Professor of Art History, Vice Provost for University Programs
Contact Info

  • Ph.D. (History of Art) Yale University, 1988
  • M.A.  (History of Art) Yale University, 1982
  • B.A.  (Art History) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1980
Areas of Expertise

As a professor, Dr. Halpern's areas of expertise are 17th- and18th-century European art, 17th- and18th-century American art, and the history of garden design.

Previous Experience

Halpern has served as the dean of university studies at JMU since 2006.  She was dean of general education 1996-2006.  Prior to that, she was a faculty member in the School of Art and Art History 1986-1995, teaching art history classes and Freshman Seminar. From January 1992 to December 1995, she was the art history program coordinator.

Professional Affiliations
  • Southeastern College Art Conference
  • College Art Association
  • Garden History Society
  • Collections Committee at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library
  • Board Chair of the American Conference of Academic Deans
  • Halpern sits ex-officio on the Board of Directors of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Honors and Awards

Halpern has received several grants from JMU to support research and travel:

  • Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art to support research travel in England (2003)
  • Graduate Fulbright Scholarship (1983-84, re-awarded 1984-85)
  • Finkelstein Scholarship to Attingham Summer School in England (1982)
  • Kress Travelling Fellowship (summer 1982)
  • Anne S. Richardson Fellowship
  • Yale University Fellowship

While she was at UNC she received the art history award for 1980 and became a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 1978.


Halpern’s primary professional service is in her administrative role as dean of university studies.  While a full-time faculty member, she served on many JMU committees, including the JMU Collections Committee, the General Education Design Committee, the Goals and Objectives Subcommittee of the General Education Design Committee, the College C & I Committee, the College Faculty Advisory Committee, and Faculty Senate, and numerous search committees. 

She has served for many years as an officer of the Shenandoah Valley Association of Phi Beta Kappa Association.

She was the faculty member in residence for the Semester in London Program in the fall of 1994. Most recently, she co-chaired the application committee seeking a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at JMU.


Halpern's publications include:

  • “Wrest Park 1686-1730s: Exploring Dutch Influence,” Garden History 30:2 (Winter 2002, published July 2003), pp. 131-152
  • Two entries in the Encyclopedia of Gardens: History and Design, on the poet and garden designer Alexander Pope and on “The Garden in Visual Arts,” Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, London, 2001, pp. 1070-1072 and 1392-1395
  • "The Duke of Kent's Garden at Wrest Park," Journal of Garden History, June-Sept., 1995, pp. 149- 178;
  • "The Uses of Paintings in Garden History," Garden History: Issues Approaches, Methods, ed. John Dixon Hunt, Dumbarton Oaks, 1992, pp. 183-202
  • Three entries in Selections: Yale University Art Gallery, ed. A. Shestack, New Haven, 1984, Blast: The British Answer to Futurism, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1983, "Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Turner, and Stourhead," in D. Bull, Classic Ground, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1981, Chronology and incidental text, Fernando Botero, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., 1979


Her professional papers include:

  • “Joseph Spence, Protestantism and the English Landscape Garden,” SECAC (Southeastern College Art Conference), Raleigh, NC, October 2003
  • "The Taste for Claude and the English Landscape Garden," SECAC, Washington, DC, Oct. 1995
  • "The Uses of Paintings in Garden History," Annual Symposium, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC, May 1989
  • "The Duke of Kent at Wrest Park," SECAC, Knoxville, Oct. 1987
  • "The Art of Painting and the English Garden," Symposium for Art Historians in Virginia, Longwood College, April 1987
  • "Pieter Tillemans and the Development of the Gardens at Wrest Park," Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London, April 1984


Additionally, she has published a number of book reviews, articles and book chapters and given numerous presentations and workshops on topics related to general education, assessment and other issues related to higher education.

Back to Top