President Alger announces updates to JMU senior leadership team


by Bill Wyatt


President Jonathan R. Alger announced today updates to James Madison University’s Senior Leadership Team (formerly know as “Division Heads”).

Over the past several months, the Provost Search Committee has been working diligently to identify the most qualified candidates.  After an extensive and inclusive national search process, President Alger has selected Dr. A. Jerry Benson as JMU’s new provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

“The search committee, chaired by Senior Vice President Mark Warner, did a wonderful job of conducting a transparent and open search which produced a number of strong candidates and in which input was received from a wide variety of campus constituencies,” said JMU President, Jonathan Alger.  “Benson’s deep knowledge of the institution will be an important asset as we work closely together in the future on the academic vision for James Madison University, and his appointment will provide us with added momentum as we proceed to address our educational needs and goals,” said Alger.

Benson came to JMU in 1980 as a faculty member.  Throughout his time at JMU, Benson has held numerous academic positions including director, dean and vice provost.  Most recently, Benson served as interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs beginning in July of 2010.  Benson’s new post is effective immediately.

Additional Senior Leadership Team updates include:

Donna Harper’s position has been reconfigured as vice president for access and enrollment management.  Harper has served on the Senior Leadership Team and has been a direct report to the president since 2001.  She has responsibility for a wide variety of areas including (among others) admissions, financial aid, diversity, and special projects and initiatives, as well as serving as Secretary to the Board of Visitors.  Harper will continue to provide leadership for these functions that are becoming much more complex and essential to the achievement of our goals and objectives, and she will be charged with management of this new division.

In keeping with evolving best practices nationally, University Counsel Susan Wheeler will now report directly to President Alger and be a part of the Senior Leadership Team.  Ms. Wheeler will continue to oversee the university’s legal affairs and provide valuable counsel to the entire institution in an era in which regulation and compliance issues permeate every aspect of the university’s operations and activities. 

Both changes are effective immediately.

JMU’s Senior Leadership Team:

  • Dr. A. Jerry Benson, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Mr. Art Dean, Special Assistant to the President for Diversity
  • Ms. Donna Harper, Vice President for Access and Enrollment Management
  • Mr. Charles King, Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance
  • Mr. Nick Langridge, Acting Vice President for University Advancement
  • Dr. Mark Warner, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs and University Planning
  • Ms. Susan Wheeler, Assistant Attorney General and University Counsel

Contact Don Egle, ABC, APR, Senior Director of Communications and University Spokesperson at 540-560-7770 or with any questions.

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Published: Friday, September 28, 2012

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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