Skip to Main Content


You are in the main content

Honors Program Staff

The Honors Program staff is here to assist both students and the public. We look forward to hearing from you!

Barry FalkDirector

Barry Falk, Ph.D.
Contact Info 

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.

Phil FranaAssociate Director

Philip Frana, Ph.D.

Melinda AdamsAssistant Director and Prestigious Scholarships Coordinator

Melinda Adams, Ph.D.
Contact Info 

Dr. Adams is an Assistant 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 DienerAcademic Advisor

Jared Diener, M.St.
Contact Info 

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.

Executive Secretary

Karen Allison
Contact Info 

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 CowgerAdministrative Assistant

Selena Cowger
Contact Info 

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.