Dr. James A. Wilson, Jr. is an Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and the Director of the Honors Program at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU). He joined the ranks of the Academic Affairs Division at PVAMU in September of 2009. Prior to accepting this position, Dr. Wilson was a professor in the history department at the University of Texas at Austin, specializing in the political history of Kenya, British colonialism, and post-colonial African affairs as it relates to globalization. Dr. Wilson also researches and teaches courses that examine the social and political history of African women and gender discrimination during the colonial era in East and Southern African countries, as well as the History of HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Dr. Wilson received his Ph.D. in History from Princeton University in 2002 and immediately began his academic career at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In addition to his Ph.D., Dr. Wilson holds a Master’s of Arts degree in History from Princeton University, a Master’s in African and African-American History from Cornell University, and a Certificate in African Languages from the University of Florida. From 1999 to 2000, Dr. Wilson was a research fellow at Oxford and Cambridge Universities in England as well as the University of Nairobi in Kenya. Dr. Wilson received is undergraduate degree in Political Science and English from the University of Texas in Austin in 1984. Every year the Alumni Association at the University of Texas recognizes four UT Alumni with the “Outstanding Young Texas Exes Award,” and Dr. Wilson was one of the 2004 recipients. He is a lifetime UT Alumni Association member.
In March of 2010, Dr. Wilson was selected as one the first Faculty Fellows with IIPP (Institute for International Public Policy) in Washington D.C., and he participated in a Summer Institute in June of 2010 to network and establish contacts to place PVAMU undergraduate students in prestigious internships with IIPP partners such as the World Bank, the United Nations, CARE International, UNICEF, Africare, and the International Rescue Committee. During the summer of 2012, Dr. Wilson was selected to participate in Harvard University’s Institute for Management and Leadership in Education, where he joined 100 other university Provosts, Deans, and Directors to examine current policies and trends in U.S. Higher Education.
Throughout his tenure at PVAMU, Wilson has established and enhanced foreign language and study abroad opportunities for students to study Chinese and Arabic. He also developed a foreign language partnership with Middlebury College. Under his direction more than 98 students have studied abroad in Ghana, South Africa, Korea, China, Morocco, France, Italy and Taiwan. After three years of working diligently to establish a Confucius Institute (CI) on the campus of PVAMU, Wilson received a notification from the Headquarters of Hanban/Confucius Institute in Beijing, China that PVAMU was approved to join the ranks of 500 universities around the world to develop a comprehensive Chinese language and cultural program.
For over twenty-five years, Dr. Wilson has traveled extensively throughout the African continent as well as various countries that have economic relationships to develop Africa. 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.