Honors Program Staff
The Honors Program staff is here to assist both students and the public. We look forward to hearing from you!
Barry Falk, Ph.D.
The Director of the JMU Honors Program oversees daily operations and leads in program planning and development. He initiates additional programs where appropriate, coordinates existing honors programs and supervises the honors students' participation in these programs. He is responsible for recruiting, advising and counseling honors students and developing and evaluating the honors curriculum. The Director reports directly to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.
Dr. Falk holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Minnesota and an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a professor of economics and taught at Iowa State University for twenty-five years before coming to James Madison University in July 2007. He worked with the Honors Program at Iowa State for fifteen years and was responsible for Iowa State's first undergraduate research symposium. Dr. Falk's areas of research and teaching are in macroeconomics, time series econometrics, and economic forecasting. He has supervised fifteen doctoral students, served on over fifty doctoral and masters committees, lectured regularly in hs field, and authored or co-authored twenty-two articles in peer-reviewed journals in the economics profession and numerous articles in other journals.
Philip Frana, Ph.D.
Dr. Frana is Associate Director of the JMU Honors Program and Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies. His primary areas of responsibility are Honors admissions, assessment, faculty liaisons, Honors General Education classes, traditional seminars and areas of emphasis, Honors senior projects, social media and marketing, and newsletter communication.
Frana's primary domains for teaching and research are science and technology studies, oral history, intellectual history, and technology in education. His publications are mainly in the history of medicine and public health, the history of computing, the history of expertise and the professions, and Honors education. He is currently working on a book manuscript documenting the history of health informatics called "Calculating Care: Evidence, Computers, and Medicine in the 20th Century." He has taught seminars on the Search for Self, the Search for Community, the Artificial Other (robotics, artificial intelligence, and society), Art & Technology, Oral History, Documentary Filmmaking, and the Study of Memory, the History of the Life Sciences, History of Medicine, History of Science, History of Engineering, Technology and the Law, Virtual Worlds and Online Communities, and Senior Seminars on Economic Globalization, Transhumanism, and Futuristics. He has also taught courses on research and writing across the disciplines.
Dr. Frana is past Director of Undergraduate Research in the Honors College at the University of Central Arkansas, and an NSF Project Director at the University of Minnesota’s Charles Babbage Institute. He graduated with his bachelor's degrees in History and Economics from Wartburg College in 1991, and completed his master's and doctoral degrees in the History of Technology and Science at Iowa State University in 1999.
Melinda Adams, Ph.D.
Dr. Adams is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and has worked as a freshman advisor and is also an advisor to students interested in studying in Africa, which is her area of research specialization. She also comes with experience as a grants reviewer for the Department of Education and as a recipient of numerous nationally prestigious scholarships including the Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS), a dissertation fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), a Global Studies Fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation, as well as many other awards. She will help identify and mentor top students on our campus so that they will become successful applicants for nationally competitive awards such as the Fulbright, Rhodes, Goldwater, Marshall and Truman.
Jared Diener, M.St.
Jared Diener provides academic advising services for current and prospective Honors students at JMU. Prior to joining the Honors Program in January 2013, he served for five years as Program Coordinator for the Department of Religious Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. He holds a M.St. in Modern History from Oxford University and an undergraduate degree in History from The University of Texas at Austin.
Karen Allison provides support for the Honors Program by disseminating program information, maintaining and updating student records, typing and editing office correspondence, documents, requisitions and associated financial management forms, scheduling appointments and programs, supervising student assistants, and various other duties.
Selena Cowger provides support for the Honors Program by disseminating program information, maintaining and updating student records, typing and editing office correspondence, documents, scheduling appointments and programs, and various other duties.