Academic Leaders

Herbert A. Medina, Ph.D., Provost

Herbert A. Medina

Before becoming the University's provost in 2020, Herbert Medina joined the University of Portland as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 2018. Prior to his appointment at the University of Portland, he served as associate dean for faculty/staff development and student success at the Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering at Loyola Marymount University.

Medina earned a bachelor of science in mathematics and computer science, a master of arts, and doctor of mathematics, all from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS.)


Elise Moentmann, PhD, Associate Provost

Elise Moentmann

Elise Moentmann came to the University of Portland in 1998. She has previously served as chair in the Department of History and the director of the Summer Salzburg Program. She has also served as the faculty advisor to Phi Alpha Theta and chaired or served on numerous University and Academic Senate Committees. She is a member of the following scholarly and professional organizations: American Historical Association, Society of French Historical Studies, Society of Architectural Historians, National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), American Conference of Academic Deans. 

Moentmann received her bachelor of architecture and master of arts degrees from Louisiana Tech University and a doctor of philosophy from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Eduardo J. Contreras, Jr., EdD, Assistant Provost

Eddie Contreras

Eduardo Contreras is assistant provost for international education, diversity, and Inclusion. He has served as the director of studies abroad since 2015 and has been chair of the Collaborative on International Studies and Global Outreach (CISGO) and member of the President's Advisory Committee on Inclusion since 2016. He also teaches in the higher education and student affairs (MA-HESA) master’s program.

He has presented and written extensively on international education and inclusion with a chapter recently appearing in the book Promoting Inclusion in Education Abroad. In addition to an EdM and EdD from Harvard University, he earned a BA in history and an MA in Asian cultures and languages from the University of Texas at Austin. 

John Orr, PhD, Assistant Provost

John Orr

John Orr is assistant provost for undergraduate scholarly engagement. His office oversees the Honors Program, fellowships and grants, and undergraduate research. In addition, he is a professor in the English department.

Orr received a bachelor of arts in English and sociology from Hardin-Simons University and a master of arts in English from the University of Oklahoma. He received his doctor of English from Duke University.

Xan Arch, MS, Dean of the Library

Xan Arch
Xan Arch joined the University of Portland in 2015 as dean of the Clark Library. Xan has a BA in English and French literatures and a MA in English literature from Stanford University. She earned her MS in library and information science from San Jose State University in 2007.

Brian Fabien, PhD, Dean of the Shiley School of Engineering

Brian Fabien

Dr. Brian Fabien joined the University of Portland in 2020. Dr. Fabien holds a Ph.D., Master of Philosophy, and Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University in New York; and a Bachelor of Engineering with Honors Degree from the City College of New York.  Prior to his arrival in the University of Washington system in 1993, Dr. Fabien held prior professorships at the University of the West Indies and Ohio University.  A corporate career in engineering preceded academia, highlighted by his role as the lead mechanical engineer overseeing the guidance sensors for the famed Hubble Space Telescope.  Other industry posts include Xerox Corporation, PerkinElmer, and Textron, Inc. (Lycoming Engines Division). 

Gary Malecha, Ph.D. Interim Dean of the Pamplin School of Business

Gary Malecha

Dr. Malecha, Tyson Distinguished Professor, joined the faculty at the University of Portland in 1992. He serves as the interim dean for the Pamplin School of Business for the 2020 - 2021 Academic year.  Dr. Malecha regularly teaches courses on Congress, the Presidency, administration and public policy, American political thought, and food politics and policy in the United States and Europe. He has also offered courses in Western political thought and comparative politics and has taught in UP’s study abroad programs in the UK (London), Austria (Salzburg), and Central Europe (Salzburg, Vienna, Prague and Krakow). 

Dr. Malecha’s publications and research interests center on presidential leadership, congressional politics, presidential-congressional relations, institutional change, American political development and political thought, and contemporary issues in agricultural and food policy. Dr. Malecha is currently the Faculty Athletic Representative at the University of Portland and in 2017-2018 served as the Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Jason McDonald, MEd, Dean of Admissions

Jason McDonald

Jason S. McDonald joined the university in 1997 and has been dean of admissions since 2006.  Jason earned a bachelor of arts at Whitman College and Ed.M. at Washington State University.

Laura McLary, PhD, Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Laurie McLary

Laura (Laurie) McLary serves as the College of Arts and Sciences for the 2020 - 2021 Academic year. Laurie teaches all levels of German-speaking language and culture, focusing in particular on issues of gender and identity and the legacy of Romanticism and the environmental movement. In the fall semester 2019, she is teaching an advanced German course 2019 that will include a unit on the German and Austrian women’s movement through primary and literary texts. Her research focuses on the literature and culture of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century and contemporary Austria. She is co-editor (with Vincent Kling) of Winning Back Lost Territory: The Writing of Lilian Faschinger (2014).

Casey Shillam, PhD, Dean of the School of Nursing

Casey R. Shillam

Casey R. Shillam is the dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Portland.  She joined UP in 2015 as an associate professor and began service as the associate dean for the undergraduate program in October 2015. She serves as Certification Line Director: Gerontological Nursing for Nursing Specialty Education. She is also a member of the board of directors of the Chuckanut Health Foundation, the NW Organization of Nurse Executives and founding director of the Hartford Gerontological Nursing Leaders. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Beta Psi/omicron Upsilon Chapters. Shillam received her baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral degrees in nursing from Oregon Health & Science University. 

John Watzke, PhD, Dean of the School of Education, Dean of the Graduate School

John Watzke

John L. Watzke joined the University as dean of the School of Education in 2010. He was appointed as Dean of the Graduate School in 2019.  His research and work has focused on the development and support of teaching communities, teacher performance assessment, professional development and educational policy. Affirming the belief that theory should be connected to practice, he maintains his teacher certification in foreign language education. Watzke is a founding member of the International Society for Language Studies, a 501c(6) non-profit, organized in 2002 by scholars united in their goal to create an interdisciplinary society of scholars and practitioners from fields such medicine, law, the arts and social sciences engaged in language studies. He earned his bachelor of arts, master of arts, and doctor of philosophy degrees from the University of Iowa.