Three interim deans at Western appointed to full deanships

Christopher Bianco, Janelle Leger, and Kevin Roxas have been appointed to two-year fixed terms as deans, with the option of an indefinite appointment once the two-year terms are completed

BELLINGHAM, WA, JUNE 26 , 2023 -- Three interim deans at Western Washington University have been appointed to the position of dean of their respective colleges, WWU Provost Brad Johnson announced today.  

Christopher Bianco (College of Fine and Performing Arts), Janelle Leger (College of Science and Engineering), and Kevin Roxas (Woodring College of Education), have been appointed to two-year fixed terms as deans, with the option of an indefinite appointment once the two-year terms are completed.   

Colleges at Western are groupings of related departments that serve under the administration of the dean, with each department serving under the leadership of its chair.  

“Thoughtful, inclusive and focused leadership are the traits each of these accomplished administrators bring to their colleges,” said Johnson. “Their vision to fulfill Western’s mission and strategic goals made pulling the interim tag off of each of them the best move for the university.”  

Christopher Bianco

Bianco, whose college includes the departments of Dance, Theatre, Art & Art History, Design, Music, and Arts Enterprise and Cultural Innovation, said he was excited to be able to continue to move forward with the plans and goals he had been putting into place since his appointment as interim dean in November, 2021. 

“Serving as interim dean of CFPA over the last two years has been a transformative experience for me.  A fundamental expectation of a dean who leads a faculty of artists, scholars, and industry professionals is to consume the creative work of the community. This has quickly become my favorite part of the job and always the best part of my day," Bianco said. “When I drive home after a show, exhibit, lecture, or concert, I am consistently energized to go back the next day and do it all again. It’s truly amazing what our students are able to accomplish here at WWU. I am thrilled to be able to keep doing this job.” 

Janelle Leger was first appointed as interim dean last June; she became interim after serving as both the chair of the Physics and Astronomy Department as well as director of the Applied Materials Science and Engineering Center (AMSEC). 

Janelle Leger

“I’m honored by the opportunity to continue to serve Western as dean of the College of Science and Engineering. Serving as interim dean for the past year has deepened my appreciation for CSE’s outstanding degree programs, for our faculty and staff’s commitment to inclusive excellence, and for the truly impressive and engaged students that choose to pursue their degrees in our programs," Leger said. “Even as we continue to work toward addressing the impacts of the pandemic, I’m excited for the opportunities that I see for us to continue to build forward momentum in a number of critical directions. 

“To that end, my focus in the coming years will include several priority areas, including growing the visibility and reach of CSE’s nationally recognized academic and research programs, expanding access to programs that continue to see high demand from both students and employers throughout the state of Washington, and deepening our ability to provide an educational experience that enables students of all backgrounds to realize their full potential as learners and engaged citizens,” she said. 

The College of Science and Engineering encompasses the departments of Biology; Chemistry; Computer Science; Engineering & Design; Geology; Mathematics; Physics and Astronomy; and Science, Math and Technology Education (SMATE). 

Kevin Roxas was appointed to his term as interim last June after serving as associate dean for Student Success, Access and Outreach for Western’s Woodring College of Education and as chair of the college’s Department of Secondary Education for more than six years. 

Kevin Roxas

“It is a tremendous honor to serve as the dean of the Woodring College of Education.  Woodring has an outstanding reputation as a college of education in the state, region, and the nation. Its faculty, staff, and students are innovative in their approaches to the preparation of educational professionals to make an impact in schools, universities, hospitals, and community-based organizations,” Roxas said. “I look forward to continuing to support the work that the college does to create and sustain an affirming culture of learning that advances knowledge, honors diversities, and promotes social justice. I also look forward to continuing to build strong partnerships with members of our local communities, schools, and other community-based organizations.” 

The Woodring College of Education is made up of the departments of Health & Community Studies; Human Services; Education Leadership and Inclusive Teaching; Elementary Education; Secondary Education; Special Education; Exceptionality and Disability, the RN-to-BSN program, and a number of community engagement programs such as Compass 2 Campus and Building Bridges with Migrant Youth.