Melissa Bilec named special assistant to provost for sustainability

Melissa Bilec, a professor in civil and environmental engineering and co-director of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, has taken on another role — special assistant to the provost for sustainability, effective Oct. 1. 

Melissa BilecProvost Ann Cudd said in an announcement that the appointment came out of the Sustainability Strategic Planning Process led by the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation.

“The aim of this process — which I supported in late 2021 — was to determine how to most effectively advance a broad academic and research sustainability program to the benefit of our Pitt faculty, students, and community,” Cudd said. “In her role, Melissa will guide the process, ensuring broad input and alignment across schools and programs.”

Cudd said that during the strategic planning process, they heard at all levels “unanimous endorsement that sustainability must be a key driver in our education and research mission and outcomes.”

Bilec has published 139 peer-reviewed articles and secured $12 million in funding, including 15 National Science Foundation grants. Her research focuses on how the built environment can be an integral part of climate change solutions.

Currently, Bilec is working to solve the global waste challenge through the advancement and development of circular economy principles, since the built environment is a major consumer of resources and producer of waste.

She co-leads her department’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access committee and is the co-faculty advisor for Pitt Society for Women Engineering. Bilec was awarded the School of Engineering Diversity Award in 2017-2018 and received the Senior Vice Chancellor for Engagement’s Partnerships of Distinction Award in 2019.