Roland Faller, Ph.D.
Dr. Roland Faller was appointed dean of the Edward E. Whitacre College of Engineering
in August 2023.
Prior to his appointment as dean, he served as Executive Associate Dean of Engineering at UC Davis as well as Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Associate Dean for Facilities and Capital Planning. He has a history of being very engaged in education, exemplified by his chairing the graduate programs of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science when he was just an associate professor, and managed a Department of Education funded Graduate Assistantships in National Needs project for over 10 years.
Faller began his academic career as a physicist. He studied physics at the University of Bayreuth in Germany as an undergraduate and earned his doctorate in theoretical physics at the University of Mainz in 2000 for work performed at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research. This work in simulation of polymer melts led him to switch to chemical engineering when he came to the U.S. for his postdoctoral work at the University of Wisconsin.
He joined UC Davis in 2002 as an assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science and rose through the ranks, eventually becoming co-chair in 2014. He became chair of the newly reconstituted Chemical Engineering department in 2016, when the department became independent from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. He focused on growing the department's academic excellence and strengthening its commitment to diversity.
His scientific work won a Department of Energy Early Career Principal Investigator Award in 2003, and he was the Joe & Essie Smith Endowed Chair in Chemical Engineering from 2007 to 2011. He has published over 150 scientific papers throughout his career. His research focuses on multiscale modeling of soft materials, as well as model and algorithm development. He used computer simulations to study the properties of polymer brushes and glasses, in addition to ceramics, biological membranes and proteins. His group studied the interactions of the Covid 19 Spike protein as well as on theoretical models of 3D printing. His research is very collaborative with interactions all over the US and the world. For example, he collaborated extensively with Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Labs, and he is on the international advisory board of the TREE institute in St Augustin, Germany.
In 2019, Dr. Faller was appointed as the Associate Dean of Facilities and Capital Planning where he managed all College of Engineering capital projects and oversaw space allocations, renovations, and repairs, as well as new space construction. In addition, he led the development of the new Diane Bryant Engineering Student Design Center (ESDC) and the Coffee Center, establishing annual budgets, managing relationships with staff members and facility users, and ensuring new staff are properly trained and safety compliant.
In 2021, Dr. Faller was named Associate Dean of Graduate Studies (in addition to his other Associate Dean duties) where he oversaw all graduate programs in the College of Engineering and focused on developing new graduate programs.
In summer 2022, he was named Executive Associate Dean of Engineering at UC Davis where he was the designated representative of the college when the dean was not available.