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Dean of College of the Environment

Apply now Work type: Permanent Full Time
Location: Bellingham, WA
Categories: Huxley College of the Environment

Position Title Dean of the College of the Environment
About the University

Western Washington University (Western), with approximately 15,000 students in seven colleges and the graduate school, is nationally recognized for its educational programs, students, and faculty. The campus is located in Bellingham, Washington, a coastal community on the Salish Sea of over 90,000 overlooking Bellingham Bay, the San Juan Islands, and the North Cascades Mountain range. The city lies 90 miles north of Seattle and 60 miles south of Vancouver, British Columbia. Western is the highest-ranking public, master's-granting university in the Pacific Northwest, according to the 2022 U.S. News & World Report rankings.  More information can be found online

College of the Environment supports Western’s mission, which states that together with our students, staff, and faculty, we are committed to making a positive impact in the state and the world with a shared focus on academic excellence and inclusive achievement. We strongly encourage applications from women, people of color, people living with disabilities, veterans, and other candidates from underrepresented backgrounds and with diverse experiences interested in this opportunity.

About the College

Established in 1969, College of the Environment has a rich 50-year history of being the first dedicated college of the environment in the United States.   Its faculty and students have been at the forefront addressing problems critical to the region – rapid population growth, climate change, pollution, habitat loss, energy use and production, and natural hazard exposure. In mission and practice College of the Environment has immersed students in student-centered learning and research, community engagement, and applied, collaborative problem solving that crosses the natural and social sciences.

Looking ahead to the next 50 years, the college seeks to continue its strong tradition of teaching and applied research in addressing complex environmental issues and to build upon the themes of sustainability, resilience, and justice already present in its teaching and research. Faculty, staff, and students are also eager to look forward to the opportunities the next 50 years present to help society understand and manage emerging environmental challenges. These challenges now encompass nearly every aspect of our lives, from local to global-scale environmental changes, intersections with social justice, effective natural resource management, technological innovation, and planning and collective governance at multiple scales.

The College is home to the Departments of Environmental Sciences, Environmental Studies, and Urban & Environmental Planning & Policy, offering Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees for undergraduates and Master of Science, Master of Arts, and Masters of Education degrees at the graduate level. The College has approximately 500 undergraduate and 50 master’s students currently enrolled and supported by about 44 faculty and 17 staff. Most students are based at Western’s main campus in Bellingham. Western’s Shannon Point Marine Center provides classroom and research opportunities for students as well. Place-bound students in the Peninsulas program take a full set of Environmental Science or Environmental Studies courses at campuses in Port Angeles, Bremerton, Poulsbo, and Everett. Regardless of location, students actively engage with local tribal nations and government agencies, schools, nonprofits, businesses, and industry through service-learning projects, research, and internships. The college’s annual operating budget is approximately $5 million in addition to almost $7 million in grants and contracts. The College is also home to four research institutes: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry; Resilience; Spatial Information and Analysis; and Watershed Studies.

The College's faculty are cutting-edge teacher-scholars and researchers, many with extramural funds from government, tribal, corporate, and private sources. College environmental science research programs range from the molecular level (e.g. microbial community evolution, microplastic toxicity, and colloid science) to the regional and global scales (e.g. issues of global change influencing local ecosystems, greenhouse gas mitigation, and sustainable coastal habitat restoration).  Other funded faculty research projects include: environmental justice and toxic releases, modeling coastal physical oceanographic processes, marine science and anthropogenic impacts on fisheries, and studies of the accumulation of toxic chemicals in Salish Sea seaweed. College social science research, scholarship, and creative work follow traditional disciplinary, multi-disciplinary, critical theory, and community engagement traditions. Topical foci span socio-ecological system resilience, environmental justice as it relates to environmental pollution; food security; cultural geographies; urban planning, including natural hazards planning, with collaboration with tribal, local and state governments; sustainability; environmental policy; and environmental education using abolitionist and decolonization frameworks. Across the college, we strive to learn from the broader community and engage with stakeholders and partners from myriad backgrounds to develop knowledge relevant to pressing socio-environmental problems.

An important element of faculty scholarship is student engagement and learning. Many students directly work with faculty as research assistants, both at the undergraduate and master’s level. Faculty also incorporate community engagement directly into the classrooms through service-learning projects and collaborations with non-profits, Indigenous communities, and government agencies. 

More information about the college programs is available online.

About the Position

Western invites applications and nominations for the position of Dean of College of the Environment. Western seeks diverse, innovative, and effective candidates with a commitment to inclusive student success, transformative leadership, and constructive communication and collaboration. It seeks those who will work with the faculty, staff, and students to develop a forward-looking vision and mission that will consider both the past accomplishments and future opportunities of the college.   

The Dean will fulfill leadership, advocacy, and mentoring responsibilities that provide equitable and inclusive learning and working environments for faculty, staff, and students, especially identifying and addressing barriers to recruitment, retention, and success of historically under-represented students and faculty. As the chief academic and executive officer of the college, the Dean reports to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs and is responsible for providing academic facilitation and administrative management for all programs within the college. The Dean will lead in outreach, collaboration, and advancement by defining and communicating to the college, University, and broader community the mission, values, activities, and accomplishments of the College. They will work with University Advancement and advocate with stakeholders, both internal and external to the University, for resources necessary to achieve the college’s mission and goals. As a key member of the University’s executive leadership team, the Dean will work in collaboration with other executive officers to implement the University’s strategic plan and will be an active and visible leader and ally both within the University and greater community. It is anticipated that the Dean will assume office before September 2022.

