Welcome to the School of Culture & Environment

Please explore our website and discover more about our fantastic offerings and opportunities.

Students at Fort Lewis College engage in experiential learning inside and outside the classroom, from hands-on activities and labs to field studies, original research, service learning, and internships. These experiences emphasize solving real-world issues.  Our small class sizes ensure students can work closely with our dedicated faculty, even in lower division courses.

The School of Culture and Environment includes disciplines across the Arts and Sciences: from arts and humanities to social and natural sciences. Our programs emphasize interdisciplinary approaches. We teach students career success strategies that demand flexibility in creatively solving problems, critically thinking through issues, working collaboratively, and communicating effectively to diverse audiences.

Our departments include Anthropology, Art & Design, Borders & Languages, English, Environment & Sustainability, History, Native American & Indigenous Studies, Performing Arts, Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology & Human Services. We also have multidisciplinary programs and minors, including Forensic Studies, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Peace & Conflict Studies, Pre-Law, and Regenerative Food Systems. We love to get students into the field and the community! Students may also pursue a complementary double major, minor, or certificate in one of the other excellent departments at Fort Lewis College.

We have many students who participate in internships with government and tribal agencies, museums, private firms, and nonprofit agencies. We also have incredible resources on campus. The Center of Southwest Studies, which combines a museum, archive, and library that provides excellent opportunities for our students to work with faculty and professional staff, engage in archival studies, work with museum collections, and develop exhibits for the public.  

Fort Lewis College graduates are well prepared to enter their chosen careers and participate as thoughtful, engaged members of their communities. They are ready for the challenges of navigating and addressing our rapidly changing social and environmental landscapes.

Join the Fort Lewis College community!

About Dr. Dawn Mulhern

Dawn MulhernDr. Mulhern serves as the Interim Dean for the School of Culture and Environment for AY22-23. She served as Associate Dean of Arts & Sciences from 2020-2022 and Chair of the Anthropology Department from 2015-2022 and is currently a Professor of Anthropology. She received her B.S. from Cornell University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Before coming to Fort Lewis College in 2005, she worked as an osteologist in the Repatriation Osteology Laboratory at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Dr. Mulhern is an expert in identifying human skeletal remains and works with local, state, federal, and tribal agencies on forensic cases, and cases involving prehistoric or historical contexts. Dr. Mulhern has been a forensic anthropologist for the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team, a federal mass disaster response team, since 1999.

Her published work includes bone histology, paleopathology, methods of assessing age at death and mortuary patterns in such journals as the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, the Journal of Forensic Sciences, and the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. Currently, Dr. Mulhern is working on an edited volume about the Basketmaker II people in the Durango area with Mona Charles, culminating in a large multidisciplinary repatriation project supported by History Colorado.

Dr. Mulhern teaches classes in biological anthropology, coordinates the Forensic Studies Minor, and has actively engaged her students in K-12 science outreach. In 2017, Dr. Mulhern designed and delivered an osteology workshop for the Navajo Nation Heritage and Historic Preservation Department. She has also taught at workshops in forensic histology for the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.

Dr. Mulhern received the Fort Lewis College Achievement Award (2019) and Featured Scholar Award (2015-16). She served as the College’s Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation coordinator from 2005-2017 and the Academic Standards Committee co-chair from 2013-2020. She served on the editorial board for the Journal of Forensic Sciences from 2012-2022 and currently serves as Chair of the Education Subcommittee of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) Humanitarian and Human Rights Resource Center.

She is originally from New Jersey, and her fascination with science and discovery (yes, dinosaurs) from an early age was sparked by trips to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. In college, she was immediately drawn to biology and anthropology, with biological anthropology becoming her field of study throughout graduate school. As a research assistant at the Henderson Museum at the University of Colorado at Boulder in the 1990s, she first became involved in repatriation efforts, a foundational part of her career and a continuing aspect of her work at Fort Lewis College.

Dr. Mulhern enjoys teaching and mentoring students and is dedicated to improving student success. She has seen many amazing student success stories at Fort Lewis College and is excited to work with faculty and staff to continue helping students reach their potential in new ways in her role as Interim Dean.