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Dean
Year Started at JMU: 2022
blacksbx@jmu.edu
Contact Info

Bethany Blackstone is the Dean of the James Madison University Honors College. 

Dr. Blackstone's work with Honors students began in 2015 when she accepted a position as a live-in faculty member in a first-year Honors College residence hall. For three years, she and her family lived alongside Honors undergraduates. This experience nurtured an appreciation for Honors education's vital role in engaging and supporting high-achieving students at large research universities. Dr. Blackstone's priorities as an Honors leader are to ensure access to Honors education for students from groups historically underserved in American higher education, provide viable Honors College pathways for students in all majors, and cultivate mutually beneficial partnerships with other campus units.

Dr. Blackstone also holds an appointment as professor of political science. Her research considers the U.S. Supreme Court's role in American policymaking and the development of legal rules in the U.S. courts of appeals. Her work has appeared in the Journal of PoliticsLaw & Society Review, PS: Political Science & PoliticsPresidential Studies Quarterly, and Research and Politics, among others. She is an award-winning teacher whose recognitions include the University of North Texas's (UNT) 'Fessor Graham Award--the highest honor given by the student body at UNT--and the American Political Science Association Law and Court's Section's Teaching and Mentoring Award. She teaches courses on American government, the U.S. Congress, judicial politics, and constitutional law.  

Dr. Blackstone earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science at Emory University and a B.A. in political science from Indiana University. She served as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow from 2008-2009. Before coming to JMU in 2022, Dr. Blackstone was the Associate Dean for the Honors College at the University of North Texas.

 She lives in Harrisonburg with her husband, two children, and three dogs. 

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