How the College of Textiles is Enabling Future Leaders of the US Textiles Complex

Speaker: David Hinks
Presentation Title: How the College of Textiles is Enabling Future Leaders of the US Textiles Complex

Enabling the future success of its graduates is the single most important mission of a university. For those entering an industry – any industry – a key challenge is to help prepare students for a career environment that is so rapidly changing that no one can predict what it will look like in the mid- to long-term. In the case of textiles, rapid changes in consumer purchasing habits, demand for new differentiating technologies, improved environmental impact and reduced time to market, and revisions to government policies are driving changes in the industry.

These developments are providing new opportunities for adaptable graduates with strong technical education, high cultural competence, critical thinking skills and emotional intelligence, as well as a knowledge of, and appreciation for, the interplay of art and design with science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

New graduates at all levels can expect to see the course of their careers take more unexpected directions than in the past and they should be equipped to be as flexible as possible. Also, professionals without a formal textiles education are constantly entering the industry and these, too, need training. This is particularly relevant given the aging textiles workforce and the need for adequately prepared mid-career employees as well as new talent.

In the College of Textiles, in addition to serving the textiles, apparel and related industries by providing future leaders and engaging in research, we provide comprehensive professional education, product development and testing services via the Zeis Textiles Extension department. The professional education program has value to individuals without formal education in textiles, because in order to be successful in the industry they must learn the fundamentals of textiles. Companies have cited the multi-faceted support provided by the College as a key driver in their investment decisions in North Carolina and the US.

Discussed are approaches to enable the success of undergraduate and graduate students, as well as professionals entering the textiles industry without formal textiles training. Also discussed is the important role for strong industry-university partnerships. With strong cooperation, the entire US textiles industry can be enhanced and enriched for the betterment of society.

David Hinks
College of Textiles, North Carolina State University, 1020 Main Campus Drive,
Raleigh, NC 27695, USA