Dr. José Herrera Named UNI Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Jose HererraThe University of Northern Iowa is pleased to announce that Dr. José Herrera will serve as its next Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, pending Board of Regents approval.

Herrera, a seasoned higher education academic affairs leader with more than 30 years of experience in teaching, research and administration, currently serves as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. He has held academic affairs leadership roles at Western New Mexico University and Truman State University, and was Program Director for the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation.

Herrera began his higher education career as a biology professor, and received his Ph.D. from Kansas State University and his master's and bachelor’s degrees in biological sciences from Northern Illinois University. An extensive author and lecturer on varying environmental sciences themes, his experience also includes researching and advising on the challenges and opportunities of first-generation college students and minority-serving institutions.

While presenting to UNI faculty, staff and community members in early May, Herrera demonstrated an ability to shepherd strategic initiatives and build relationships with a wide variety of individuals. Having come through the faculty ranks, he expressed a deep understanding of the essential role faculty play in the life of an institution. 

“Dr. Herrera brings an impressive combination of scholarly rigor and administrative expertise that will help UNI further deliver on its mission of academic excellence and student success,” said UNI President Mark Nook. “We were fortunate to attract a large pool of extremely qualified candidates during this national search, and are looking forward to welcoming Dr. Herrera and his family to the University of Northern Iowa and Cedar Valley community.”

Herrera steps into the critical position at a pivotal time in UNI’s history as we lay the foundation for our future. As UNI approaches its 150th anniversary, the university is focused on growing our academic and outreach programs to serve the state for the next quarter century. We are also enhancing our living, learning and working environments to increase access and retention of our students and employees, growing a campus and Cedar Valley community that are welcoming and inclusive to all.

“I am excited to contribute to a community and state that values learning and academic excellence for all its students,” Herrera said. “I look forward to serving UNI, the Cedar Valley, and the state of Iowa to make these communities even better.”

Academic Affairs is the largest division at UNI, consisting of four academic colleges, Continuing and Distance Education, the Graduate College, and numerous student and faculty support units and departments. The university offers more than 90 majors across 34 academic departments with personalized educational experiences from 641 total faculty members.

Herrera and his wife, Becky, have three children, Lincoln, Cielo and Samuel. The family plans to relocate to the Cedar Valley this summer. Herrera will begin his new role on Monday, July 12.

Dr. Patrick Pease, Associate Provost and Professor of Geography, will serve as Interim Provost from June 1 until Herrera’s arrival in July.