Position Responsibilities

Western seeks a Dean who has experience as a visionary leader with keen insight and a track record of inspiring others, fostering innovation, and encouraging diversity and inclusion. The Dean should have the experience and professional qualifications necessary to support teamwork, set high standards, and collaboratively craft a long-term strategy for the College. The Dean will understand and support the values of a public, comprehensive, residential campus; recognize the critical role of faculty and staff in the life of the University; champion and support the research mission of the college; support and encourage student involvement in college governance; and serve as an advocate for Western and the College both internally and externally.

The Dean models active leadership in the development, implementation, maintenance, and advancement of accessibility, diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives for faculty, staff, students, and programs. This includes a demonstrated ability and commitment to cultivating learning and working environments that are equitable and inclusive of race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, class, disability, and other marginalized identities.

The Dean is expected, in collaboration with college faculty, staff, and students, to develop and sustain a long-term vision for the college. This includes the development of planning documents as well as assuring the mission and vision of the college.  Central to this work in the college, the Dean articulates the importance of interdisciplinarity of environmental challenges and intersectionality of people’s experiences of them. The Dean communicates its urgency in the current global context.

The Dean provides leadership for academic as well as strategic planning, budget and resource management, advancement and fundraising, program assessment, faculty appointment, development, and evaluation. The Dean is expected to promote professional development of faculty and staff and carry out faculty evaluation and tenure and promotion policies in a collective bargaining environment. The Dean will collaboratively implement the mission, vision, and strategic plan for the College. Western seeks a Dean who is intellectually daring with an open, flexible, and collegial style and who is committed to inclusive excellence and cultural pluralism.

Required Qualifications
  • An earned Ph.D. or appropriate terminal degree and academic credentials that merit appointment as a full professor with tenure in the college.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the interdisciplinarity of contemporary environmental challenges as represented by the college.
  • Demonstrated transformational leadership for the advancement of Accessibility, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in ways that are relevant, accountable, and responsive.
  • Demonstrated competency in building diverse coalitions and community partnerships to address environmental challenges while supporting environmental and social justice.
  • Demonstrated leadership style that centers equity, facilitates collaboration in decision making, constructive interpersonal relationships and promotes fair, direct, and honest consideration of others.
  • Record of effective leadership and advocacy as evidenced by strong organizational, planning, fiscal and personnel management skills.
  • Skills to garner external funds.
Preferred Qualifications
  • Experience in higher education administration (e.g. as a Dean, Program Director or Chair).
  • Experience addressing the concerns of non-traditional and historically minoritized or marginalized populations.
  • Demonstrated commitment to shared governance with faculty, staff, students, and bargaining units.
  • Demonstrated excellence in student-centered teaching and learning.
  • Demonstrated success with working with policy makers, external agencies, industry, and/or community-based organizations to promote academic programs and improve educational opportunities for students.
  • Demonstrated experience in and success with fundraising and developing fundraising priorities that further unit mission and vision.
  • Experience with innovative teaching and learning programs that foster interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Experience developing positive relationships and partnerships with external stakeholders (e.g. alumni, community partners, industry).
  • Proven success in advocating – both internally and/or externally through grants and fundraising – for resources necessary for the development of students, faculty, staff, facilities, infrastructure, programs, and technology.
  • Demonstrated experience with external program evaluation or accreditation.
Special Conditions

All employees must comply with our Immunization policies, including COVID vaccination by time of hire and Proof of Rubeola Measles Immunity within 60-days of hire. Please reach out to if you need information regarding medical or religious exemption and applicable accommodations.


Commensurate with experience and qualifications; includes a full benefits package.

Application Instructions

A cover letter and resume are required and should respond directly to your experiences related to the required and preferred qualifications. Be sure to include the names and contact information of three professional references.

A complete application also requires a separate statement (1-2 pages) demonstrating your past and current ability and commitment to cultivating learning and/or working environments that are equitable and inclusive of diverse students, faculty, and staff with regard to race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, class, disability, and other marginalized identities. You may draw upon your personal as well as professional experience in developing this statement. For more information about Western’s commitment to and work on accessibility, diversity, equity, and inclusion, please see Western President’s page on Advancing Inclusion and Diversity

Closing Date Notes

Application review will begin December 31, 2021 and will continue until the position is filled. All applications, nominations and inquiries will be kept confidential. For further information, potential applicants should contact Jennifer Sloan, search coordinator, by email at:

Western Washington University (WWU) is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer committed to assembling a diverse, broadly trained faculty and staff. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply. In compliance with applicable laws and in furtherance of its commitment to fostering an environment that welcomes and embraces diversity, WWU does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and parenting status), disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status or genetic information in its programs or activities, including employment, admissions, and educational programs. See WWU’s Policy on Ensuring Equal Opportunity and Prohibiting Discrimination and Retaliation. Inquiries may be directed to the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance, Title IX and ADA Coordinator, Western Washington University, Old Main 345 (MS 9021), 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225; 360.650.3307 (voice) or 711 (Washington Relay);

WWU is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request. To request this document in an alternate format or to request an accommodation, please contact Human Resources Disability Services, 360.650.3774 or 711 (Washington Relay).

Annual Security and Fire Safety Report: This report is provided pursuant to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act ("The Clery Act"). It includes statistics for the previous three calendar years concerning reported crimes that occurred on Western's campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Western; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from, the campus. The report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, such as policies concerning alcohol and drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters. You can obtain a copy of this report in printed or alternate formats by contacting the Office of the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services at The report can be found at: Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.

All new employees must comply with the immunization policy and show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service before beginning work at WWU. A thorough background check will be conducted on all new hires.

Job no: 499222
Advertised: Pacific Standard Time
Applications close:

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