Dr. James A. Wilson, Jr. is the associate provost for Academic Affairs at Prairie View A&M University. In this capacity, Wilson assists in the university’s strategic planning and development as well as strengthens PVAMU’s institutional and curricular enhancement.
Wilson joined PVAMU in 2009 as an associate professor of history and director of the Honors Program. The following year, he was named associate provost and associate vice president for Academic Affairs.
Wilson began his academic career at Wake Forest University. He later served as a professor of history at the University of Texas where he specialized in the political history of Kenya, British colonialism, and post-colonial African affairs as it relates to globalization. He also held affiliated appointments with the Center for African and African-American Studies, the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice and the UT Plan II Honors Program.
Throughout his tenure at PVAMU, Wilson has established and enhanced foreign language and study abroad opportunities for students to study Chinese and Arabic. He oversaw the opening of PVAMU’s Confucius Institute in 2014 and formally launched a partnership with Xi’an International Studies University. He also developed a foreign language partnership with Middlebury College. Under his direction, more than 225 students have studied abroad in Ghana, South Africa, Korea, China, Morocco, France and Italy. His work extends to student-leadership development. Wilson created a leadership and mentoring program for African-American men called, Brothers Leading and Cultivating Knowledge, also known as B.L.A.C.K. He later established a sister organization, Purple Jackets, for outstanding young female student leaders.
For more than 25 years, Wilson has traveled extensively throughout the African continent and the world. His love for the study of African history and culture began during his tour with the U.S. Peace Corps in Kenya from 1985 to 1988, where he taught English and African literature at Kitumbi High School located 7,000 feet in the mountains of Taita Hills, Kenya. He has personally assisted 50 candidates to apply and become Peace Corps Volunteers.
Wilson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in political science and education from the University of Texas at Austin. He went on to receive his Master of Professional Studies degree in African and African-American History from Cornell University. He continued his studies and earned a certificate in African Languages from the University of Florida and served as a research fellow at Oxford and Cambridge Universities as well as the University of Nairobi. He then attended Princeton University, where he earned a master’s and a doctoral degree in history.
Wilson is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the Phi Beta Kappa Award for Distinction in Teaching from UT. He is also a 2004 recipient of the “Outstanding Young Texas Exes Award” given by the University of Texas. In 2003, he was awarded the Franklin H. Williams Award for Outstanding Community Service from the United States Peace Corps. During his academic career, he was honored with a number of awards, including The Rollins Prize in History from Princeton University and the “Keepers of the Dream” Outstanding Academic Award from the University of Florida.