Award-winning apparel professor fosters sustainable industry

Ting Chi

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.

Now, Chi, an associate professor in the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles at Washington State University, is garnering national recognition for his industry-changing efforts.

Chi was selected in February 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.

Nominated by a peer, Huantian Cao of the University of Delaware, and supported by association faculty members at five other universities, including WSU AMDT Chair Joan Ellis, Chi 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.

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

professor speaking with a student
An award-winning faculty member and student favorite, Ting Chi chats
with students at AMDT’s annual Internship and Career Fair.

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

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

Chi was proud to be selected. The mid-career award, he says, puts him in a stronger position to collaborate with peers, gain grants and publish in high quality journals.

“We’re very proud of Dr. Chi,” said Ellis. “This prestigious award shows the incredible work coming out of AMDT over the past few years. Dr. Chi is one of our top teachers in sustainability, global sourcing and the supply chain. His research has direct impacts on the sustainability efforts of the industry.”

Chi will be recognized at the ITAA Annual Meeting this November in St. Petersburg, Fla.