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Dianne Gilmer is a rare figure in her field. As the assistant director of the UAB Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) concentration in the Master of Engineering Program, she is a woman working in two fields—construction and engineering—where women are historically underrepresented.

gilmer 2020For more than 12 years, Gilmer has been working to change that. Because of her sustained efforts to increase opportunities for women, Gilmer has been recognized by UAB as the Susan D. Marchase Outstanding Woman Administrator for 2020.

“Dianne does a great job in recruiting students for the program and attending to their needs, which is evidenced by the program high retention rates and excellent feedback from the alums,” said Fouad Fouad, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.

“Dianne is undoubtedly one of the most dedicated and hard-working individuals I have worked with in a professional setting,” added CEM Director Wesley Zech, Ph.D. “The level of service she provides faculty, staff, and students is impeccable. Dianne is a true professional, an accomplished businesswoman, an advocate of diversity and inclusion, an uncontrollable workaholic, and totally 100 percent committed to the continued success of CEM and UAB.”

More than an Administrator

Gilmer has been part of CEM since its inception in 2007. She left a career in industry to assist in the creation of the program.

Not content to be just an administrator, she enrolled in CEM as a student, earning her MEng degree in 2009 with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average. Since then, she has provided unique insight when working with students.

In her role as an administrator, Gilmer helped devise a marketing strategy to attract women into the program, capitalizing on the current industry demand to bridge the gender gap and increase opportunities for women in the workforce.

“Dianne leads by example and encourages women to never limit their expectations of success,” said Zech. “Her role as the students’ academic advisor goes well beyond administrative paperwork. She provides career guidance for many women that have come through the program, even helping them secure gainful employment. Dianne is an example that all things are possible and gives women the courage to not be intimidated in a workplace where women are the minority.”

Respected by Peers

Gilmer’s service to students has been acknowledged by graduates of the program for more than a decade. Her nomination letter includes input from a 2019 graduate who writes, “Dianne is very knowledgeable, communicates clearly, and has a genuine concern and care for the students…. She inspires the students to analyze the topics and think critically. UAB should be proud to have Dianne Gilmer as an instructor and her other roles.” 

Fellow CCEE faculty members shared input in her nomination for the award as well.

Jason Kirby, Ph.D.: “Dianne Gilmer is simply an unstoppable force and an amazing asset to our UAB School of Engineering MEng programs. I enthusiastically support her nomination for this award and truly believe she is deserving of this recognition.

Christopher Waldron, Ph.D.: “Dianne Gilmer is an invaluable asset to the online MEng with a concentration in Structural Engineering. She is often the first contact for students interested in the degree and her skills at recruiting students are unmatched. She also handles the majority of advising communication with enrolled students, making sure students get registered for classes in a timely manner, providing letters needed for employer tuition reimbursement, guiding students through the technology we use in our online classes, and making sure students satisfy all graduation requirements to earn their degree. The MEng with a concentration in Structural Engineering is successful in large part because of Dianne’s contributions to the administration of the program.

Throughout its history, UAB has been known for its diversity, and Gilmer’s efforts on behalf of CEM exemplify the university’s commitment to underrepresented populations. For that reason, she is a very deserving recipient of the 2020 Susan D. Marchase Outstanding Woman Administrator Award. Congratulations, Dianne Gilmer.