Fern Tiger

Professor Without Tenure
253-692-4850 or 510-208-7700
Campus Box
The Pennsylvania State University
Pratt Institute
Pratt Institute

Education - Post Grad

  • The Pennsylvania State University (Man Environment Relations / Psycholodgy of Art; emphasis on the impact of visual form on audiences; the politics and sociology of art and media)
  • Carnegie Mellon University (Joint Program in Art and Cognitive Psychology)


  • 2004-2012 Professor of Practice, Arizona State University, College of Public Programs
  • 1978 - present President and Creative Director, Fern Tiger Associates (www.ferntiger.com)
  • 1978 Editorial Board, Left Curve (journal focusing on art and popular culture)
  • 1973-1977 Assistant Professor, Washington University, St. Louis MO
  • 1971-1973 Instructor, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park PA

Fern Tiger joined the UW Tacoma faculty in 2012. An artist by training (with post-graduate work in man-environment relations and cognitive psychology), Fern's early interest in the importance of integrating diverse disciplines in order to address contemporary issues, led to a career as a strategist, combining the innovative, perceptive, and holistic insights of an artist/designer with the practical and systemic tools of planners and researchers.

In addition to her position at UWT, Fern is president and creative director of the Oakland, CA-based Fern Tiger Associates, FTA, (www.ferntiger.com). For three decades, FTA has focused on the human aspects of problems and solutions; on the impact of public policies on communities and mission-driven organizations; and on the means by which the successes of one community or one organization can be incorporated into programs in other communities. The firm's history is filled with projects that have influenced the direction of scores of communities, organizations, and public agencies, helping each to be strategic and effective, and to grow and mature. While the client base is varied, the firm has long been known for its work with organizations, foundations, and governments focused on improving the lives of low-income families and children, increasing civic engagement, improving public education, building community, and supporting philanthropy. With deep roots in progressive issues and a long-standing commitment to the purpose and value of the nonprofit sector, FTA has integrated a unique set of creative and pragmatic skills into all of its work.

In 2004, Fern was appointed by the President of Arizona State University to be one of the first Professors of Practice at the University. She served in this capacity through 2012, teaching graduate level courses through the College of Public Programs, School of Public Affairs. Early in her career, Fern was on the faculties of Penn State University and Washington University, St. Louis, where she taught interdisciplinary courses focused on the means by which art and media influence public opinion, civic engagement, and social consciousness.

Both in her capacity as a professor and as the spearheading force of Fern Tiger Associates, Fern has been focused on five core areas of work, all of which she believes must be seamlessly integrated: community-based research; strategic planning and communication; advocacy documentation; civic engagement; and public policy and evaluation. The firm's unique interdisciplinary skills (including graphic design, photography, web development, and writing) blur the edges and traditional definitions of planning, research, community development, evaluation, and public affairs.

While it may appear that Fern has moved far from her roots in the world of art, she sees her work as the logical extension of that training, which resulted in problem-solving skills, creative and holistic thinking, and innovative approaches to policy and civic engagement. She believes strongly that investigation, engagement, and participation are essential to address today's ever more complex problems.