The dean is the administrative head, providing academic leadership, managing resources and representing the College of Engineering to the Chancellor, the Provost, UC Davis and wider communities. The dean is also a member of the faculty of the College.

Jennifer Sinclair Curtis

Phone: 530-752-0554

Research: Flow behavior of particles, with applications ranging from food processing, pharmaceutical manufacture, and the aerospace, energy and mining industries to natural processes such as debris flows and sediments. Her work has made important contributions to understanding how fluids and solid particles behave together.Prior to joining UC Davis, Jennifer Sinclair Curtis served as Associate Dean for Research at the University of Florida College of Engineering. She has served on the faculty at Lafayette College, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Arizona and Purdue University, in addition to visiting professorships at the University of Minnesota; and at Monash University and the University of New South Wales in Australia.

Jennifer Sinclair Curtis is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the American Society for Engineering Education and has served on numerous national advisory boards and committees, including currently co-chairing the National Academies Chemical Science Roundtable.


Ph.D., M.S., Chemical Engineering, Princeton University, 1989
B.S., Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, 1983

Assistant Deans

The assistant deans oversee the financial and administrative functions of the College including planning, budget, human resources, space and safety management, information technology, marketing and communications, development, external partnerships and alumni relations.

Jessie Catacutan, Executive Assistant Dean for Administration and Finance

Jessie Catacutan
Executive Assistant Dean, Administration and Finance

Phone: 530-752-3158

Catacutan serves as a key adviser to the dean and the leadership team of the school. This position leads in financial reporting, forecasting and policy setting on administrative matters, organizational development, risk management and operations.Prior to joining the UC Davis College of Engineering, Catacutan served as the director of grants, budget, finance and administration at the UC Office of the President. In this role he was responsible for budget forecasting, including development of annual budgets for the Regents; overseeing resource allocation and recharge models for the Research Grants Program Office (RGPO); and facilitating office and facility management, business operations and financial reconciliations. Prior to his employment at the UC Office of the President, Catacutan served as the director of budget, finance and space for the UC Davis Office of Research. In this position he provided overall leadership and direction for training related to facilities resource information systems, including the campus space inventory and the divisional space usage information system. His responsibilities also included serving as a liaison between the Office of Research, the Office of Resource Management and Planning, Architects and Engineers and research units for space-related issues and questions.

Certified Public Accountant  – State of California (CPA # 66358 – May 1994 – present (inactive status))


Leigh Ann Hartman, Assistant Dean, Development and External Relations

Leigh Ann Hartman
Assistant Dean, Development and External Relations

Phone: 530-304-8256

Hartman is responsible for building and fostering relationships with alumni and donors in an effort to strengthen the College’s network, increase public awareness of its programs, and secure private financial support in order to meet its goals. Prior to joining the College, Leigh Ann was the Executive Director of the Graduate School of Management for three and a half years after serving as their Senior Director of Development for three years. Before joining UC Davis, she worked at the University of Kansas Endowment Association serving the School of Engineering for seven years and at Missouri Valley College for two years as Coordinator of Alumni Relations. Originally from Redding, California, Hartman earned her BS in Business Administration from Missouri Valley College, and an MBA from the University of Central Missouri.

Associate Deans

The associate deans, also faculty members, provide leadership in matters related to the academic mission, faculty, instruction and student services. They report to the dean of the College.


Alyssa Panitch 
Executive Associate Dean
Associate Dean of Academic Personnel and Planning

Phone: 530-754-3222



Alyssa Panitch works closely with Dean Jennifer Curtis and other college and university leaders to promote the strategic interests of the College. She also handles all matters related to faculty and academic affairs and represents Dean Curtis in her absence or when she is overseas. Prior to joining UC Davis in 2016, Panitch was the Leslie A. Geddes Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University and served as the associate head of Purdue’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering from 2009 to 2013. During her time at Purdue, Panitch was also the vice provost for faculty affairs.


Jim Schaaf
Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies
Lecturer, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Kemper Hall 1050
Phone: 530-752-0556

Since 1993, Jim Schaaf has been a lecturer in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering where he has been actively involved in curriculum development, program assessment, and undergraduate advising. Prior to returning to UC Davis, Jim was the first recipient of the Lee Hunter Assistant Professorship of Mechanical Design at the Washington University in St. Louis. In 1989-90, Jim spent a year as an NIDRR research fellow at MIT’s Newman Biomechanics Laboratory and Massachusetts General Hospital’s Biomechanics Laboratory. Jim’s primary teaching interests are in design and dynamics.


Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Davis, 1988
M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, 1983
B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, 1981

Ricardo Castro
Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies
Professor, Department of Materials Science and EngineeringEmail:
Phone: 530-752-3724
Website: Nanoceramics Thermochemistry Laboratory


Professor Castro’s research interests center on the thermodynamic understanding of nanoceramics, and establishing correlations with processing, stability of the nanoscale, and application. He is particularly interested on the behavior of nanoceramics in extreme environments, such as high temperatures and nuclear radiation


Ph.D. 2005, University of Sao Paulo
B.S. 2001, University of Sao Paulo

C.P. “Case” van Dam
Associate Dean for Facilities and Capital Planning
Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Phone: 530-752-7741


Wind tunnel testing of airfoils, wings, and wind energy conversion systems; computational fluid dynamic analysis of airfoils, wings, aircraft, and rotors; and full-scale aerodynamic testing. Involved in UC Davis work started in the late 1990s on active control of the aerodynamic loads on wind turbine blades that is now a major field of research in Europe and the United States.


Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering, University of Kansas, 1983
M.S., Aerospace Engineering, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, 1979
M.S., Aerospace Engineering, University of Kansas, 1978
B.S., Aerospace Engineering, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, 1975


Academic chairs are faculty members and have critical leadership roles in their units, acting as liaisons to higher administration and serving to advance the research, teaching and service missions of their departments.


Bryan Jenkins
Biological and Agricultural Engineering

uc davis biomedical engineering chair steven george

Steven George
Biomedical Engineering

Roland Faller
Chemical Engineering


Jeff Gibeling
Materials Science and Engineering

Amit Kanvinde
Civil and Environmental Engineering

Matthew Farrens
Computer Science

M. Saif Islam
Electrical and Computer Engineering

Stephen Robinson

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering