Report an accessibility problem
Thursday 21 September 2023,

You are invited to an open forum with Thomas Sugar, candidate for the position of School Director, The Polytechnic School.  Sugar presents his vision and strategic planning approach for the school.

Vision Seminar and Discussion Session: Candidate for School Director, The Polytechnic School
Watch this free seminar via Adobe Connect

About the speaker

Thomas Sugar works in the areas of wearable robotics for rehabilitation and gait assistance as well as wearable systems to improve worker wellness. He has been a faculty member in the former departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Engineering Department at the Polytechnic Campus at Arizona State University. He is now a faculty member in the Engineering Program in The Polytechnic School, one of six schools in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. He majored in business and mechanical engineering for his Bachelor’s degrees and mechanical engineering for his Doctoral degree all from the University of Pennsylvania. ugar leads a research effort in wearable robotic systems. He is developing robotic orthoses and prostheses for rehabilitation and enhanced mobility. His research projects include SPARKy, Spring Ankle with Regenerative Kinetics, a powered prosthetic ankle, PAFO, a powered ankle foot orthosis, and wearable exoskeletons for enhanced gait performance. He is also developing exoskeleton systems that can improve the quality of work in industry. Sugar also has co-founded two companies: SpringActive, Inc. builds powered prosthetic ankles, orthoses, and exoskeletons; the Wearable Robotics Association will host a wearable robotics conference, WearRAcon, in Phoenix on an annual basis. In industry, he worked as a project engineer for W. L. Gore and Associates earning a Professional Engineering License.


Thomas Sugar will present a vision for The Polytechnic School, one of six schools in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering on December 13, 2018. He joined ASU in 1999 and moved to the Polytechnic campus in 2005 as one of the founding members of the Engineering program. His goal is to help faculty, staff, and students succeed in their mission at ASU Poly.

The Polytechnic School is a fundamentally unique education environment with a diverse offering of innovative programs spanning many disciplines within and beyond engineering. The Polytechnic School consists of seven very diverse programs, and within these programs, there are many more concentrations available. The programs include Aviation, Graphic Information Technology, Information Technology, and Technological Entrepreneurship and Management, which offer Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. The other three programs, Engineering, Environmental Resource Management, and Human Systems Engineering offer PhD programs as well.

An important emphasis of The Polytechnic School has been our active engagement with industry, and I will continue to advance the school by engaging industry to ensure that our students have access to hands-on projects and future career paths, as well as growing our research portfolio with industry.

A second goal will be to enhance our programs by linking with ASU across all engineering schools and campuses. For example, the new MS degree in Robotics and Autonomous Systems will link outstanding professors from four engineering schools at ASU. I will work with all of the programs at Poly to catalyze new, innovative programs.

An important goal is to ensure that ASU remains the leader in Manufacturing Engineering in the Southwest, and becomes prominent nationally and internationally. Specific initiatives include growing additive and subtractive manufacturing and positioning ourselves as leaders in the Industry 4.0 initiative, which links IOT (embedded systems), simulation, robotics, and Information Technology together.

As director of The Polytechnic School, I will focus on the unique academic areas and physical assets of the school. Our school and campus has expertise in the increasingly important nexus of energy, water, and food. Groups such as AzCATI, LightWorks, Microgrids, Solar Energy, Environmental and Resource Management, and the School of Agribusiness can join forces to design a next generation educational environment where faculty experts and students from many disciplines work together to develop the next generation campus, a campus that is off-the grid with sustainable water and energy resources. I will enable academic and industry relationships that will result in the Polytechnic Campus becoming a showpiece for the SmartCity developments that will be the future of Arizona.

There is much outdoor space on campus that can be leveraged for new projects such as large LightWorks projects and energy initiatives. There is a need for more indoor research space, especially as new faculty are hired and need infrastructure support. With this in mind, building the planned ASU Polytechnic Research Park and finding an anchor corporation to lead the effort will be a priority.

My goal will be to continue to support the collegial culture at Poly. I will continue to support our leading programs in engineering education and Human Systems Engineering. We are a unique place that can blend human-robot teaming with Human Systems Engineering forming centers like CHART (Center for Human, Artificial Intelligence, and Robot Teaming.)

Lastly, every school succeeds with the support of a talented staff for advising, human resources, outreach, finances, information technology, and research. We are a large school with about 17 undergraduate degree specialties and 13 graduate degree specialties. My goal will be to grow the resources at the Poly school.

I have had the privilege to serve the ASU community for over nineteen years and demonstrated my personal dedication to its development. I am strongly committed to its continuous success, and will promote the positive culture and environment at Poly.

Comments are closed.

  • Features

  • Follow us on Twitter

  • Fulton Engineering on Social Media

  • In the Loop

    In the Loop is an online news site for the faculty and staff of the Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU.