Senior Vice President and Provost Mark McNamee has announced the appointment of Joan B. Hirt, professor of educational leadership and policy studies in the School of Education, as interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, beginning January 2014.

Hirt has been at Virginia Tech since 1994, beginning with two years as a visiting associate professor before transitioning into a tenure-track position as an associate professor. She earned the rank of professor in 2009.

"We are fortunate to have Joan step into this role, with almost two decades of experience here at Virginia Tech as well as almost two decades prior as a university administrator," McNamee said. "I am confident she will ease this leadership transition in the college."

The Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost is beginning its work to launch an international search for the next dean. Isaacson, Miller, an executive search firm based in Boston, Mass., will assist with the search.

Sue Ott Rowlands has served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences since July 2007. She recently announced she would step down from the position to become vice president for academic affairs and provost at Northern Kentucky University.

"Sue's leadership for the college has been invaluable over her six years at the helm," McNamee said. "We wish her well as she moves on to her new opportunity at Northern Kentucky University and we will miss her vibrant leadership."

Hirt received her bachelor's degree from Bucknell University; master's degree from the University of Maryland, College Park; and doctorate from the University of Arizona.