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Graduate Studies Leadership

Jean-Pierre Delplanque
Vice Provost and Dean, Graduate Studies

Jean-Pierre Delplanque was appointed vice provost and dean of Graduate Studies at the University of California, Davis, in January 2019. Prior to that appointment, he served as Associate Dean for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars in Graduate Studies and as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Engineering. In his current role, his focus is to cultivate an inclusive, equitable learning environment for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars so that they are equipped to spearhead discoveries with global impact.

As a professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, his research and educational activities focus on the multi-scale modeling and numerical simulation of complex fluid and thermal processes and systems. Applications are interdisciplinary, crossing the boundaries between mechanical, chemical, and biomedical engineering, and materials science, with specific examples ranging from the characterization of patient ventilator asynchrony in the critical care setting to additive manufacturing technologies.

A first generation college graduate, Delplanque received an Engineering Diploma from Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Electrotechnique, d’Electronique, d’Informatique, d’Hydraulique et des Télécommunications (ENSEEIHT), Toulouse, France, a post-graduate diploma (“D.E.A.”) in mechanics from the National Polytechnic Institute of Toulouse, France, and a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.


Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor
Associate Dean, Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars

Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor was appointed Associate Dean for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars at UC Davis in June 2019, after an academic year as Acting Associate Dean.  In this role, she is an advocate for graduate students and postdocs, working with them and with faculty and staff to ensure success in their programs as scholars, researchers, and teachers.

An Associate Professor in the Department of History, her research investigates the social and cultural history of North American economies, with a special interest in gender, women, and money.  She is the author of multiple books and articles, and is currently completing a book on auctions and market culture.  She recently co-edited The Oxford Handbook of American Women’s and Gender History.  Her investment in graduate student professional development led to a 2-year grant from the American Historical Association Career Diversity Initiative to develop curriculum, internships, and programming.

Professor Hartigan-O’Connor earned a Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan. She joined the faculty of the History Department at UC Davis in 2007 after serving on the faculty at San Jose State University. At Davis, she has worked across disciplines on the board of directors of the Feminist Research Institute and the executive committee of the Institute for Social Sciences.


Duncan Temple Lang
Associate Dean, Graduate Programs

Professor Temple Lang earned a Ph.D. in Statistics from the University of California, Berkeley. He joined the faculty of the Department of Statistics at UC Davis in 2004 after serving on the technical staff of AT&T Bell Laboratories. His international reputation as a member of the core development team of the R system, a computing language and environment widely used worldwide by statisticians, is indisputable. He has authored or significantly contributed to more than 120 R packages released as part of the Omegahat project. He is the co-author of 2 books and is one of 4 co-editors of “The R series”, a book series. He currently serves as Director of the Data Science Initiative.

Professor Temple Lang has extensive experience in Graduate Education, having served as Master Adviser in the Graduate Program in Statistics, member of the Graduate Council, member of the Graduate Educational Policy, member and vice chair of the Graduate Program Review Committee, and member, vice chair, and chair of the Graduate Program Review Closure Committee. These experiences have given him the opportunity to interact frequently with Graduate Studies staff and prepared him remarkably for the duties of the interim associate dean for graduate programs.


Erum Abbasi Syed
Assistant Dean, Graduate Studies

Erum Abbasi Syed serves as the Assistant Dean for UC Davis Graduate Studies. As a key advisor to the Vice Provost and Dean and Associate Deans, she serves as a leader in strategic and financial planning, forecasting, organizational development, facilities management, risk management, information technology and human resource management. She is responsible for providing broad strategic leadership, planning and management for graduate student and postdoctoral scholar services and programs, and administrative services. 

Abbasi Syed has worked in higher education administration since 2003 at UCLA School of Law, Princeton University, and UC Davis’ College of Letters and Science. During her time at UC Davis, she has participated in several campus wide committees and initiatives, including serving on the Staff Diversity Administrative Advisory Committee (SDAAC); participating in the University of California Women’s Initiative for Professional Development, representing UC Davis; designing and leading a First-Year Aggie Connection; and serving on the 2014 Working Group on Diversity & Inclusivity. Abbasi Syed has been awarded several division, college, and campus level awards and honors, including the Social Sciences Dean’s Staff Accomplishment Award; Disability Awareness Team Award, and the Chancellor’s Staff Excellence Award. 

Prior to her career in higher education, Abbasi Syed served in financial and administrative positions at Merrill Lynch, along with serving as a management consultant to the Bureau of Engineering at Los Angeles. Abbasi Syed earned an MBA from California State University, Sacramento and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Finance, from University of Colorado at Denver.