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What is the Professors in Residence Program?

The Professors-In-Residence program (PIR) is a James Madison University (JMU) educational outreach to promote postsecondary attainment and college aspirations of underserved and underrepresented students at Virginia’s middle and high schools. Each of the participating public schools in the program is assigned a JMU faculty person who makes a weekly visit to work with counselors, administrators and students in matters/issues determined by the partner school.

Focusing on schools with diverse student populations, who have historically lacked sufficient opportunities for attending colleges and universities, the PIR program targets schools where a very high percentage of the students receive free lunch.

The idea for the PIR resulted from the Presidential Commission on Diversity at JMU which Dr. Rose created in the fall of 2003 to design a university blueprint for the enhancement of diversity that would be consistent with the institution′s mission. As part of the conversation on diversity, the JMU Faculty Senate, on October 2, 2003, endorsed the establishment of a school program that would ″enable the opportunities of attending university for underrepresented and underserved Virginia students. ″

Approved by the president, the PIR program is an integral part of the JMU diversity plan and therefore consistent with the university′s mission, its core values and “defining characteristics” that:

  • The university will be innovative in programs and services.
  • The university will be a diverse community whose members share in, and contribute to a common JMU experience.
  • The university will serve our state, region and nation, and will be recognized on a national basis.
  • The university will maintain our heritage of nurturing and cultivating enduring relationships with its constituencies.

JMU Environmental Stewardship 

Program Objectives

The PIR program is designed for the purpose of providing academic support to a select number of participating Virginia Middle and High Schools. Host schools are usually diverse, have a high percentage free lunch student population, and desire support for educating students and parents about post-secondary educational opportunities.

The major intent of the program is twofold.

  • To academically empower Virginia high schools, through the sharing of university technologies, research-based information, and personnel resources to address the educational and social challenges facing underserved/underrepresented middle and high school students, their families, and communities
    See link here: Mindfulness Training for Students 
  • To increase the number of underrepresented Virginia high school students who enroll at colleges and universities. 

To this end, and to sustain relations with the participating schools, JMU faculty members are assigned to specific schools. Each faculty member meets weekly with students, administrators, counselors, and/or teachers at the assigned school.

If you would like to virtually tour the campus, click here for a walking tour of JMU!

If you would like to learn more about specific initiatives that the PIR faculty has prepared, please click on the following links to the public speaker series organized by our PIR Waynesboro faculty and the Wayne Theater.

How to become a PIR faculty

Faculty members in the PIR program sign a two to three-year contract. Faculty participants receive half teaching and service load reduction and visit the assigned school once a week. Those interested in the program must reach out to Dr. David Owusu-Ansah (


Professors and Partner Schools:

JMU has many dedicated professors and graduate students from across campus who are instrumental for the success of the PIR program. They spend at least one day per week visiting the assigned school.

The partner schools are as follows:

Middle Schools

Thomas Harrison Middle School

Skyline Middle School

Elkhardt-Thompson Middle School

Lucille Brown Middle School

Kate Collins Middle School

Lucy Addison Middle School

Prince Edward County


High Schools

Harrisonburg High

Waynesboro High

George Wythe High

Huguenot High

William Fleming High

Prince Edward County High


Affiliate Schools—These are former PIR schools at which there are no PIR faculty currently assigned. However, the PIR program maintains links by which the affiliate schools may make occasional PIR program requests. Affiliate schools include Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk, Washington Lee High School and Wakefield High School both in Arlington.

Additional Information:

For additional information you can contact Dr. David Owusu-Ansah, Professor of History and Executive Director, Access and Educational Outreach, at

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