also begin as a professor of environmental engineering.
Before being appointed at FGCU, he served as the Director of the Center for Sustainability at St. Louis University. During his time there, the center doubled its number of active fulltime students, created academic programs, added faculty positions and funded research. He had also previously been appointed at Arizona State University and the University of North Florida and received his doctorate in environmental engineering from Northwestern University.
Woolschlager will help continue the development of the ETI, a new 25,000 square foot facility that emphasizes renewable energy and environmental sustainability, as the Backe Chair in Renewable Energy. He will also be responsible for science and business programs, developing new graduate engineering programs, enhancing research funding for the Whitaker College of Engineering as well as attracting industry partners in different emergent technologies.
“I feel very strongly that with the new Emergent Technologies Institute, FGCU is well positioned to make significant advances in sustainable energy, environmental sustainability research and graduate education programs,” Woolschlager said in a press release. “I am grateful for the opportunity to lead these important initiatives.”