K.C. Ting takes leadership position with the International Campus of Zhejiang University

January 24, 2020

K.C. Ting, professor emeritus and former head of the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) at the University of Illinois has found a new home with Zhejiang University, China. Ting is a Professor and Vice Dean of the International Campus (IC@ZJU), where he began work in January of 2017.

Before taking his position at IC@ZJU, Ting’s career spanned more than 40 years and five universities in the U.S., including the University of Kentucky, University of Houston, Rutgers University, The Ohio State University, and Illinois. Ting served as department head/chair of the agricultural engineering departments at three universities and successfully shepherded the transition of all of these programs to include biological engineering. He was also instrumental in advancing the development of technical systems management programs at both Ohio State and Illinois.

During his tenure as department head of ABE at Illinois (2004-2016) the ABE undergraduate program was ranked by US News and World Report as one of the top three programs in the country seven times, including four consecutive years as the top program.

As part of his work at Illinois, Ting led a team to develop and provide engineering solutions for biomass feedstock production within the 10-year, $500 million Energy Biosciences Institute funded by BP. He also participated in proposal developments for the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss, and the USAID Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab Appropriate Scale Mechanization Consortium.

Ting’s international influence is seen in his leadership efforts in connecting U.S. institutions and colleagues with their counterparts in Europe, Taiwan, Japan, India, Israel, China, Brazil, and Africa. He hosted international visiting scholars and served on 19external review teams, chairing eight, to evaluate academic and research programs at the college and departmental levels in the U.S., Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Ireland, The Netherlands, and China.

Ting has received many awards and honors for his work, including Cook College, Rutgers University, Alpha Zeta Professor of the Year; two teaching achievement awards in China; and various Best Paper honors and Certificates of Appreciation. Ting is a past recipient of ASABE’s Kishida International Award and James R. and Karen A. Gilley Academic Leadership Award, and was named a Fellow in ASABE as well as the American Society of Mechanical Engineering. In 2019, he received a Life-time Achievement Award from the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, University of Kentucky. His other professional memberships include the American Society of Engineering Education and seven honorary societies.

As Vice Dean of IC@ZJU, Ting says the combined resources of Zhejiang University, its partners and stakeholders have made the new campus a living laboratory for international higher education (www.intl.zju.edu.cn). “It is a nurturing ground for its members to acquire intelligence for academic success in the global environment,” Ting says.

The new campus includes the ZJU-UIUC Institute. Cross-disciplinary research fields in the Institute include engineering sciences for devices and applied materials, information and data sciences, and energy, environment and sustainable systems sciences. Degree programs are offered in four fields –   mechanical, electrical, computer, and civil engineering.

The entire campus was built in approximately three years, and Ting says it was exciting to watch as 26 buildings with 400 thousand square meters of space were constructed on 80 hectares of land, including a central lake and a 15-arch bridge. “I watched the lake dug up scoop by scoop and the bridge constructed meter by meter.”

Ting says the new job is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity that allows him to take his long-term passion of ‘empowering human capacity with knowledge and wisdom’ to a new level.  

“The last three years at the International Campus have been a great journey for me,” Ting concludes, “and I look forward to continuing the Campus’s effort in pursuing excellence in all aspects of the institution.”

Ting and his wife, Shuchuang, recently gave a gift to the Engineering Visionary Scholarship (EVS) Initiative for a named fund: the Kuanchong and Shuchuang Ting ABE EVS. The EVS makes college more affordable for students and their families, and this fund will help attract the best and most diverse students to the field of agricultural and biological engineering.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to take part in the Grainger College of Engineering’s Engineering Visionary Scholarship (EVS) Initiative,” says Ting. “The multiplying and integrated effect allows our small contribution to create opportunities for aspiring and talented students to experience the first-rate Agricultural and Biological Engineering education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “