Dr. Jim Coleman became the Dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in July, 2011, where he is also Professor of Biology.
The College of Humanities and Sciences is the largest unit at VCU with approximately 15,000 undergraduate students majoring in the College’s programs. Most all of VCU undergraduate students take classes from the College’s faculty. In Academic Year 2010-11, approximately 1,140 graduate students were enrolled in the College’s graduate school programs working toward master’s and doctoral degrees.
A foundational value of the College is dedication and commitment to our students. We are extraordinarily proud of what they have accomplished! In 2011, the College had a Fulbright Research Fellow, three Boren Scholars (international study) and two Goldwater Scholars amongst its student body.
The College’s faculty pursues research, scholarship and creative activities in a range of fields which includes but is not limited to psychology, biology, nanotechnology, world cultures, religions and languages, creative writing, forensic science, journalism, and public policy, to name a few. The College’s programs connect scholars and students across disciplines on both the Monroe Park and the MCV campuses- these interdisciplinary connections are a key objective of VCU’s strategic plan, Quest for Distinction.
Prior to joining VCU, Jim was the Vice Provost for Research and Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Rice University, where he was charged with facilitating the growth of research at Rice. He was responsible for oversight of Rice’s $100M research enterprise, bringing Rice’s research funding to record levels and overseeing Rice’s top-ten ranked patent portfolio. Prior to joining Rice, Jim was the Vice Chancellor for Research and Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri – Columbia (MU) and he was Vice President for Research and Business Development at the Desert Research Institute (DRI) – an internationally renowned environmental science research institute. Jim was an Assistant Professor, and then Associate Professor of Biology at Syracuse University. He served as a Program Officer for Ecological and Evolutionary Physiology at the National Science Foundation (NSF) where he also ran programs for Dissertation Improvement Awards and a joint agency program in Terrestrial Ecology and Global Change.
While at Syracuse University, Jim received a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award and was recognized for outstanding graduate teaching with Syracuse University’s William Wasserstrom Prize. The British journal The Scientist reported in 1996 that a paper co-authored by Jim in 1993 (Oecologia.93: 195-200) was the number six most cited paper in the field of global change biology. He has been co-author on two significant additional publications in the journal Nature on global change biology, including the September 18, 2008, cover article. Jim has also been the principal or co-principal investigator on over $40,000,000 in external grants and contracts mostly from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, among others.
Jim has a B.S. (Forestry) from the University of Maine and an M.S., M.Phil and Ph.D. from Yale University. He conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford and Harvard Universities.