Jack Herring named new Fairhaven dean

Western Today staff
Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 11:20am

John “Jack” Herring has been appointed to serve as dean of Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies at Western Washington University, Provost Catherine Riordan announced today.

“We are delighted to welcome this established leader in the field of interdisciplinary and innovative higher education to Western. His experiences as dean at Prescott College in particular will serve him well at Western,” Riordan said. “Fairhaven College, campus and community feedback and a careful review of Dr. Herring’s many accomplishments convinced me he is exceptionally well-suited to lead Fairhaven College at this exciting time and to contribute to the dynamic academic leadership team we have in the Academic Division.”

Riordan thanked the search committee for building a strong pool of high-caliber candidates.

Herring, now dean for the campus-based undergraduate program at Prescott College in Prescott, Ariz., will begin at Western on Aug. 1, 2013. Herring was selected following a national search and will succeed Fairhaven College Dean Roger Gilman, who is retiring from Western.

“I’ve had a deep interest in Fairhaven College and Western Washington University for many years, and my college experiences in Fairbanks and Seattle gave me a deep sense of connection to the Pacific Northwest. I think that the type of innovative education that Fairhaven College provides students is more important than ever, as it builds a powerful foundation for creative and ethically grounded problem solving and leadership. I am honored to have been chosen for this position and look forward to becoming a member of this great community,” Herring said.

As dean at Prescott College, Herring supervises more than 60 faculty and staff and is responsible for delivery of 300 courses a year, enrollment projections, research and planning. Herring is experienced in and a strong advocate for the kind of student-centered, interdisciplinary, liberal arts education offered at Fairhaven College.

His scholarly background is in the area of atmospheric chemistry. He has a doctorate in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington, and has received research grant funding from the National Science Foundation. Herring’s research interests focus on how human activities are affecting the composition and functioning of the Earth’s atmosphere. As part of his research, Herring was a flight crew member for airborne experiments measuring pollution from forest fires, ships and burning oil slicks; and monitored nitrogen oxide concentration in Mesa Verde National Park as part of a study of emissions from coal-fired power plants.

He has been at Prescott College since 1998, where he has served as a faculty member in the Environmental Studies Program, and as an associate dean and dean in the Resident Degree Program. Prior to that, he was a research associate in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Maryland, a Congressional Science Fellow and Legislative Aide in the U.S. House of Representatives, a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, and an environmental chemist for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

Following the inspiration of one of his students, Herring co-founded the non-profit Community Forest Trust to foster collaboration among local communities and federal agencies responsible for the Prescott National Forest.

WWU's Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, established in 1967, is nationally recognized for innovation in teaching and learning, intensive advising, student-designed majors, narrative assessment, experiential and independent learning and a commitment to social justice. The current dean, Roger Gilman, was a student in Fairhaven College in those early years. He returned in 2006 to lead the college and will retire at the end of the current academic year.


John “Jack” Herring has been appointed to serve as dean of Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies at Western Washington University, replacing Roger Gilman. Courtesy photo