College of Engineering News

The University of Delaware’s College of Engineering is pleased to announce new members of its leadership team as well as its restructure.

“The College of Engineering had a rich tradition of strong leadership and I am excited to work with the new and continuing members of the leadership team to help propel the College of Engineering to new heights of success in education, research, community impact and more,” said Levi Thompson, Dean of the College of Engineering. “Each of these individuals has the skills and passion needed to lead growth of our college and secure our reputation as one of the premier colleges of engineering on the East Coast and in the country.”

The following appointments take effect on August 1, 2019:

Rachel Davidson is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Chief Diversity Advocate. Her responsibilities include faculty development and support, promotion and tenure, teaching and pedagogy and the college’s diversity and inclusion efforts. Davidson was previously the Associate Dean for Diversity.

“Diversity and inclusion initiatives will continue to be a major focus in the College of Engineering,” said Thompson. He added, “The College continues to move towards integrating explicit accountability for diversity and inclusion goals within all aspects of normal College operations. At the same time, the Chief Diversity Advocate is a position that will be singularly focused on the topic.”

Davidson is a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a core faculty member in the Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware. After completing her B.S.E. from Princeton University and M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University, Davidson spent two years at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, then six years at Cornell University, both as an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering. Following a year as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Columbia University, she joined the faculty at UD in 2007. Davidson is a Fellow and Past-President of the Society for Risk Analysis, and past-Chair of the Executive Committee of the ASCE Technical Council on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering (TCLEE). She has been a mentor for the NSF-funded Career Enhancement of Academic Women in Earthquake Engineering (ENHANCE) program and the NSF-funded “Enabling the Next Generation of Hazards and Disaster Researchers” program.

Jill Higginson is the Associate Dean for Graduate and Post Graduate Education. Her responsibilities include recruitment, financial aid and fellowship support for our graduate and post graduate students, enrollment management, and curriculum development. Higginson is a Professor in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. She was trained at Cornell University (BS Mechanical Engineering ‘96), Penn State University (MS Bioengineering ‘98), and Stanford University (PhD Mechanical Engineering ‘05). Higginson has also served as the Director of the Center for Biomechanical Engineering Research, was the founding Director of Biomedical Engineering at UD in 2010 and coordinated the undergraduate academic program through 2013.  In recognition of her contributions, Dr. Higginson was awarded the College of Engineering Outstanding Junior Faculty Award in 2014 and the Excellence in Education Award in 2015.  Her research efforts are related to neuromuscular biomechanics of pathological movement using coupled experimental and simulation studies.  She was also selected as a Fellow in the Defense Science Study Group in 2016/2017 and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering in 2019.

Michael L. Vaughan, Ph.D., is the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education. His responsibilities include leadership in key undergraduate areas such as enrollment management, advisement, recruitment, student development and support, K-12 Engineering, college event planning, educational assessment and evaluation, and global engineering activities. He was previously the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. He is principal investigator or supervisor of several programs aimed at helping traditionally underrepresented students succeed in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, including the National Science Foundation funded Greater Philadelphia Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program; the NSF/AMP Bridges to the Doctorate Program; the Educational Advancement Alliance/UD Graduate Preparatory Summer Residential Program; and multiple summer residential and enrichments programs for high school and undergraduate students. Vaughan joined UD in 1992. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from North Carolina A&T State University and a PhD in civil engineering at UD.

Michael E. Matthews is the Chief Financial and Administrative Officer. His responsibilities include financial planning and management, human resources, information technologies and more. He was previously the Senior Business Officer, where he was responsible for all college administrative activities and actively involved in shaping and executing the college’s strategic and business plans. Matthews joined the University of Delaware in 2010. Before joining the College of Engineering, he previously worked for the UD Budget Office from 2010 to 2016 where he most recently served as Director. His chief responsibilities were to manage the process of developing, implementing and monitoring the University’s annual budget and four-year financial plan. He holds a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from UD.

Appointed on February 1, 2019 is David C. Martin, the Associate Dean for Research and Entrepreneurship. His responsibilities include cost share, initiation programs, strategic research initiatives, and entrepreneurship programs and activities. He is the Karl W. and Renate Böer Professor and Chaired Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. He joined the University of Delaware in 2009 as Chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. He was previously Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Macromolecular Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan. Martin’s research addresses a number of areas in polymer science, with a particular focus on the design and development of materials at the interface between prosthetic devices and living tissue. His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Army Research Office, NASA, DARPA and industry. Martin is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and the American Physical Society. He earned his Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He received his B.S. in materials and metallurgical engineering and M.S. in macromolecular science and engineering from the University of Michigan.

The College of Engineering is grateful to acknowledge the service of:

  • Pamela Cook, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, who will finish her term on August 31.
  • Kristi Kiick, former Deputy Dean, who completed her term on June 30 and is spending a year in the United Kingdom, first as a Leverhulme Visiting Professor and then through a Fulbright Award.
  • Yushan Yan, former Associate Dean for Research and Entrepreneurship, who completed his term on January 31. He is a Distinguished Professor of Engineering.

The College of Engineering leadership team also includes the chairs of the college’s seven departments:

  • Ken Barner, Charles Black Evans Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Dawn Elliott, Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
  • Eric Furst, Professor, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • Kathy McCoy, Professor, Department of Computer and Information Sciences
  • Sue McNeil, Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Darrin Pochan, Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering
  • Ajay Prasad, Engineering Alumni Distinguished Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering