College Directors & Department Chairs


Brandi Aranguren

Director, Center for Math and Science

Brandi Aranguren is Managing Director for the Center for Mathematics and Science Education (CMSE). Her role is to oversee the administration and management of CMSE, including grant-proposal development, management of projects, and coordinates CMSE outreach and publicity.  Ms. Aranguren earned her BA and then MPA degree in Public Administration from California State University, Chico. She has been coordinating programs through CMSE since 1997, and directing CMSE programs since 2007. 



Jeffrey Bell

Assistant Dean, Chair, Department of Biological Sciences

Dr. Jeffrey Bell currently is Assistant Dean in the College of Natural Sciences and teaches Genetics and his current research focuses on the regulation and role of the Msx 2 homeobox gene in lymphocytes. He is a co-author of the Biolabs simulations,, 12 online simulations of Biology experiments, and is a long-time editor and reviewer of online learning materials for the Merlot Biology Editorial Board.


David Brown

David Brown

Chair, Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences

David L. Brown, Ph.D., Professor, joined the Geological and Environmental Sciences Department in August 1997.  His teaching has emphasized courses in hydrology and environmental science.  He supervises undergraduate and graduate students with a broad range of research topics, including mined land reclamation, agricultural nonpoint source pollution, riparian restoration, groundwater-surface water interactions, and pesticide runoff prevention.  Dr. Brown supervises student interns in collaboration with groups such as GreenCampus, Net Impact, and the AS Sustainability Collaborative. He has received over one million dollars in grants, and regularly reviews grant proposals for the National Science Foundation. 



Becky Damazo

Director, Rural Nothern California Simulation Center

Becky Damazo RN, MSN is the Simulation Center Director. Becky is a certified simulation educator and oversees the daily operations at the simulation center.



Tag Engstrom

Director, Center for Water and the Environment

Tag Engstrom, Chair for the Center for Water and the Environment, is a vertebrate ecologist with particular interest in conservation and ecology of amphibians and reptiles. Tag has a BS from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg Florida and a Ph.D. from UC Davis, has been on the Biology faculty at CSU Chico since 2004 and began serving as the Science Director for the Center for Water and the Environment in 2012.  My current graduate students and I conduct research on diverse topics including conservation of western pond turtles in Northern California, ecology of endangered invasive softshell turtles in Hawaii, composition of rattlesnake venom, fish communities in marine reserves in the Channel Islands, and abundance of large mammals in the BCCER. 



Chris Gaffney

Chair, Department of Physics

Dr. Chris Gaffney is the current chair of the Department of Physics at CSU Chico. He currently teaches lower division physics courses taken by biologists and chemists, and incorporates a large amount of writing and qualitative analysis into these courses. In 2011/12 academic year he also developed two general education courses: ’ War and Peace in the Nuclear Age’ and ‘Revolutionary Ideas in the Natural Sciences’ as part of the CSU Chico revised general education. In recent years his research has focused on the effect of microwaves on biological material.



Carol Huston

Director of School of Nursing

Carol Jorgensen Huston, MSN, MPA, DPA, has been a professor of nursing at California State University, Chico (CSUC) since 1982. She served as Master Teacher for CSUC from 1999-2001 and was named Outstanding Teacher for CSU, Chico for 2001/2002. In 2008/2009, she was named the Outstanding Professor for CSU, Chico. In January 2010, she assumed the position of Director of the School of Nursing.



Terry Kiser

Chair, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Dr. Kiser received his Ph.D. in applied mathematics at Oregon State University in 1983 and came to Chico State in 1988.  He was actively involved in the Calculus Reform movement and in implementing computer-aided instruction.  With an NSF grant, he helped bring a state-of-the-art computer lab to our department.  As the Department Chair, beginning in 2004, Dr. Kiser’s main focus has been to emphasize undergraduate research. 



Randy Miller

Assistant Dean, Chair, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Randy Miller received his B.S. from Illinois State University, his Ph.D. from UC Davis and conducted post-doctoral research at Northwestern University. His most recent research activities have been in the areas analytical and physical chemistry with particular emphasis on the application of computational methods to understanding reaction mechanisms. In addition to his teaching assignments in Physical Chemistry and Integrated Chemistry Lab he is currently serving as department chair in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and as Assistant Dean in the College of Natural Sciences.




Renee Renner

Director of Exhibits and Education, Gateway Science Museum

Dr Renee Renner, a Professor in the Department of Computer Science, will be the new Exhibits/Education Director. Renee has a strong background in science and computer science and has been very active with K-12 outreach and summer programs. She is a grant writer and has experience in fundraising and working with donors.



Irene Salter

Chair, Department of Science Education

Dr. Salter is Chair of the Department of Science Education with a specialty in biology education. She earned her PhD in Neuroscience at the University of California, San Francisco then spent the next four years teaching middle school science and working at the Lawrence Hall of Science, developing curriculum for the Great Explorations in Math and Science Program. Since joining the faculty at CSU, Chico, she has specialized in designing science curriculum for college undergraduates, conducting research on student learning, and leading professional development workshops for teachers.



Kathryn Silliman

Chair, Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences

Kathryn Silliman has taught in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences since fall of 1990.  She received her MS and PhD degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.   She has taught several nutrition courses for the Department over the years including Advanced Human Nutrition and the core graduate courses, Topics in Vitamins and Minerals and Topics in Macronutrients.  She served as Coordinator for the Graduate Program for eight years.  She has been Program Coordinator/Department Chair since summer of 2003.  She particularly enjoys her role as advisor to students and in 2010 she received the Outstanding Academic Advisor Award. 



Jennifer Spangler

Director of Business and Finance, Gateway Science Museum

Jennifer has a BS in Organizational Administration with a concentration in Economics and a minor in Museum Studies. She also has a MA in Art, has taught in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at Chico State, and has museum experience.



Cindy Wolff

Director, Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion

Dr. Cindy Wolff has been a professor in the Nutrition and Food Sciences Department at CSU, Chico since 1987. She is the Executive Director of the Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion at CSUC as well as the Sierra Cascade Nutrition and Activity Consortium, a Network for a Healthy California funded consortium with more than 20 school districts, 800 schools and 40 community partners in 11 north state counties. Dr. Wolff has received numerous awards including the CSUC Outstanding Project Directors Award, the California Dietetic Association's Outstanding Dietetic Educator Award, and the American Dietetic Association's New Researcher Award.