Office of the Dean

Dean Keith Russell in a smashing camel sport coat

Keith C Russell


Dean of the College of Humanities & Social Sciences

About the Dean

Keith C. Russell, Ph.D., grew up in Oregon, received his Ph.D. at the University of Idaho and taught at the University of New Hampshire and the University of Minnesota prior to arriving at WWU in 2008. He is a faculty member in the nationally accredited Recreation Management and Leadership program and chaired the department of Health and Human Development from 2015 - 2023.

He has served on Faculty Senate, the provost’s Social Justice, Equity and Inclusion Committee, and various roles working with Research and Sponsored Programs at WWU. In 2020, he received the Faculty Leadership award for his work chairing the department during the renovation of the Carver Academic Facility and in helping establish WWU’s first ever human cadaver lab to better prepare our pre-healthcare students for careers in allied health. In 2010 he received the Distinguished Researcher Award from the International Association for Experiential Education and has served the profession in many roles, including recently serving on the American Camping Association’s National Research Advisory Board (2016 - 2023). He teaches courses in research methods, adventure education and therapy, and human relations.

His research over the past 15 years has involved working with non-profit organizations in Alberta, Canada and Southeast Alaska that serve primarily First Nation and Alaska Native youth and young adults struggling with addiction. He serves as a participatory evaluator and assists programs in designing and evaluating treatment models that fuse clinical treatment approaches with elements of adventure that are culturally informed.

His over 60 publications have appeared in Psychotherapy, Group Dynamics, Mindfulness, Journal of Health Services Psychology, Residential Treatment for Children and Youth, and Child and Youth Care Forum.  He the author of several book chapters and is a co-author of the text titled Adventure Therapy: Theory, Research and Practice (2nd ed. 2020; Routledge Mental Health) with Michael Gass and Lee Gillis.

CHSS Dean's Office Staff

Headshot of Marc Geisler smiling wearing with a blue shirt and glasses with a waterfront in the background.
Associate Dean and Professor
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Administrative and Communications Assistant
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Karen Peila standing in front of a light colored boulder wearing a white shirt and two-tiered necklace.
Operations Manager
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Mike who has dark hair standing among trees in a forest
Operational Support Analyst
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