Contact: Paul Cocke, director, WWU Office of Communications and Marketing, (360) 650-3350; Paul.Cocke@wwu.edu
BELLINGHAM – Jeff Wright, dean of the College of Sciences and Technology (CST) at Western Washington University, will be retiring from that position at the end of the current 2013-14 academic year.
“I wish to personally thank Jeff Wright for his outstanding service to the college, the university and the state of Washington,” said WWU President Bruce Shepard. “Under Jeff’s leadership Western’s tradition of excellence in the sciences was not only protected but strengthened with innovative new programs that will enable us to better serve the needs of the state.”
Wright, who has been CST dean since 2011, will retire next summer. A national search for his successor will begin this fall.
“Dean Wright's emphasis on quality academic programming and on fostering external support has positioned the College of Sciences and Technology well for the future. I look forward to working with him and CST departments this year on a number of exciting initiatives,” said Western Provost Brent Carbajal.
During Wright’s tenure, the college has made significant advancements. Most recently, Western was successful in securing new funding from the Legislature, which allows CST to transition several Engineering Technology programs to full engineering and to more than double the number of computer science graduates. He has also developed strong regional and statewide advocacy efforts on behalf of the college, new external funding sources, and important industrial collaborations that are providing innovative education experiences for Western students.
“Western is among the very finest universities of its kind, with faculty who are committed to undergraduate education and student success,” Wright said. “I am honored to be part of this remarkable institution.”
Wright succeeded founding CST dean Arlan Norman after Norman’s retirement.
Prior to being CST dean at Western, Wright was hired to create the newest School of Engineering within the University of California system, in Merced, Calif. He served there for 10 years as founding dean. At the same time, he was appointed founding co-director of the CITRIS Institute – an advanced computer science research center based at the University of California, Berkeley. Wright also served for 20 years on the engineering faculty at Purdue University, including as assistant, then associate dean of Engineering; professor of Civil Engineering; and as director of the Indiana Water Resources Research Center.
Wright received his doctorate in Geography and Environmental Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Washington. As an undergraduate, he attended Western during his freshman year.
CST includes academic departments of Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering Technology, Geology, Mathematics and Physics/Astronomy; and the Science, Mathematics and Technology Education program; the Internet Studies Center, the Advanced Materials Science and Engineering center (AMSEC) and Biomedical Research Activities in Neuroscience (BRAIN) program. For more information please see: http://www.wwu.edu/depts/cst/.