Award-winning apparel prof fosters sustainable industry

By Seth Truscott, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

PULLMAN, Wash. – Whether it’s exploring ways to “upcycle” cotton waste into valuable fibers or promoting adoption of biodegradable plastic mulch for farmers, Ting Chi is leading the way to a sustainable future for the textile and apparel industry.

An associate professor in the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles (AMDT) at Washington State University, he recently was selected to receive the Mid-Career Excellence Award from the International Textile and Apparel Association, the main academic organization for textile and apparel faculty in higher education. He will be recognized in November at the group’s annual meeting.

He was honored for excellence in research and teaching, success in obtaining grants and productivity in publishing high quality peer-reviewed research papers and winning awards.

“Dr. Chi is one of our top teachers in sustainability, global sourcing and the supply chain,” said AMDT Chair Joan Ellis. “His research has direct impacts on the sustainability efforts of the industry.”

“A good researcher can be a good teacher,” Chi said. “What you learn in research should go into your teaching so students understand what’s happening at the forefront of your field.”

At WSU for nine years, Chi is part of more than $5 million in research projects on sustainable production and management in the textile, apparel and agriculture industries. He leads a three-year U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to build the textile and apparel industry’s future workforce.

Teaching classes including global sourcing, environmental and social issues and apparel merchandising analysis, he helps students master the sustainable practices that are changing the textile and apparel industries, from raw materials through production to the consumer.

He said the mid-career award puts him in a stronger position to collaborate with peers, gain grants and publish in high-quality journals.

“This prestigious award shows the incredible work coming out of AMDT over the past few years,” Ellis said.