Jeff Crane


Jeff Crane
(707) 826-4491
Gist Hall 125A

Dr. Jeff Crane joined Cal Poly Humboldt in 2022 because of its emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as social justice and climate change preparation.  He is appreciative of joining a group of faculty, staff, and students who care so deeply about injustice and see the university as a critical space for addressing these issues.

Jeff is an Army veteran and first-generation student, earning his Bachelors in American Studies at The Evergreen State College and his Ph.D. at Washington State University. 

For his Ph.D. Jeff focused on 19th and 20th Century American History, the American West, and Environmental History.  His dissertation research led to two publications. The edited collection Natural Protest: Essays on the History of American Environmentalism in 2008, co-edited with Michael Egan, and Finding the River: An Environmental History of the Elwha in 2011.

Finding the River was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award.  This book examines the ways that different communities from the Lower Elwha Klallam Indians to current-day residents have viewed and used the river and its resources, giving close attention to the harnessing of the Elwha for hydroelectric production.  Hydroelectric production has resulted in a decline of its fisheries and the river ecosystem. Jeff describes efforts begun in the 1980s to remove the dams and restore the salmon. He explores the rise of a river restoration movement in the late twentieth century and the roles that free-flowing rivers could play in preserving salmon as global warming presents another set of threats to these endangered fish.

In 2013 Jeff published an environmental history textbook titled The Environment in American History: Nature and the Formation of the United States and in 2018, as co-editor with Char Miller, published The Nature of Hope: Grassroots Organizing, Environmental Justice, and Political Change. This collection included a chapter authored by Jeff titled Raising Change: Community Farming as Long-Term Ecological Protest. He has also published numerous book reviews, articles, and essays. 

Jeff began his career as an administrator at the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.  He served for twelve years as a faculty member moving from the position of adjunct faculty to associate professor of history.  Jeff took on the role of Associate Dean at the University of the Incarnate Word in 2013.

During his time at Incarnate Word, Jeff transitioned into a very deliberate focus on community farming as a strategy for both addressing food justice in food apartheid communities and for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Working with community organizations, faculty, and students, he helped build four community gardens.

In 2016, he became the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington. During his five and a half years as Dean, he also served two years as Interim Dean of the School of Business and one and a half years as the Interim Dean for the College of Education and Counseling. During his time as Dean and Interim Deans, he developed strengths in advancement, program development and management, faculty development and growth, and social media marketing. 

As Dean at Saint Martin’s University, he collaborated with faculty to create Our Common Home Farms and led this program for four years. The program managed four sites using a range of strategies ranging from organic, regenerative commercial agriculture to agroecology planting and management. Over four years Our Common Home Farms averaged approximately 9,000 lbs. of produce donated to those in need per year. Jeff averaged over 500 hours of volunteer labor each year over those four years, much of that working in the fields with staff and students.