Biswal named associate dean for faculty development

Newly created position will lead the School of Engineering’s efforts in recruiting and developing faculty.

Lisa Biswal

Lisa Biswal, the William M. McCardell Professor in Chemical Engineering at Rice University, has been named associate dean for faculty development in the George R. Brown School of Engineering, a newly created position, effective June 15.

“The faculty is the university, and for us to achieve excellence as a school and as a university, we need to invest in faculty excellence. This is why I decided to create this new position,” said Luay Nakhleh, the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering.

Biswal, who leads the Soft Matter Engineering Laboratory, joined the Rice faculty in 2006. She holds a joint appointment in materials science and nanoengineering, and serves as associate chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

“Lisa is a leader in her research area,” Nakhleh said, “has extensive experience working with faculty members inside her department and out, and has the right personality and temperament for working with, mentoring and promoting faculty. I can’t think of a better person to hold this new position.”

The new associate dean will lead the school’s efforts in recruiting the most qualified faculty and overseeing their development. Her efforts will include all aspects of promotion and tenure, faculty mentoring and reviews, and orientations for new faculty. Emphasis will be put on promoting and systematically nominating faculty for prestigious awards.

“While the new associate dean will focus on tenured and tenure-track faculty,” Nakhleh said, “Renata Ramos, the associate dean for academic affairs, will continue to lead the same efforts for our teaching faculty.”

Biswal earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Stanford in in 2001 and 2004, respectively. Her research focuses on using chemical, biological and engineering approaches to study soft materials such as colloids, polymers, lipids and surfactants.

Specifically, her research group has made contributions in four major soft-matter areas: magnetically directed colloidal assemblies; multiphase fluid flow in porous media; biomimetic interfacial interactions; inorganic-organic composites for energy storage. One of her principal concerns has been developing new materials using magnetic colloidal particles and characterizing multiphase flows in microfluidic systems.

She received an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award in 2008 and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2009. Biswal is also the recipient of a Rice Graduate Student Association Faculty Teaching and Mentoring Award (2012), the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching (2015), the Rice Chemical Engineering Alumni Professional Progress Award (2017) and the Southwest Texas Section AICHE Best Applied Paper Award (2018). She was an ELATE (Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering) Fellow for 2019-20.