College of Engineering Announces Leadership Changes

Karen Hirst and Pam Gierczak named new assistant deans; Sohail Dianat appointed department head

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RIT Staff Council

Karen Hirst

The Kate Gleason College of Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology announced the appointment of long-time college staff to the dean’s leadership team. Karen Hirst and Pam Gierczak were each named assistant deans, and Sohail Dianat was appointed department head of the combined electrical and microelectronic engineering departments.

Hirst has been named assistant dean of student services. A Rochester resident, Hirst joined RIT in 2002 as senior staff assistant in the college’s Office of Student Services and served as student counselor and academic advisor. Additionally, Hirst was advisor for the college’s Engineering Exploration program and coordinated programs for the college’s component of the RIT Honors Program. In her new role, she will oversee both of these programs and facilitate engineering students’ study abroad.

Gierczak, who first came to RIT in 2001, was executive assistant to the dean of RIT’s Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences prior to joining the engineering college staff. As assistant dean for administrative services, she will work closely with departments within the college on faculty searches, policy administration, professional development and support during faculty tenure processes. The Irondequoit resident received her graduate degree in 2010 in service leadership and management from RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology.

Sohail Dianat, professor of electrical engineering, has been appointed the head of the Department of Electrical and Microelectronic Engineering. He served as interim leader this past year for the two departments that were combined in 2009.

Prior to his appointment as department head, Dianat, a Pittsford resident, served as director of the graduate program. In his 29 years at RIT, he has published over 50 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers, two textbooks and one reference book. He holds 12 patents in the area of image processing and control for printing applications.

Dianat has been selected as a finalist for the Eisenhart Teaching Award on two separate occasions. The award is one of the highest honors given to RIT faculty in recognition of excellence in teaching. Dianat is a Fellow of the International Society for Optical Engineering, a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and serves as an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Image Processing.