Jean-Pierre “JP” Delplanque, who has been serving as interim vice provost and dean of Graduate Studies since July, has been appointed to the post on a permanent basis by Chancellor Gary S. May.
The appointment, effective Jan. 1, follows a campuswide recruitment and a selection process that included public forums with the candidates.
Delplanque, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, joined Graduate Studies in 2015 as the associate dean for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. He held that post until campus leaders selected him to serve as the interim vice provost and dean upon Prasant Mohapatra’s appointment as research vice chancellor.
Acting Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ken Burtis described Delplanque as “a strong advocate for graduate students and postdocs, a champion of helping them advance in their studies and careers, and a trusted collaborator in addressing their issues and concerns.”
Delplanque described himself as having “a student-centric view of graduate studies,” and he added: “A top research university like ours must continually strive for the holistic success of all its graduate students in a diverse, equitable and inclusive context, and it cannot flourish without it.”
He said he values and enjoys the relationships he has developed over the last three years with the Graduate Student Association (which honored him with its 2016-17 award for excellence in service to graduate students), the Postdoctoral Scholar Association, and the Academic Senate and Graduate Council.
Focus on mentoring
As the associate dean, Delplanque contributed to improved mentoring through one of his core engineering skills, problem solving, as demonstrated by his mediation of issues between graduate students and postdocs and their mentors. He also served as the co-director of the Mentoring at Critical Transitions, or MCT, program, aimed at enhancing faculty preparedness in mentoring a diverse doctoral student population.
His responsibilities also included advising and other efforts to retain graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, and providing for their professional development, including the Professors for the Future Program (he served as the co-director).
Mentoring and professional and career development continue to be among his priorities, along with financial support. “I consider mentoring graduate students to be central to what it means to be a faculty member at a research institution,” Delplanque said. “Continually improving graduate student and postdoctoral scholar mentoring must be a top priority.”
Critical to that effort is the university’s new, online Student Progress Assessment tool. Delplanque, as associate dean, oversaw its development and deployment in place of paper-based reports. “The conception of this tool was the result of a productive collaboration between the Graduate Student Association, the Academic Senate (Graduate Council) and Graduate Studies,” he said. “I have no doubt that this tool is becoming an essential instrument in the improvement of mentoring on campus.”
Prior to working in campuswide Graduate Studies, Delplanque served as the vice chair of graduate studies in his home department and associate dean for undergraduate studies in the College of Engineering.
From France to Irvine to Davis
Delplanque holds a Master of Science degree and Ph.D. in mechanical and aerospace engineering from UC Irvine. He studied previously in his native France, earning an engineer diploma and a master’s degree from the National Polytechnic Institute of Toulouse.
He joined the faculty of the Colorado School of Mines in 1998 as an assistant professor in the Division of Engineering, and was promoted to associate professor in 2002. He joined the UC Davis faculty two years later and advanced to professor in 2010; his most recent courses include “Rocket Propulsion” and “Fluid Mechanics” for undergraduates, and “Advanced Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer” for graduate students.
His research group focuses on the multiscale modeling and numerical simulation of multiphase fluid flow and heat transfer. Applications are interdisciplinary in nature, crossing the boundaries between mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, materials science and biomedical engineering. Examples of specific projects range from the uncertainty quantification of additive manufacturing processes to the numerical characterization of the interactions between inhaled particles and the mucociliary escalator in the human respiratory system.