Jeff Crane

College of Arts and Sciences Dean

College of Education and Counseling Interim Dean

Professor, history

Ph.D. and M.A. in history, Washington State University; B.A. in American studies, The Evergreen State College

Old Main 329 (CAS)
Old Main 477 (CEC)
5000 Abbey Way SE
Lacey, WA 98503

“No school without spectacular eccentrics and crazy hearts is worth attending.”

—Saul Bellow

Jeff Crane grew up in Washington State on Whidbey Island. After a stint in the army he attended the Evergreen State College, earning bachelors with an emphasis in American Studies and went on to secure his Ph.D. in history at Washington State University. His scholarship has focused on river development, protest against dams, impacts on salmon and other fisheries, and river restoration efforts. His current scholarship includes work on urban farming as ecological protest and researching river and nearshore restoration efforts in the Pacific Northwest and the beneficial impacts of restoration, particularly as they help build resilience against Climate Change. On July 1 2016 he became the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at St. Martin’s University. 

Jeff has complements his academic work with active work on environmental issues in the community. In San Antonio, Texas he served on the board and as Vice-President of the Board for Green Spaces Alliance, a Land Trust and Community Gardening organization. He also helped lead the expansion of community gardens on campus and the creation of three community gardens in underserved communities in San Antonio while working at the University of the Incarnate Word. In recent years Jeff has given numerous talks on Climate Change and Food Justice.

The father of two daughters, Jeff enjoys spending time outdoors with his family, camping, hiking, wandering creeks, and picking berries. Other interests include fiction and memoirs, cinema, non-scholarly writing, and absurdist humor.

Select Publications

See Dr. Crane's Amazon Author page at


  • The Politics of Hope: Grassroots Organizing, Environmental Justice, and Social Change, University of Colorado Press, co-edited with Dr. Char Miller. Scheduled for publication in 2017. 
  • The Environment in American History: Nature and the Formation of the United States, Routledge Press, 2014.
  • Finding the River: An Environmental History of the Elwha River, Oregon State University Press, 2011. Was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award.
  • Natural Protest: Essays on the History of American Environmentalism. Routledge Press, 2008. Co-editor with Dr. Michael Egan of McMaster University.


  • “`A Grand Destiny is Ours’: The Damming and Restoration of the Elwha River” published in the Fall 2011 issue of The Journal of the West.
  • “You Are Either in the Van or Out of the Van: Pedagogy and Life on the “West Trip” published in the Summer 2011 issue of The Journal of the West.
  • “`Setting the River Free’: The Removal of the Edwards Dam and the Restoration of the Kennebec River,” published in the Fall 2009 issue of The Journal of Water History.


  • Selected as an NEH Fellow for the NEH Conflict and Trauma Program at the University of the Incarnate Word in August 2015
  • Awarded the Sam Houston State University History Department Excellence in Research Award in 2012
  • Awarded the Sam Houston State University History Department Excellence in Teaching Award in 2008