The University of Washington Bothell invites the community to help honor our colleague, friend, and "Founding Faculty" member Jane Decker, who passed away on February 21, 2008, at a celebration of life event on Friday, March 14 at 10:00 a.m. in the North Creek Events Center on the UW Bothell campus.

Professor Decker served in many roles at UW Bothell including founding Program Director for Liberal Studies 1990-1997, Interim Program Director for Nursing 1995-1996, Associate Dean for Academic Planning 1996-2004, Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs 2002-2004, Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences (formerly Liberal Studies) 1990-present, and Professor in the Master of Arts in Policy Studies program 2001-present.

Dr. Jane Decker

Her most notable role was as a member of the twelve “Founding Faculty,” given the task of creating a curriculum for the new campus when it opened its doors in 1990. In this capacity, Professor Decker led the charge for creating an interdisciplinary focus for UW Bothell, cherishing the idea of interdisciplinarity and replacing the standard structures of the typical university. Ultimately, her affinity with interdisciplinarity became a nexus for UW Bothell’s efforts in recruiting faculty and in shaping new curricula.

Professor Decker was strongly in favor of breaking new ground in faculty- student relationships to foster an ethic of a shared collective enterprise that respected the creative imagination. Her scholarship on Irish cultural heritage in the age of the European Union directly served students as a springboard to an understanding of the role of public policy in the life of a community. Her activity in this arena demonstrated vividly and even poignantly her commitment to transcending both disciplinary and personal boundaries for it was here that Jane presented so well her keen analytical capacity alongside her passionate devotion to social justice and student learning.

Dr. Jane Decker

Importantly, her contribution to Irish studies also reached and touched Irish and wider European audiences: policy makers, the academics and local people alike. This exemplary ambassadorship presents a wonderful legacy of opportunity to her cherished UW Bothell students and faculty.

Professor Decker believed in access to education for everyone, and was especially drawn to returning and first generation students. She was committed to the notion that education can transform peoples’ lives, in part by expanding their horizons. For example, she promoted global awareness by offering short study abroad experiences that could accommodate the schedules of returning students who worked full time.

As a director, she also developed faculty peer reviews as well as teacher and student portfolios: programmatic self-study that continues to be used annually for programmatic modifications, reappointments, promotion and tenure.

Dr. Jane Decker

Her efforts are evident today in the unique structure of UW Bothell’s academic units and their singular focus on faculty/student interaction, as well as in the burgeoning Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Program, which has now graduated over 2,540 students in its 17 year history.

Participants at the March 14th event will be invited to share their thoughts and memories of a life selflessly dedicated to higher education. All are invited. For more information on the event, contact Linda Taylor, 425-352-5221.

Further, the UW Bothell Founders Fund has been established to honor the many faculty and staff who founded the University. The fund supports students, faculty and staff in the advancement of teaching and learning activities. Donations to the fund can be made online at or by check payable to UW Bothell and mailed to UW Bothell Office of Development, Box 358520, Bothell, WA 98011-8246.

You are invited to share your fond memories of Professor Decker.