Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022

Dear UNT Faculty and Staff,

After serving 41 years in the academy, Mark McLellan, UNT's vice president for research and innovation, has announced his plans to retire this summer, effective June 3, 2022. In doing so, Mark caps more than four decades of passion and excellence in the research discipline of food science and his more recent focus on university research administration.

Mark started his academic career as a faculty member at Cornell University, where he became department chair and director of Cornell's Institute of Food Science. During his 18 years at Cornell, he oversaw many projects, including constructing the Cornell Vinification and Brewing Laboratory. He moved to Texas A&M University, where he served 6 years as director of the Food Science and Engineering Institute. While at Texas A&M, Mark was responsible for constructing the Electron Beam Research Center and its designation as a national research center. Moving to the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agriculture Systems (IFAS), he became Dean for Research, responsible for all faculty research appointments in IFAS. During Mark's 6 years at Florida, he grew agricultural research from $50M annually to more than $115M. After his service in Florida, he became the vice president for research and dean for graduate studies at Utah State University. He served 7 years, helping to expand their research and diversify their programs. One of his hallmark programs was bringing TEDx to USU to showcase active researchers among the faculty and students. He served one year as vice president of research at Portland State University before moving to UNT in 2019.

Upon moving to UNT, Mark created a broad training initiative helping faculty develop their grantsmanship skills. He established the successful Grant Manager Program and the Washington DC Faculty Fellows program at UNT. As a passionate promoter of the value of faculty research, Mark oversaw in this, his last year, one of the most significant expansions of research success at UNT with awards climbing by 25%, NRUF qualified research expenditures increasing by 20%, and outgoing proposals increasing in value by 17%. Mark became the principal investigator with the state allocation of the COVID-19 response funds known as HEERF to UNT. His office was responsible for executing the grants and managing the $171M in funds distributed to UNT student support and university COVID-19 response programs.

Mark also designed and implemented a restructure of the UNT research administration. The reorganization streamlined contracting services, upgraded pre- and post-award services, and rebuilt compliance services to ensure a smooth review of human subjects research and animal research. More recently, he guided the transfer of institutional bio-safety to the research office and collaborated with UNTHSC to acquire a new safety software system to significantly expand our capabilities for safety incidents management in the future. Working with his counterparts at the other UNT campuses, he is in the process of implementing the new Huron Research Administration system software that will position UNT with a major upgrade to all research administration software systems. Mark implemented the annual disclosure process for international collaborations and worked with international programs to implement a joint approval process for visiting scholars.

His research development team continues to innovate. This January, UNT's Division of Research and Innovation is adding a new unique monthly program called "Research on Tap," where top researchers are invited to give after-hours TED talk-like presentations in cooperation with a local brewery establishment. And in a new take on "speed dating," this spring is our first introduction of new faculty hires to research administration using a round-robin speed dating process that helps new faculty get to know the various offices and responsibilities of research administration.

Mark is an ardent supporter of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and a member of their Council of Research. In service to the organization, he was a regular contributor to their annual training team for new associate vice presidents of research from across the country.

In his discipline of food science, he was named a fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists, a 28,000-member society, and became president of the society in 2002. He is an ardent supporter of the World Food Prize, where he served in various leadership roles in support of the foundation's selection of laureates for the Noble-like award. For more than a decade, Mark served first as a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Science Board and as chairman of the board for three years. For many years, he was an NGO representative to the United Nation's International Atomic Energy Agency, where he spoke on food safety and opportunities for food irradiation.

Mark and his wife, Julie, plan to stay locally in the Denton area for the foreseeable future. I wish Mark well in his next adventures.

UNT Proud,
Neal Smatresk
UNT President