Officials announce new SEAS dean

A University of Virginia professor will serve as the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s next dean, officials announced Friday.

John Lach, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and the engineering director of cross-cutting initiatives at UVA, will lead SEAS starting Aug. 15, almost a year after former SEAS Dean David Dolling departed the school. The hire concludes a monthslong dean search during which officials sought a candidate who could improve the school’s undergraduate gender balance, boost faculty retention and work with federal agencies to increase research grants.

“I am thrilled to join GW and the SEAS community,” Lach said in the release. “I look forward to working with students, faculty and staff to establish SEAS as a world-class engineering school that addresses the grand challenges of the mid-21st century by creating knowledge and educating leaders with a trans-disciplinary, impact-driven approach.”

During his tenure at UVA, Lach won an All-University Teaching Award and a School of Engineering and Applied Science Distinguished Faculty Award. Lach previously served as chair of UVA’s electrical and computer engineering department from 2012 to 2017.

Officials said in the release that Lach will also be recommended for a position as a tenured professor of electrical and computer engineering.

“John has an impressive track record not only as an educator and researcher but also as an academic leader, especially in collaborating with faculty across the sciences and other disciplines,” Provost Forrest Maltzman said in the release. “He will lead a school that is clearly on an excellent trajectory, and I look forward to watching its continual evolution.”

Maltzman also thanked SEAS Interim Dean Rumana Riffat for her service to the school this academic year. Riffat has served in the position since Dolling’s departure.

“Rumana really stepped up to the plate when asked to serve as interim dean,” Maltzman said in the release. “I have enjoyed partnering with her and really appreciate her leadership during this transition period. I also appreciate the work by the faculty, students, alumni and trustees who served as members of the search committee.”

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