U.Va. names new engineering school dean
Jennifer L. West was an associate dean at Duke University
The School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Virginia announced Friday the appointment of its first female dean, Jennifer L. West. She will start July 1.
A researcher, inventor and entrepreneur, West comes from Duke University, where she’s been associate dean of doctoral education for a little more than six years at the Pratt School of Engineering. She’s been the Fitzpatrick Family University Professor at the engineering school for nearly nine years, in the areas of biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering and materials science.
West previously was the first faculty member hired by Rice University to form its Department of Bioengineering. During her time at Rice, West helped develop curricula and hire faculty and played in integral role in the development of the university’s Bioscience Research Collaborative, a 477,000-square-foot facility where bioengineering faculty were co-located with key collaborative groups.
U.Va. cited West’s 25 years of experience in engineering education and leadership, noting her election to the National Academy of Engineering in 2016 and the National Academy of Inventors in 2017.
University Provost Liz Magill called West a “creative and bold leader,” saying West is “nationally recognized as a change-agent in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.”
West’s research is focused on “biomaterials, nanotechnology and tissue engineering, applying engineering approaches to studying biological problems and solving unmet medical needs,” according to the U.Va. announcement. She also holds 19 patents that have been licensed to eight different companies, including two bioscience startups, Focal Inc. and Nanospectra Biosciences Inc. — which West cofounded.
West is a 1992 graduate of MIT and earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.