BROOKSTEIN AIMING TO RECHARGE PCTS

Byline: M.McN.

PHILADELPHIA--"I'm not here to be a caretaker, I'm here to be a change agent." That's the pledge of David Brookstein, the man charged with revitalizing the technical segment of the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science's School of Textiles and Materials Technology.
"This school was the preeminent technical textile institution in the U.S., but over the past 25 years has been surpassed by the Southern schools, such as Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech and North Carolina State," said Brookstein in an interview here last week. Brookstein, a textile engineer, joined the college as dean of the School of Textiles and Materials Technology on July 1. "The textile design, marketing and fashion apparel programs have kept this school in the forefront," Brookstein added. "Within five years, the technical area of our textiles and materials school will be a leader as well. If it's not, I'm sure the college won't want me around any longer."
Brookstein succeeds Cyril Furniss, who retired in the spring, after holding the post at the 110-year-old private college since 1988. Textiles and materials technology includes four specific areas; design, engineering, management and marketing and textile technology.
Among the items on Brookstein's master plan are:
Increasing the number of students in the textile and materials school, with special emphasis on recruiting more women for the technical program.
Expanding the textiles and materials graduate program.
Developing joint programs with textile research institutes and textile-related businesses.
Continuing to invest in updating the school's textile research and engineering equipment.
"We are planning on taking on new, dynamic professors," said Brookstein, noting that could go a long way toward persuading students who would otherwise go to the Southern schools to come to Philadelphia instead. He said that over the next two to four years the school plans on adding five to seven professors.
"As with every old institute that needs to be beefed up, we've had some inertia, but we are working to change that," said Brookstein. "Some of the talented professors here are coming upon retirement age, so we have to make sure we replace them with instructors that are just as talented. Still, I don't want to give the perception that we are floundering, because we're not," Brookstein added. "We need to continually upgrade, and the technical area is where we need to focus right now."
PCTS alumni in the textile and apparel industry include Allen Mebane, chairman, Unifi; Arthur Wiener, chairman, Galey & Lord; Allen E. Sirkin, chairman, Phillips-Van Heusen Apparel Group, and Cheryl Rosenfeld, corporate vice president, textile research and development, Liz Claiborne Inc.
Brookstein also said he is trying to develop ways to get more women interested in the technical area. Of the returning undergraduate enrollment of 1,605 at Philadelphia Textile, 1,044 are women. In the school of textile and materials technology, there are 508 students in all, split about equally between men and women.
However, Brookstein noted, "The design area is dominated by women, the technical area, by men. I want to balance that.
"One way to change that is to offer a top-flight program," he said. "The challenging aspect of that is that there are few women that are in the textile industry on the technical side."
As for expanding the textile and materials technology school's three-year-old graduate program, Brookstein said he'd like to be able to recruit graduates from the Southern textile schools.
"But there again, you need to be able to offer them something," Brookstein said. "Aligning ourselves with some outside research facilities would go a long way toward doing that."
Two such efforts are under way: one with Textile Research Institute at Princeton, N.J. (TRI is not affiliated with Princeton University), and the other with the National Textile Center, a research group comprised of the four Southern textile schools--Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech and North Carolina State.
"We also are looking at all the equipment, both new and old," Brookstein said, adding that the vast majority of research equipment is donated by textile companies. Milliken is a key corporate contributor.
"We have some new dobby looms, an extensive computer-aided design system and a print design system from Athena Corp. [a manufacturer of such software systems]. Still, we need to make sure we continue to get the best equipment available on which to train our students," said Brookstein.
"I'm here to bring this thing together and to build a long-term relationship with the college," said the 44-year-old Brookstein.
Brookstein's selection as dean was the culmination of a year-long, worldwide search in which almost 100 names surfaced as prospective deans, said James Gallagher, PCTS's president.
Brookstein comes to PCTS following a 14-year career at Albany International Research Co., a Mansfield, Mass., textile research firm.

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