DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. -- Mercy College has appointed José Herrera as provost and vice president of Academic Affairs effective Jan. 17.
Herrera comes to Mercy from Western New Mexico University, where he's been the associate vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
"With a wide range of experience in higher education, Herrera's leadership, background and skill set will expand the potential and build upon the achievements of Mercy College," the school noted in a news release.
"Dr. Herrera embraces the mission of Mercy College," said Mercy College President Tim Hall. "His commitment to seeing students succeed, from all walks of life, is what made him stand out. As a scientist, an administrator and a leader, he will work collaboratively with students, faculty and staff to build a solid vision for the future of Mercy College."
The college said it engaged in a comprehensive search, and it had a highly qualified applicant pool to select from.
"Dr. Herrera is committed to high-quality academic programs and to student success," said Provost Search Committee Chair Dr. Helen Buhler. "With experience in institution-wide planning, academic program development and external funding cultivation, he brings energy and enthusiasm and will be a great addition to the Mercy College community."
At WNMU, a designated Hispanic Serving Institution, Herrera also transformed that university's grant opportunities. He developed its Grants Office, bringing in new opportunities for students and faculty. Under his leadership, the amount of external funds quadrupled from the prior year.
Herrera also helped restructure the general education curriculum, working to reduce the amount of credit hours for associate and baccalaureate degrees while still maintaining a strong academic curriculum.
He was the founding dean of WNMU's College of Arts and Sciences, building the it from the ground up and developing its strategic plan. During his time at WNMU, Herrera maintained his classroom presence, continuing as a professor.
Mercy also noted that he's a strong proponent of technology in curricular and co-curricular learning. Before being hired at WNMU, Herrera was a program director for the National Science Foundation, where he oversaw various programs within the Division of Undergraduate Education.
A first-generation college student, Herrera came out of Chicago's public school system and overcame financial obstacles to earn his bachelor of science and master of science degrees in biology from Northern Illinois University. He also earned a doctorate in microbiology from Kansas State University. He spent the early part of his career as a high school biology teacher in Illinois.
Herrera will replace Concetta Stewart, who has served as Mercy College's provost and vice president of Academic Affairs since August 2012, and who served as interim president during the 2013-2014 academic year.
"She has wholeheartedly and diligently committed herself to the academic excellence of Mercy College and the success of its students and faculty," Hall said. "We wish her all the best in the next phase of her career and look forward to a smooth transition in the months ahead."
Mercy College has campuses in Dobbs Ferry, Yorktown Heights, Manhattan and the Bronx.