Meet the Dean

Jean O. Melious, J.D.

Before I became Dean, I was a faculty member of the College of the Environment for 25 years.  Based on that experience, I can say with assurance that you won’t find a more thoughtful, kind, and committed group of students than ours. Our teachers and staff are dedicated to helping students thrive and succeed.  Faculty members’ research changes the world. This is an inspiring and supportive place.

I have a law degree from Harvard Law School and a Master’s degree in Urban Design and Regional Planning from the University of Edinburgh, which I attended as a Marshall Scholar. I was a partner in a law firm before I came to Western. The fact that undergraduate and Master’s students learn about land use and environmental law from a practicing lawyer is just one example of the depth and breadth of the College’s programs. Whether your interest is in marine science, energy studies, urban planning, international environmental issues, water resources, food and farming, environmental justice, terrestrial ecology, business and the environment, disaster resilience, toxicology, environmental policy, geography  –  just to provide some examples– we have a faculty member, a class, a major or program, and a cohort of students to support your interest.  

And we want to learn from you, too.  Our students’ interests and experience shape us, and our alumni’s experience guides us. College alumni work in important positions across the country and around the globe.  Our extended family is large, and it attests to the quality of the students we attract and to the preparation that they receive as undergraduate and graduate students. We’re proud of our roots as one of the oldest environmental colleges in the country, and we know that our field requires change and innovation, as the environmental challenges that we face become ever more complex.

The opportunity to spend two or four or more years in Bellingham, perched between the shore and the mountains, is another important aspect of the College experience. Whatever your environmental interests, the College will provide you with an applied education in nature's laboratory.

Jean O. Melious, J.D.

Dean and Professor

Western Washington University
College of the Environment
516 High St, MS-9079