David C. Mays, P.E., Ph.D.
Professor of Civil Engineering

This website provides an overview of my career at the University of Colorado Denver since 2005. The sections below highlight my publications, research, teaching, service, and awards. For complete details on any of these, please consult my curriculum vitae.


My group applies ideas from complex systems science to flow in porous media: aquifers, soils, and granular media filters. The premise for this approach is that advances in porous media technology—such as groundwater remediation, aquifer storage and recovery, or geothermal energy—are possible using simple ideas from complex systems science. In particular, we study how permeability can be understood as a dynamic system based on fractal structures, and we apply chaos theory to design engineered injection and reaction schemes that improve plume spreading for accelerated reactions in porous media. Based on student interest, my group is also active in environmental hydrology research including the greenhouse footprint of natural gas, contaminant transport in urban watersheds, and water administration in Colorado.

Since 2018, I have expanded my research program to embrace inclusive teaching under the broad heading of engineering education. In particular, I am the engineering mentor for Environmental Stewardship of Indigenous Lands (ESIL), and I serve on the leadership team for Engineering is Not Neutral: Transforming Instruction through Collaboration and Engagement (ENNTICE).

To date, my research program has received over $2.4 million of external funding from agencies including the U.S. National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.


I have been blessed to teach hundreds of students since 1995 when I joined Teach for America. My current teaching portfolio includes two undergraduate courses in hydraulics (fluid mechanics and pipe network/sewer design) and three graduate courses in hydrology (surface water, groundwater, and vadose zone). For details—syllabus, software, reading, and homework—please expand the teaching section below.‚Äč

updated 1/10/2023

Photo of Professor David Mays