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Mark R. McLellan chosen as new vice president of research and innovation

Mark R. McLellan, a 30-year leader of university research programs with experience at five major institutions, was selected to oversee research and innovation at UNT as it seeks to grow its research enterprise and cement its place among the nation’s top Tier One research universities.

McLellan, whose appointment is effective Sept. 16, will lead the university in developing and implementing new strategies in collaboration with the Office of the Provost and others to transform and expand UNT’s research portfolio. He also is charged with overseeing UNT’s Strategic Plan for Research and with advancing the university’s goal to become a recognized National Research University.

“Dr. McLellan’s leadership will be critical as our university solidifies our reputation as a Tier One research university, and I am grateful he has agreed to bring his extensive knowledge and expertise to this leadership role at UNT,” President Neal Smatresk says. “Dr. McLellan is a highly experienced leader in higher education and has extensive experience at major research institutions, and we have found him to be incredibly insightful and collaborative.

“This appointment comes at a critical time as UNT is not only seeking to grow our research portfolio but also provide better research experiences for all UNT faculty and students.”

McLellan replaces Narendra Dahotre, University Distinguished Research Professor in materials science and engineering at UNT, who has served as interim since February 2018. Dahotre also leads UNT’s Center for Agile and Adaptive Additive Manufacturing, which received $10 million in funding from the 86th Texas Legislature.

McLellan said he is excited for the challenges and opportunities of this new role at UNT.

“UNT has incredible research strengths – both in the STEM fields and also in the areas of social sciences, humanities and arts, and I was very impressed by the advances UNT has made in recent years. Clearly, UNT is poised to expand its research enterprise significantly in the coming years,” McLellan says. “I am excited to be given the opportunity to contribute to the university’s rise and will look for ways to help all faculty realize the potential to attract new resources to support their programs.

“There are numerous opportunities at UNT, and I look forward to what we are able to achieve at together.”

About Mark R. McLellan

McLellan, a 30-year veteran of university research leadership, comes to the University of North Texas from Portland State University, where he has served as vice president of research and graduate studies since August 2018. At Portland State, he oversaw research across nine colleges and schools, enrolling almost 30,000 students, including 6,000 graduate students. While there, he implemented several high-profile initiatives that resulted in a significant increase in external research grant funding.

Previously, McLellan served seven years as vice president for research and dean of the School of Graduate Studies at Utah State University, where he helped drive a major research expansion and achieve a record level of research funding, including a new infusion of state funding to support graduate students and graduate education.

Prior to his service at USU, McLellan was a tenured professor and department chair at Cornell University; director of a multi-college research center at Texas A&M University; and dean for research at the University of Florida, where he helped to more than double research funding.

McLellan chairs the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Science Advisory Board, which deals with complex issues such as the nation’s opioid epidemic. He also was selected in 2016 as the inaugural chair of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Science Advisory Council. 

In addition, McLellan is a distinguished and accomplished scientist with 46 peer journal publications and 10 book chapters as well as seven major technical reports for the federal government and five published software programs. His research has focused on fruit and vegetable process technologies, specializing in juice and liquid food process systems.

McLellan earned his bachelor’s degree in food science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and his master’s of science and Ph.D. in food science from Michigan State University.