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Dietrich named engineering associate dean

Deanna  Dietrich

Deanna Dietrich (large image)

Dean Paul Peercy has named Deanna Dietrich as Associate Dean for Research and Policy Administration for the College of Engineering. Dietrich will continue to assist faculty and staff with administrative issues related to their research programs, and her duties will be expanded to include additional management and policy development activities.

In her new position, Dietrich will administer contract and intellectual property management, act as agency and industry liaison, and monitor legislative and industrial trends. She serves as liaison to the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and the UW-Madison Federal Initiative Advisory Committee. She will also supervise the college's Research and Sponsored Programs Office where proposals are processed and submitted to agencies. This office also receives research funds and tracks how research money is spent.

Sixty-nine percent of the college's research funds come from the federal government. Eighteen percent of funds come from business, industry, UW Foundation and others. Each research award has its own issues and contract. Dietrich assists in negotiating those agreements, particularly in the area of intellectual property. During the 2002 fiscal year, WARF recorded 116 disclosures from College of Engineering faculty and staff. This number has been rising steadily, up from 35 annual disclosures six years ago. Dietrich says intellectual property regarding federal awards is fairly straightforward but agreements with industrial sponsors can become complex.

"For example, in the case of a center sponsored by multiple companies, we have to figure out how the intellectual property will be accessed in a way that's acceptable to all of them," Dietrich says. "Of course we also have to be sure to protect the intellectual property of our researchers to ensure that they can continue to explore their own areas of interest."

The growth of patent disclosures and faculty and staff involved in spin-off companies, prompted the college to review its policies regarding conflict of interest and use of university facilities. Dietrich will continue to develop these policies and serve as a liaison to UW-Madison's Conflict of Interest Committee.

Dietrich joined the college as Assistant Dean for Research in 1997. She was raised in Eau Claire but born at University Hospital in Madison as her father, Richard Clarkowski (BS, '64), earned his civil engineering degree. With her office just blocks away from the place of her birth, her running joke is "look how far I've come in my life." The humor belies her hard work, dedication and a set of influences and experience that seem perfectly tailored for her position.

Dietrich studied for a semester in Vienna while earning a history degree from Carleton College in 1984. She then earned a degree in civil and environmental engineering from UW-Madison in 1987. Dietrich applied her engineering talent working for RMT, Inc., an environmental and engineering firm in Madison. She attended law school while working and transitioned to the RMT's contracting department. By the time she earned her law degree (1994), RMT had formed a law department and Dietrich took a position as associate general counsel.

"While working as an attorney for the firm, two of our employees invented a soil remediation technology with an inventor from UW and two inventors from the Army," Dietrich says. "There were some issues to resolve regarding the intellectual property and I was introduced to Marnie Matt and Howard Bremer at WARF. So that is how I became familiar with WARF and how the university handles intellectual property. When there was a job opening at the College of Engineering, I was prepared to deal with those kinds of issues."