Rice Engineering names Grande-Allen associate dean for faculty development

In the leadership role, the Rice bioengeer will look to mentor faculty through promotion and award nominations.

Headshot of Jane Grande-Allen

Jane Grande-Allen, the Isabel C. Cameron Professor of Bioengineering, has been named associate dean for faculty development in the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University, effective Jan. 1, 2024.

“Faculty members aspire to build careers where they can train the next generation of engineers to develop new knowledge for the improvement of people’s lives. It can be challenging. Faculty, especially pre-tenure, may not know where to get such help or even how to ask for mentoring. Even established faculty have questions, such as how to be nominated for prestigious external awards,” Grande-Allen said.

In her new role, Grande-Allen expects to build a framework for new faculty to launch their careers at Rice, and to promote confidence in faculty of all ranks.

“I will focus on mentoring activities and opportunities for recognizing faculty achievements. My previous experience in leadership roles at Rice and in my professional societies should help me demystify certain processes for faculty, such as award nominations,” she said.

“This position is about ensuring that we hire and retain the best faculty, and that they are recognized for their excellence and are supported for a career of excellence. Jane is very qualified to lead our efforts in this area. I am grateful to her and look forward to working with her in this critical role,” said Luay Nakhleh, the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Engineering.

Grande-Allen’s appointment is part of Nakhleh’s effort to realign leadership in the dean’s office with Rice’s vision for growing the research enterprise and further the impact of faculty scholarship. The recent expansion of Rice’s Office of Research and the creation of its Office of Innovation provide schools across the university with centralized resources and support.

On July 1, Lisa Biswal, the William M. McCardell Professor in Chemical Engineering, was promoted to senior associate dean of the school, and Renata Ramos, teaching professor in bioengineering, was named senior associate dean of academic affairs.

Grande-Allen earned her Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of Washington in 1998, followed by two years as a postdoctoral fellow in biomedical engineering at the Cleveland Clinic. She joined the Rice faculty in 2003.

Her many research interests include development of mechanically complex biomaterials and bioreactors to investigate cardiovascular and intestinal mechanobiology, and for identifying disease-based and age-specific remodeling programs affecting the extracellular matrix and mechanics of heart valves.

Grande-Allen is former director of Rice’s Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering, and is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering; the Biomedical Engineering Society; the American Heart Association's Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology; the Society for Experimental Mechanics; the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering.

Grande-Allen has also been recognized at Rice for her teaching and mentoring. She is a recipient of the Brown Foundation Teaching Award (2006), the Presidential Mentoring Award (2009), the Excellence in Advising Award from the Office of Academic Advising (2010), the Faculty Teaching and Mentoring Award from the Graduate Student Association (2014), the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching (2014) by the Association of Rice Alumni, and the Teaching and Research Excellence Award (2016) from the engineering school.

She recently trained as a mentor training facilitator through the Center for the Improvement of Mentoring Experiences in Research at the University of Wisconsin.