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October 3, 2013
By Patrick Harris
After a long career in the mining industry, Charles Kocsis kicked off his teaching career last year under the Goldcorp Term Professorship, a $750,000 5-year term professorship to the University of Nevada, Reno's mining engineering program.
Goldcorp, a Canadian flagship mining company, has sponsored the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, a division of the College of Science at the University of Nevada, Reno, since 2004 with more than $1.3 million in support for other faculty positions. Their financial assistance has helped the College of Science meet student demand while helping to provide qualified mining engineers to the industry. In 2012, Goldcorp extended its donations to include the appointment of a professor, leading the University to seek out and hire Kocsis.
"We heavily recruited Charles. His expertise is what first attracted us and made him the top choice for Goldcorp's professorship," Jeff Thompson, dean of the College of Science, said. "He has proven himself to be a great addition to the faculty. The support from Goldcorp is tremendous, it allows us to make another connection with industry that will help build relevant workforce and make sure our students are well prepared to enter one of Nevada's important business sectors."
Chief Executive Officer of Goldcorp and alumni of the University, Charles Jeannes, came to campus to welcome Kocsis. Jeannes was impressed by the school and Kocsis' expertise.
During his first year, Kocsis taught a variety of mining engineering undergraduate and graduate level classes, conducted research and became a club adviser.
"Dr. Kocsis brings to the Mackay School a strong work ethic, great energy and an outstanding knowledge of mining, especially mining methods and underground mine ventilation," Russ Fields, director of the Mackay School, said. "I've received very positive feedback from students. Charles has also taken on the added responsibility of faculty advisor to the John Mackay Club, an important student organization in the Mackay School."
Kocsis earned his doctorate in mining engineering at the University of British Columbia and his license in professional engineering in Ontario, Canada. Following his education, he worked for 23 years in the mining industry, most recently at Canmet, a mining and mineral sciences laboratory. During his 13 years with Canmet, Kocsis began to specialize in mine ventilation.
"If you look at a human body, blood carries oxygen to the brain," Kocsis said. "A mine is like a body. It requires oxygen. Mine ventilation creates conditions for a clean and adequate work environment in the mines. It is of paramount importance.
Along with classes, Kocsis has been researching methods of moving air through the mines, particularly Ventilation-On-Demand. It uses sensors to see where workers and vehicles are moving throughout a mine and directing the necessary air to those areas while limiting airflow in unused areas. His design has the potential to cut electricity costs, decrease emissions, and increase worker productivity in underground mines. A working model is set up in the mine ventilation laboratory at the University.
Research is not Kocsis' only focus. He is impressed by his student's aptitude and willingness to learn, which is aided by his practical approach in teaching. With Kocsis' guidance, students are able to construct full ventilation designs by the end of their class.
"Working here has had immediate rewards," Kocsis said. "I want to generate professionals with lots of responsibility for what they do, and it's wonderful to see students become passionate and professional about their work."
Patrick Harris is a student writer for the Communications Office.