Dean Dorland named Engineer of the Year


The Delaware Valley Engineers Week Council has named Dr. Dianne Dorland, dean of the College of Engineering at Rowan University, as the 2008 Engineer of the Year.

The Delaware Valley Engineers Week Council has named Dr. Dianne Dorland, dean of the College of Engineering at Rowan University, as the 2008 Engineer of the Year.

The Council, comprising engineers in various fields from throughout the Delaware Valley region, will recognize Dorland, of Harrison Township, N.J., at the Engineers Week Banquet to be held February 23 at Drexel University. The group also will honor her at a proclamation luncheon on February 15 at the Loews Hotel in Philadelphia, which will feature citations from the president of the United States, the governors of New Jersey and Pennsylvania and the mayor of Philadelphia.

Engineers Week is celebrated nationwide in February to honor engineering accomplishments, and the Delaware Valley Engineers Week Council offers numerous programs sponsored by engineering societies, government organizations, universities and corporations.

"I'm proud to have an educator recognized as the Delaware Valley Engineer of the Year," said Dorland, who as part of her award will head the Delaware Valley Engineers Week Council for the next year. "I think it emphasizes that engineering education is our future."

William Celenza, P.E. and D.E.E., chair of the Engineers Week Committee for the local section of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, nominated Dorland for the award, in part because of her impressive work with future engineers, he said.

Good for the engineering community

Noted Louis Picciano, P.E., a past president of the New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers, which co-nominated Dorland, said, “I think some of the initiatives as dean have been good for the engineering community, students in particular. There’s been such a push lately to keep engineering exciting for the students. It’s good to have a strong base of students who want to become engineers and stay in the profession, and Dianne is helping build that base.

A native of South Dakota, Dorland earned a B.S. and M.S. in chemical engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. She then worked for Union Carbide Corporation in South Charleston, W.Va., as a research and development engineer and for DuPont in Belle, W.Va., as a process engineer.

After receiving her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from West Virginia University, Dorland worked for the Department of Energy at Morgantown (W. Va.) Energy and Technology Center before moving into higher education at the University of Minnesota Duluth, where she joined the new Chemical Engineering Department. She was named chair of that department four years later.

In 2000, Dorland was named dean of Rowan University's College of Engineering, the newest engineering school in the Delaware Valley. The College and its four engineering programs (chemical, civil and environmental, electrical and computer, and mechanical engineering) offer a highly innovative, multidisciplinary, project-based learning environment and a unique Engineering Clinic sequence, starting students on hands-on projects as soon as they enter the program.

Widely recognized

Under Dorland's leadership, Rowan Engineering has been widely recognized for its undergraduate programs. The 2008 edition of U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges" ranks the College 16th among 172 peer institutions whose highest degree is a bachelor's or master's degree. The four engineering disciplines rank even higher, with Chemical 2nd, Civil & Environmental 11th, Electrical & Computer 8th, and Mechanical 9th.

Dorland represents Rowan on the New Jersey Consortium for Engineering Education, a group working to promote science, math, engineering, and technology education and to incorporate engineering curriculum standards in secondary education. Under her leadership, Rowan recently became the New Jersey State Affiliate for Project Lead the Way, a program to encourage high school students to pursue engineering and technology careers.

An author and active presenter, Dorland has published or presented on engineering and engineering education topics around the world.

Many accolades

Among her many accolades, she was featured in the 2006 book from the Extraordinary Women Engineers Project, "Changing Our World," with her work on mercury abatement in wastewater from the paper industry. She was elected to the Academy of Chemical Engineers at West Virginia University and received the Distinguished Alumni award from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Most recently, she was selected as the 2008 ConocoPhillips Lecturer in a series designed to celebrate and stimulate advances in chemical engineering education.

In 2003, she served as president of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, of which she has been a member for almost four decades. Dorland also is active in the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and was elected to the executive committee of the ASEE Engineering Deans Council in 2006.

She is a licensed professional engineer in the State of New Jersey and has held licenses in Minnesota and West Virginia.

She is the mother of two grown children (a son, G. Bradley Alsop, and a daughter, Decker Alsop) and the grandmother of one (G. Kingsley Alsop).