Meet the Dean
I am thrilled to join Western Washington University as the next Dean of the College of the Environment! My connection to the natural world was forged on our small farm in Minnesota where I grew up tapping maple trees, watering chickens, detasseling corn, and reading books. This is just one example of the many paths and diverse experiences of the environment that lead students, faculty, and staff to our college. Our departments of Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, and Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy offer robust degrees that prepare students for a wide range of careers. As a student you can study marine science, climate change, urban planning, environmental justice, terrestrial ecology, environmental education, indigenous ecological knowledge, disaster resilience, data science, toxicology, environmental policy, geography, journalism, food and farming, water resources, energy studies, and the list goes on!
Our faculty members bring to their work with students active, world-class research agendas, a wide network of collaborators, partners, and material support, and teaching practices designed to fire-up learning. Our entire team of staff, advisors, and faculty care deeply about student success at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. My commitment to the teacher-scholar model of education grows out of experiences at both small liberal arts colleges and larger land-grant institutions. I completed my BA at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, earned an MA and PhD at the University of California, Davis, took my first formal position at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas and spent the last 16 years in teaching, research, service, and administration at the University of Wyoming. Over the years, I have had the great joy of working with both undergraduate and graduate students, not only in the classroom, but also in my research on environmental citizenship and environmental justice.
My commitments to student success, sustainability, social justice, and academic excellence owe much to my parents. My dad’s career success grew out of military, not academic, experience and my mom graduated from college when she was 36 with three kids. I understand the transformative power of education. And this drives my commitment to increasing student access and creating inclusive, welcoming communities. The College of the Environment continues to work to dismantle those structures that, for far too long, have excluded or marginalized members of our community particularly, but not only, along lines of race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, college familiarity, and ability. In doing so, we work to create the kind of environment conducive to learning; one that is welcoming, respectful, and inclusive.
In all our work, we are grateful for our community and campus partners, for public support and recognition, and for an expansive, productive, and engaged alumni always at the ready to support our students in myriad ways. In my new role as Dean, I look forward to collaborating with you to celebrate the storied past of this incredible college and to chart a vibrant future that continues to build on the college’s strengths in environmental research, teaching, service, and outreach.
Teena Gabrielson, PhD
Dean and Professor
Western Washington University
College of the Environment
516 High St, MS-9079