James McDonald

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

University of Montevallo

James McDonald

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

University of Montevallo

James H. McDonald holds a PhD from Arizona State University, an MS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a BA from the University of Arizona – all in anthropology. Prior to coming to the University of Montevallo as Provost, he has served as Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at Southern Utah University from 2008-2017. From 1995-2008 he earned the rank of Professor of Anthropology and held a variety of administrative positions at the University of Texas at San Antonio, including Department Chair, Senior Associate Dean, and Associate Vice Provost. He began his academic career at the University of Michigan-Flint in 1992.

He is an applied cultural anthropologist with 30 years of fieldwork experience in rural Mexico and the Maya Western Highlands of Guatemala. Much of his research centers on problems concerning rural development, inequality, globalization, power, governance dynamics, and the anthropology of higher education. He also served as a Fulbright Senior Specialist at the School of Governance and Economics in Rabat Morocco.


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15 to Finish

Boost the number of students who are on track for on-time graduation by encouraging enrollment in 15 credits each semester (30 credits per year, including summers). Financial aid dollars, as well as institutional process and practice, should support that standard.

Math Pathways

Ensure all students enroll in and complete gateway math in their first year by designing math courses that are aligned with the skills students need for their chosen program of study.

Corequisite Support

Increase gateway course completion within the first year by enrolling entering students into the college-level math and English courses, providing those who need additional help a concurrent course or lab that offers just-in-time academic support.

Momentum Year

Build momentum so students meet first-year benchmarks: informed choice of meta major or major, enrollment in 30 credits with nine in the program of study and completion of gateway courses. Provide early support and guidance for decision making, using interest assessments and labor-market data.

Academic Maps with Proactive Advising

Default students onto highly-structured academic maps that include 15 credits per semester (or 30 per year), indicate milestone and pre-requisite courses, and empower advisors to effectively monitor progress and provide intervention as needed.

A Better Deal for Returning Adults

Increase degree attainment by inviting adult learners back to complete their education, providing a redesigned system that offers accelerated courses, year-round enrollment and predictable schedules. Give credit for prior learning and experience and additional support to help students navigate the system.

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