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Provost's Biography

José Herrera was named Mercy College’s Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs in January 2017.  Prior to his appointment at Mercy College, Dr. Herrera was founding Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Western New Mexico University.  Previously, he served as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation (NSF) within the Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) from 2011 until 2013. In this position, he oversaw a diverse portfolio of innovative scientific programs to develop scientific and educational capital at various institutions across the United States.  A native of the near Southwest side of Chicago, he graduated from the Chicago Public School system (Whitney Young High School) at 15 before attending Northern Illinois University where he majored in biology and minored in chemistry, graduating magna cum laude in 1988 and completed a master’s degree in biology.  He earned his doctorate at Kansas State University in 1996, in microbiology.  He worked in the Department of Biology at Truman State University where he served as chair of the department from 2009 until 2011.  During his career, Dr. Herrera has collaborated with many undergraduate students, publishing several scientific articles characterizing the microbial community structure and function of root-associated fungal endophytes.  He is currently PI or co-PI on four active NSF-funded research projects that integrate fungal endophyte projects and educational initiatives at Minority Serving Institutions.  In 2015, he was elected vice-chair of the forthcoming (July 2017) Gordon Research Conference on Undergraduate Biology Education Research in Easton, MA.  He is a lifetime member of SACNAS (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) and Senior Editor and Handling Editor of two pre-eminent biology education journals:  Life Science Education (LSE) and BioScience.  Dr. Herrera is excited to collaboratively interact with students, faculty, and staff at Mercy College to develop exemplary national models for teaching diverse students in an ever-changing educational landscape.