Jean Melious Named to One-Year Term as Dean of Western’s Huxley College of the Environment 

  • Head and shoulders photograph of Jean Melious

Jean Melious has been named to a one-year term as dean of Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University, Provost Brent Carbajal announced today. 

Melious, now professor of Environmental Studies, will start in her new job in September 2021. She succeeds current Huxley College Dean Steve Hollenhorst, who is taking a faculty position after serving as college dean for nine years. 

“With the strong recommendation of Huxley faculty and staff, I have appointed Dr. Jean Melious to a one-year fixed term appointment as dean.  She’ll start next fall and remain in the position until new permanent leadership arrives during the summer of 2022.  We’ll be doing a national search for Huxley dean next academic year,” Carbajal said. 

“Dr. Melious has an administrative acumen that became quite apparent during the appointment process.  As a long-time faculty member at Western, she brings experience, wisdom, and a collaborative spirit to her work.  I welcome Jean to senior leadership at Western and know that she’ll provide thoughtful and engaged leadership to her work in the Huxley College of the Environment,” Carbajal said. 

Carbajal thanked Hollenhorst for his service as dean. 

“It has been a pleasure and an honor to work with Dean Steve Hollenhorst these past nine years.  His leadership in Huxley and at the university more generally has been critical in many areas related to sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and other strategic priorities.  I look forward to continued work with Steve as he continues to serve in a new capacity, particularly Western’s commitments on climate change,” Carbajal said. 

Melious has a juris doctor degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School; a master’s degree in Urban Design and Regional Planning from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, where she was a Marshall Scholar; and a bachelor’s degree in Government and Environmental Studies from St. Lawrence University, where she was a National Merit Scholarship winner. 

Since 1996, Melious has served as a faculty member at Huxley College, where she has taught a range of classes, including environmental law, land use law, environmental dispute resolution, science and environmental law, and Canadian environmental policy. She has served as chair of the Huxley College Personnel Committee, Policy, and Curriculum committees, and serves on the Faculty Board of the University’s Honors program and Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity.

Melious is of counsel to Nossaman LLP, a national law firm of which she was formerly a partner. She is a member of the bars of Washington and California, and has extensive legal experience, including handling significant environmental and land use issues such as regulation of air and water pollution, planning and zoning law, endangered species legislation, transportation issues, growth management and hazardous waste regulation. She was a visiting professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. 

She has published numerous scholarly articles in her areas of research and expertise and has been active in the community, including as a board member of the statewide nonprofit Center for Environmental Law and Policy; City of Bellingham Historic Preservation Commission; former member of the Whatcom County Ag-Watershed Project Review Committee; former Steering Committee president for nonprofit Futurewise, and former chair and vice chair for the Whatcom County Planning Commission. 

“It is an honor to be appointed to this position and I look forward to working in this new role with students, faculty and staff at the College. I am dedicated to advancing interdisciplinary environmental education, now even more necessary and important,” Melious said.

Hollenhorst has been the dean at Huxley since 2012. During that time, enrollment in the college more than doubled, accompanied by a significant increase in the size and diversity of the college’s faculty and staff. A number of innovative new programs were established, and the college developed the first college-level diversity and inclusion plan at Western. Nine multi-year access scholarships were also created for underrepresented students.

Huxley College of the Environment addresses today's environmental issues and prepares tomorrow's interdisciplinary problem solvers. The college accomplishes this mission by integrating outstanding educational programs, faculty-student collaboration, applied research, and professional and community service. For more information on Huxley College, see:

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Monday, February 1, 2021 - 9:31am