Office of the Provost

Deanship of the College of Engineering

Nancy Allbritton selected as new dean of the College of Engineering

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Nancy Allbritton as the new Frank and Julie Jungers Endowed Dean of the UW College of Engineering. Her appointment, set to begin Nov. 1, 2019, is subject to approval by the UW Board of Regents.

Dr. Allbritton, Kenan Distinguished Professor, is a faculty member, researcher and chair of the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. She will replace Dean Michael Bragg who returned to the faculty this summer.

Dr. Allbritton has an impressive track record of taking research to market. She has co-founded four start-up companies and holds 43 issued and pending patents that have led to 15 commercial products. The University of North Carolina named Dr. Allbritton as Inventor of the Year in 2017.

Her research – which focuses on biomedical microdevices, pharmacoengineering, cell signaling and microfabricated systems – has been funded by more than $60 million in external grants since 2000. Drawing from the fields of Engineering, Chemistry, Physics and Materials Science, Dr. Allbritton’s research develops technologies and platforms for biomedical research and clinical care, including the study and analysis of single cells for the treatment of a variety of diseases such as cancer, macular degeneration and HIV.

One of her start-ups, Cell Microsystems, distributes its unique cell sorting platform world-wide and through an agreement with the biotech company Qiagen.

In 2009, Dr. Allbritton became chair and expanded and streamlined the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, a single unit that spans UNC and NC State and includes faculty from the School of Medicine at UNC, the College of Engineering at NC State, and the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC. Additionally, Allbritton has received excellence in teaching awards along with consistently outstanding student evaluations for her courses while guiding more than 60 undergraduate students, advising 42 graduate students, and training 33 postdoctoral fellows. Her trainees have gone on to successful, independent careers in academia, government, and industry.

She holds faculty appointments at the University of North Carolina in the departments of Chemistry, Pharmacology, Applied Physical Sciences, and a faculty appointment in Materials Science and Engineering at North Carolina State University. Dr. Allbritton joined the University of North Carolina in 2007 after 13 years on the faculty at the University of California, Irvine.

After earning her Ph.D. in Medical Physics/Medical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University. She holds a medical degree from Johns Hopkins University and her bachelor’s degree in Physics from Louisiana State University.

Dr. Allbritton’s unique qualifications came to our attention as the result of an international search to find a leader prepared to take the UW College of Engineering to the next level of academic excellence, interdisciplinary innovation and public service. We could not be more pleased that she is joining the UW team, and we look forward, in particular, to her leadership in bridging the engineering and health sciences disciplines. This is a big win for the UW.

In the past few years, under Dean Bragg’s leadership, the UW College of Engineering has introduced direct-to-college freshman admission to transform the student experience; raised over $420 million in private support for the college; completed three facilities projects; established the NanoSciences Institute; hired 80 faculty members; and secured state support to grow enrollment and expand facilities. President Ana Mari Cauce and I are confident that Dr. Allbritton will continue this momentum, while championing new opportunities for growth and distinction.

I would like to thank the search committee, chaired by Mario Barnes, Toni Rembe dean of the School of Law, and Suzanne Hawley, divisional dean of Natural Sciences in the College of Arts & Sciences, for its work in identifying several exceptional candidates. I also would like to express deep appreciation to Dean Bragg and Interim Dean Greg Miller for their contributions to the College of Engineering and the UW more broadly.


Mark A. Richards

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Professor, Earth and Space Sciences

Advisory Search Committee on the deanship of the College of Engineering

  • Mario Barnes, Toni Rembe dean and professor, School of Law, co-chair
  • Suzanne Hawley, divisional dean, Natural Sciences, and professor, Astronomy, College of Arts & Sciences, co-chair
  • Daniel Chiu, professor, Chemistry and Bioengineering, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Emily Cox Pahnke, associate professor, Management and Organization, Foster School of Business
  • Christine Gregoire, former governor of Washington
  • Richard Keil, director and professor, School of Oceanography, College of the Environment
  • Julie Kientz, associate professor, Human Centered Design & Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Judy Mahoney, associate dean, Advancement, College of Engineering
  • Jennifer Mankoff, professor, Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Kojay Pan, director of Finance & Administration, College of Engineering
  • Eve Riskin, associate dean for Diversity & Access and professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Steve Shen, member of College Council and professor, Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Todd Zarfos, chair, College of Engineering Visiting Committee; vice president, Washington State Design Centers, Boeing
  • Espen Scheuer, ASUW
  • Hawley Helmbrecht, GPSS

Charge letter

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for agreeing to serve on the search advisory committee to actively recruit and recommend candidates for the position of dean of the College of Engineering. This search may involve both internal and external candidates, and should be considered an international search.

Mario Barnes, Toni Rembe dean and professor, School of Law, and Suzanne Hawley, divisional dean of Natural Sciences, and professor of Astronomy, College of Arts & Sciences, will co-chair the committee. As you can see, the committee is composed of outstanding individuals from across the institution with a range of expertise, including of course engineering and the sciences.

We seek a distinguished academic and a visionary leader for the College of Engineering who will work well with the UW community, including other academic units, industrial partners, alumni, and donors to the College.

Enclosed is a copy of Executive Order 20 from the University Policy Directory, which sets forth the basic procedures for conducting a search for a dean. Also enclosed is a copy of a general job description for deans of central units. The University has a strong commitment to diversity, which I ask you to consider seriously as you recruit a pool of candidates. Please establish protocols for seeking the opinions and nominations from the broader UW faculty, student, and staff communities, as well as appropriate constituencies outside the University of Washington.

At the conclusion of the search, the president and I would like to receive from you the unranked names of two to three highly qualified candidates.

We have scheduled your first meeting for December 18, 2018, 10:30 a.m. to12:30 p.m. in Gerberding 301. Please try to attend. I will attend a portion of the meeting to discuss my priorities and expectations for the position and the search with you. At this meeting we will also seek your input on a draft position announcement. We intend to engage a professional search firm, hopefully by January, to assist you in this search.

Thank you very much for accepting this important assignment.


Mark A. Richards
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor, Earth and Space Sciences