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Madison Scholars for 2005, (l-r): JoAnne Brewster, Tamara L. Jetton, James Liu, Iain S. Maclean and Nancy Nichols.

Five Madison Scholars honored at James Madison Day 2005

Story by Nicole Maier (’05)


While police psychology, the literacy processes, the qualitative theory of differential equations, comparative examination of religion and politics, and tax law have little to do with one another, they are topics which earned five professors the honor of being named Madison Scholars for 2005-2006. The award recognizes their scholarly achievement within their respective disciplines. Winners are selected by their individual colleges and must have completed five years at JMU as assistant or full-professors. During the academic year each recipient will present a lecture on their area of research and expertise.

JoAnne Brewster

Prior to becoming a professor of graduate psychology at JMU, Dr. JoAnne Brewster received her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and was trained in Clinical Psychology at UVA. Since 1985, Brewster has been a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Virginia and has had her own private practice with Augusta Psychological Associates in Staunton. “I began teaching part-time at JMU in 1988, while I was still in private practice, and enjoyed it so much that I sought and obtained a full-time position in 1992,” says Brewster.

As secretary and past president of the Society for Police and Criminal Psychology, she joined the professional organization in holding their first international conference in Italy in 2004. There she was awarded by the hosting university for her contributions to the field of police psychology. Much of Brewster’s current research focuses on the investigating accuracy of various psychological tests which predict who will become a good police officer.

“The think I enjoy most is my relationship with my students and colleagues,” says Brewster. Brewster teaches classes at both undergraduate and graduate levels in addition to working closely with a handful of students each semester on research projects related to police psychology.

Tamara L. Jetton

Six years ago, Tamara L. Jetton joined the JMU faculty after earning her Ph. D. while teaching at Texas A&M University. Jetton earned her master’s at Bradley University, after 10 years teaching middle and high school English in Houston.

Jetton’s most recent research focuses on, student’s literacy processes as they engage in different learning environments that include the text of online discussion boards, hypertext, traditional texts and the oral texts of classroom discussions. Jetton has contributed to two books in the last two years and published an article on this topic in The Journal of Research in Technology Education.

The Small-town atmosphere of Harrisonburg drew Jetton to JMU, but she says she has “been pleased by the encouraging atmosphere of her department. I am most impressed with the ability of the faculty of the College of Education to work together in creating an excellent college. My colleagues have been very supportive and friendly. I am also very encouraged that we now have a Dean of education who wants to take the college in a positive future direction.”

James H. Liu

After receiving his B.S. and M.S. in China, James Liu came to the United States and earned his Ph.D. at Southern Illinois University, where he taught for one year before coming to JMU in 1992 as a professor of Mathematics.

Liu’s research interests focus on the topics of qualitative theory of Differential Equations, Integral Equations, and their applications. He has had the honor of having a number of his articles published as well as listed on MathSciNet of the American Mathematical Society. In 2003, Liu published his first textbook, A First Course in the Qualitative Theory of Differential Equations.

For the past 13 years, Liu has found JMU to be conducive to both teaching and conducting research in mathematics. However, he most appreciates the, “good professional relationship among colleagues.”

Iain S. Maclean

“It was a surprise and very encouraging that the university and college were recognizing my work,” says Dr. Iain S. Maclean, professor of religion, in response to being named a Madison Scholar by the College of Arts and Letters.

As a graduate from the Universities of Cape Town, Rhodes, South Africa, Princeton and Harvard, and having taught at Harvard and Washington and Lee University, Maclean came to JMU six years ago. He has received numerous awards such as the Danforth Writing Fellow for undergraduate teaching at Harvard University, as well as, the Edna T. Schaeffer Summer Research Award at James Madison University.

Much of Maclean’s research focuses on the comparative examination of religion and politics. In 1999 he published Opting for Democracy: Liberation Theologians and the Struggle for Democracy in Brazil and has since authored, co-authored and edited a number of books and scholarly articles. Maclean is looking forward to the release of his new book titled, Reconciliation: Nations and Church in Latin America. He is most pleased with the university and his colleagues because, “they encourage research, the thing that I am intensely interested as it stimulates teaching in the class and I believe is important for continuing learning and international education.”

Nancy B. Nichols

“The College of Business has many outstanding researchers, so to be selected as a leading scholar is quite a privilege,” says Dr. Nancy Nichols, professor of accounting.

Before coming to JMU, Nichols received her B.A. in accounting from the University of South Florida, and her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of North Texas. “When I left my doctoral program, I was looking for a university with a strong accounting program and a passion for teaching as was as a smaller community with strong values for raising a family,” says Nichols. “JMU was the perfect fit.”

For the past eight years, Nichols has taught while conducting research on the topics of tax law and international accounting issues. “I thoroughly enjoy working with the students in the accounting program,” says Nichols. “They are bright, hard working, and enthusiastic. In addition to the students, I am extremely fortunate to work with a group of talented and dedicated faulty that challenge me to achieve.”