facebook pixel Skip to Main Content
Idaho State University home

College of Arts and Letters Announces New Associate Dean

May 4, 2023

Idaho State University is pleased to announce the appointment of Zackery Mirza Heern, PhD, as Associate Dean for the Social and Behavioral Sciences in the College of Arts and Letters. Heern is a distinguished historian who has shown exceptional leadership qualities during his tenure as Chair of the History Department at ISU. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including the Outstanding Service Award at ISU for the past two years. 

“I look forward to continuing to build on CAL’s  impressive record of supporting faculty, staff, and students,” Heern said. “I am particularly excited about the prospect of collaborating with faculty across the College to develop interdisciplinary programs that will benefit ISU students.”

Heern's academic expertise includes the Middle East, Islam, world history, Arabic, and Persian. He has published two books and numerous articles, especially focusing on Shi‘i Islam. His book was featured in The Economist magazine; his research has been funded by the British Academy; and he has been a guest speaker at Harvard University, the Illinois Holocaust Museum, and Manchester University. 

Since his appointment as Chair of the Department of History in 2018, he has worked diligently to grow and stabilize the program. Under his leadership, the number of history students has increased, and the number of history minors has quadrupled. One of Heern's greatest achievements as Chair has been the establishment of the first online undergraduate and graduate history programs in Idaho. He has also helped develop new online delivery methods, including hybrid distance learning courses, to make the program more accessible to students in the service region. During the pandemic, Heern played a crucial role in helping the College and University adopt technology for this new type of distance learning course.

Heern's approach to leadership prioritizes collective decision-making, and he views his role as a facilitator who serves faculty, staff, and students. He has supported a culture of collaboration with departments in CAL and beyond. As a specialist in the Middle East, World History, and Arabic, he has worked with Global Studies and Languages. He has also collaborated with the Political Science Department to develop an interdisciplinary History and Politics MA program. In addition, he has worked with a variety of departments to cross-list History courses.

In his service roles, Heern has supported outreach and administrative activities. He has participated in the Liberal Arts High program by traveling to high schools as a guest speaker and recruiter, supported the Humanities Cafe as a presenter and department sponsor, and served on the College Executive Committee as a liaison to department chairs in the College. Heern also served on multiple university committees, including  Faculty Senate, the presidential charter for campus technology, the EAB leadership team, and strategic planning committees for online education and the Idaho Falls campus. He will begin his role in July.

“Dr. Heern has exactly the right combination of skills to help move the College of Arts and Letters forward by building bridges that will enhance the interdisciplinarity of our programs and support faculty in their scholarly and creative endeavors. Students and faculty alike will benefit from all that he has to offer,” said Dean Kandi Turley Ames. 


College of Arts and LettersUniversity News