Rachel Davidson

Rachel Davidson
Office: 360B DuPont Hall
Phone: 302-831-4952

Rachel Davidson

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs


Ph.D. | Stanford University
Master | Stanford University
Bachelor | Princeton University

Executive Summary

Rachel Davidson is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the College of Engineering, 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. She is also the PI and Director of the NSF-funded Coastal Hazards, Equity, Economic prosperity, and Resilience (CHEER) Hub. After completing her B.S.E. from Princeton University and M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University, she 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 the University of Delaware and the Disaster Research Center in 2007. She was a Visiting Professor and Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand (2013-14) and Shimizu Visiting Professor at Stanford University (2022).

Davidson conducts research on natural disaster risk modeling and civil infrastructure systems. Her work involves developing new engineering models to better characterize the impact of future natural disasters, and use that understanding to support decisions to help reduce future losses. It focuses particularly on lifelines (e.g., electric power, water supply) and risk from a regional perspective; on earthquakes and hurricanes. Problems in this field typically involve a great deal of uncertainty, a long time horizon, multiple and competing objectives, and sometimes numerous and conflicting constituencies. They are often spatial and dynamic, and the technical aspects must be understood in the social, economic, political, and cultural context in which they exist.

She is a Fellow and Past-President of the Society for Risk Analysis, winner of the ASCE Charles Martin Duke Lifeline Earthquake Engineering Award (2019), and a fellow of the Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering (ELATE at Drexel) program (2015-2016).

Research Areas

  • Disasters
  • Infrastructure
  • Infrastructure Systems
  • Risk Assessment
  • Structural