Sonia Hirt has been named interim associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech. She will assume her responsibilities as interim associate dean for academic affairs Aug. 10.

Hirt has been a faculty member in the Urban Affairs and Planning department since 2005, and is currently the chair for that program. In that capacity, she manages 25 faculty members in Blacksburg and Alexandria, Va., and has gained experience with overseeing budgets, hiring, curriculum management, admissions, diversity policy, program accreditation, education abroad programs, and alumni relations.

“Dr. Hirt has the appropriate skill set and demeanor to support our faculty and student concerns and represent the college to the university community,” said Jack Davis, Reynolds Metals Professor of Architecture and dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies.

The associate dean for academic affairs is an administrative faculty appointment reporting to the dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. This position supports the dean with general college supervision, focusing on undergraduate studies, faculty issues, and representation of the college before various university councils and task forces.

When she assumes her new role, Hirt, who has taught at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral level, will continue to teach courses in urban planning theory and practice, but will step down from her position as chair of Urban Affairs and Planning.

Hirt holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture degree from the University of Architecture and Civil Engineering in Sofia, Bulgaria. She is also a graduate of the Executive Development Institute at Virginia Tech. 

She served as a visiting associate professor at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University in 2011, where she taught Urbanism in Europe and served as design critic in the Urban Planning Studio. 

Hirt has served as an associate editor for the Journal of Architectural and Planning Research and the Review of European Studies. She is also on the editorial boards of five other journals such as Urban Design International and the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies. She has 50 scholarly publications, which include three books and 21 articles in peer-reviewed journals. She has an active program of funded research and has guest lectured in many universities in the United States and abroad, including the Bauhaus, Brown, Cornell, Vanderbilt, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Hirt replaces John Browder, who served as associate dean for academic affairs for six years. Browder will resume his role as a professor of urban affairs and planning.