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Changing Misconceptions about Engineering
Seeing the Big Picture
Talking Points
Taking Note
Making the Grade
Sharing Perspectives
Reaching Out
Staying in Touch
Changes in the Dean's Office Flying the Friendly Skies An ND First
New Titles and New Faces The Next Big Thing in Computers "Quilted" Circuits
Changing the Guard New ASME Fellow Top 25 Recognition
Instructor's Global Impact Inaugural Honor Professional Progress Award
Big Brother Biometrics Presidential Appointment Capturing Greenhouse Gases
New APS Fellow Magnetic Logic  

Changes in the Dean’s Office

James L. Merz, the Frank M. Freimann Professor of Electrical Engineering and former vice president for graduate studies and research and dean of the Graduate School, began his one-year term as interim dean of the College of Engineering on August 1. An internationally recognized scholar in the field of optoelectronic materials and devices and graduate of the University (B.S., Physics ’59), Merz returned to Notre Dame to direct a team of researchers investigating Quantum-dot Cellular Automata. He had previously served as professor of electrical engineering, professor of materials, and director of the Center for Quantized Electronic Structures at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Merz follows Frank P. Incropera, the H.C. and E.A. Brosey Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, who stepped down as dean of engineering in 2006 to return to teaching and research. An experienced administrator, Merz will continue the momentum that the College of Engineering has experienced over the last eight years under the direction of Incropera.

John J. Uhran, senior associate dean for academic programs, has retired after 40 years of distinguished service. Although his research interests focus on communication theory and systems, signal processing techniques, simulation techniques, and artificial intelligence, Uhran has maintained a special interest in engineering education and provided significant leadership in the development of undergraduate programs. Most recently, he served on the organizing committee of a workshop focused on the role of the first year in engineering education with Cathy Pieronek, assistant director of academic programs and director of the Women’s Engineering Program (WEP). Uhran has long been active in the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) serving as the Illinois-Indiana section chair, chair of the instrumentation division, and as a member of the board of directors. In June 2006 he began another term on the ASEE board.

In addition to her role as director of the WEP, Pieronek has been named the director of academic affairs and has assumed most of Uhran’s responsibilities, including those associated with student recruitment and counseling, interfaces with the offices of development, registrar, student services, admissions, and financial aid, as well as with the First Year of Studies. An alumna, Pieronek received a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University in 1984 and a law degree from Notre Dame in 1995. Prior to joining the College of Engineering in 2002, she served as director of Law School relations.

Ivan Favila, director of the Minority Engineering Program (MEP) has been named assistant director of academic affairs. He will continue to direct the MEP. Prior to joining the University in 2005, Favila served as assistant director of the Minority Engineering Recruitment and Retention Program and director of the Cooperative Engineering Education Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago.