Janelle Leger appointed to fixed term as dean of WWU College of Science and Engineering

WWU Professor of Physics and Astronomy Janelle Leger has been selected to serve a fixed-term appointment as the dean of Western’s College of Science and Engineering.

Provost Brent Carbajal is excited by what Leger will bring to the role, including her depth of experience at Western and her commitment to furthering the College’s ADEI efforts.

“Having served as Director of the Advanced Materials Science and Engineering Center (AMSEC) and currently as Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dr. Leger is possessed of a solid administrative acumen, complemented by a strong belief in collaborative approaches and community building,” Carbajal said.

Leger began working at Western in 2008, starting as an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Department of Chemistry and moving up to professor in 2016. She served as director of AMSEC from 2017 to 2019 and has been chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy since 2019.

"I am honored that I have been trusted with the leadership of Western's College of Science and Engineering during this critical time of transition and growth,” she said. “I'm most excited about the opportunity to support and amplify the already amazing work being done by our world-class faculty, staff, and students, including award-winning teaching, nationally recognized research with graduate and undergraduate students, and a deep commitment to providing inclusive and accessible opportunities in STEM for students in the state of Washington and beyond."

Leger holds a doctorate in physics from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a bachelor’s in physics from University of California, Davis. Prior to coming to Western, Leger was a graduate research assistant in the UC Santa Cruz Department of Physics, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Washington’s Department of Chemistry and a National Science Foundation Discovery Corps Postdoctoral Fellow.

Leger was named a Cottrell Scholar by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement in 2015 and has completed a variety of research and publications on topics ranging from organic electronics and plasmonics, to electrochemical processes and solar luminescent concentrators. Her current research focuses on organic and hybrid materials for electronic and optoelectronic devices, including light-emitting diodes, solar cells, memory cells, and transistors.

Leger will take over the position of dean from Brad Johnson, who will begin his tenure as provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs on Aug. 1.