The University of Virginia today announced the appointment of Jennifer L. West as the 14th dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, effective July 1.
West is currently the Associate Dean for Ph.D. Education and the Fitzpatrick Family University Professor in Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science at the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University. West comes to UVA with a formidable record of accomplishment and experience as a transformational researcher, award-winning teacher and mentor, and inventor and entrepreneur, with 25 years of experience in engineering education and leadership.
She also will be the first woman to lead UVA Engineering in the school’s history.
West has been a member of the faculty at Duke for the past nine years and has served as associate dean for the past six. As associate dean, West oversees the graduate program, budget and staff supporting over 600 doctoral students. The Ph.D. program under her direction dramatically increased in size, while also creating innovative professional development programming.
West has won numerous awards for teaching, research and mentorship, and her students go on to become leaders in academia and industry. Throughout her career, West has worked to make her labs and programs welcoming and inclusive, and she is known for mentoring women and underrepresented students. She has served as primary investigator on two National Institutes of Health graduate training grants, a National Science Foundation graduate training grant and an NSF undergraduate training grant. She has also previously led a program to bring high school students from Texas’ Rio Grande Valley to the Rice campus each summer for three weeks of college preparatory experiences and engagement in research, with many of these students continuing on in STEM at Rice, even to a PhD in engineering.
In 2016, West received the Pratt School’s Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research, given to those who have “challenged and nurtured students and contributed to growing humanity’s knowledge.” She also received the Duke Graduate School Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring in 2019.
West received her Bachelor’s of Science in Chemical Engineering from MIT in 1992, and her Master’s and PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1994 and 1996. West will be joined in Charlottesville by her husband, Brian West, a software engineer at Xometry Inc. They will happily welcome visits from their son, Scott, who will be away at college most of the year.