Benson to retire in 2017

Provost's career at JMU began in 1980

by Janet Smith

Jerry Benson portrait

SUMMARY: From roles as assistant professor of psychology and director of the Shenandoah Valley Child Development Clinic and JMU Human Development Center to JMU's chief academic officer, Dr. A. Jerry Benson "has always put students' education and best interests at the forefront," said JMU President Jonathan R. Alger in announcing the provost's impending retirement.

Dr. A. Jerry Benson, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at James Madison University, will retire from the university’s senior leadership team June 30, 2017.

“Jerry Benson’s dedication to the university since arriving in 1980 is exemplified by his willingness to accept new roles to advance our mission to prepare students to be educated and enlightened citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives,” said JMU President Jonathan R. Alger. “Jerry has always put students’ education and best interests at the forefront. From assistant professor of psychology to provost, Jerry has committed his career to making the university a place for rigorous scholarship and rich student development.”

Benson assumed his current role in September 2012 after serving as interim provost for two years. Previously, he was vice provost for science, technology, engineering, mathematics, health and human services for nearly three years. During his tenure as vice provost and provost, Benson has guided many initiatives including the formation of the engineering program, doctorate of nursing practice program and The Madison Collaborative: Ethical Reasoning in Action.

The College of Integrated Science and Engineering and the College of Health and Behavioral Studies were formed on Benson’s watch, as were international master’s programs – Spanish Language and Culture for Educators in Salamanca, Spain, and Environmental Management and Sustainability in Malta.

Earlier, Benson was dean of the College of Integrated Science and Technology for more than six years after serving as interim dean for two years. His administrative service to the College of Education and Psychology spanned eight years – seven as dean of the college and one year as acting dean.

From July 1980, when he joined the university as an assistant professor of psychology, until June 1991, Benson was director of the Shenandoah Valley Child Development Clinic and JMU Human Development Center.

Educated in an integrated program of clinical, school and counseling psychology, Benson completed his Ph.D. in transactional-ecological psychology at George Peabody College for Teachers in 1976 after earning his master’s degree in psychology from the Tennessee school in 1973. He was valedictorian at Concord College in West Virginia in 1972.

Dr. Mark Warner, senior vice president for student affairs and university planning, will serve as chair of the search committee for Benson’s replacement. The services of a national search firm will be employed. As specified in the Faculty Handbook, the president is requesting nominations from faculty and administration for membership on the search committee. Nominations must be received by the close of business on April 22, 2016. The search committee will be appointed shortly thereafter. Nominations should be sent to

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Published: Monday, April 11, 2016

Last Updated: Thursday, January 4, 2018

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