CWU News

Jason Knirck Named Interim Dean of CWU College of Arts and Humanities

Jason Knirck, interim dean of CAH

Jason Knirck has been named the interim Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at CWU.

Longtime Central Washington University history professor Dr. Jason Knirck has been named Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities (CAH). Over his 19-year career at CWU, Knirck has been a department chair, graduate studies advisor, and a union officer. Most recently, he received the University Board of Trustees Distinguished Faculty Award for 2022.

Knirck, who will begin his new role September 16, has taught a wide variety of courses on Irish and British history, as well as other classes on western European history more broadly. His research focuses on the Irish revolution of the 1910s and 1920s, analyzing the intersections of Irish political culture with topics such as gender, empire, democracy, and post-colonial state-building. 

In addition to his academic prowess, Knirck also has helped negotiate and write collective bargaining agreements for CAH faculty in 2013 and 2017. His service to CWU has focused on topics of gender equity, curricular and personnel diversity, academic rigor, marketing, and effective scheduling.

CWU Provost Michelle DenBeste believes Knirck’s experience as an educator and scholar will help him succeed in his new role.

“Dr. Knirck comes to this position with a deep pool of experience in CAH,” DenBeste said. “He is a wonderful classroom professor, he has served as department chair, and he has shown a commitment to community outreach. I look forward to working with him in the year ahead.”

Knirck said he is honored and excited to take on this new career challenge, and he plans to continue looking for new ways to foster a diversity of thought within CAH. The college houses the departments of Art + Design, Communication, English, Music, History, World Languages and Cultures, Theatre Arts, and Philosophy and Religious Studies.

“I am very much looking forward to serving as the interim dean of CAH,” he said. “The college has always struck me as a wonderful blend of departments and programs that are diverse in terms of their goals, methodologies, practices, and curriculum. Exposure to such methodological heterogeneity across the arts and humanities serves CAH students well and can be a critical foundation of the education of all CWU students.”

Knirck lives in Ellensburg with his wife, Mari, who works in the CWU Department of Biological Sciences, and their 9-year-old daughter, Jillian. His latest book, Democracy and Dissent in the Irish Free State: Opposition, Decolonization, and Majority Rights, studies the often-difficult creation of pluralism and a multi-party state in the Irish Free State. It is scheduled for release later this year.

Media contact: Rune Torgersen, Department of Public Affairs,, 509-963-1264