Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor

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Dr. Jim Coleman became Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor and Professor of Biology at UNC Greensboro on July 1, 2020.  In his role as Provost, he has responsibility for oversight of Academic Affairs, Research and Engagement and Student Affairs.

Jim came to UNCG from the University of Arkansas, where he served in the equivalent role since January 2017. As chief academic officer at Arkansas, Jim led efforts to amplify student success outcomes aimed at improving retention, graduation rates, closing achievement gaps, and post-graduation success. He drove the implementation of several strategies, including using data analytics to identify students with the highest likelihood of not completing a degree and launching a proactive, holistic advising program to support those students. Jim also played a leadership role in the conceptualization of a $45 million stand-alone student success center. Jim helped lead the process to identify signature research areas at the University of Arkansas, including a new interdisciplinary and integrative institute that was recently supported by a $194.7 dollar gift, and he played a leadership role in the development of a proposal that led to a $23.7 million gift to build research and commercialization infrastructure. During his tenure, research reached record levels of $180 million in 2019, increasing by over $35 million. He is a proven champion of increasing diversity, creating an inclusive environment, and designing and implementing programs for equity for and among students, faculty, and staff.

Previously Jim held a series of leadership roles in higher education including service as the provost and professor of biology at Northern Arizona University, dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences and biology professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, vice provost for research and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Rice University, vice chancellor for research and biology professor at the University of Missouri, and vice president for research and business development at the Desert Research Institute. He also served as a program officer overseeing the Ecological and Evolutionary Physiology program at the National Science Foundation and started his academic career as a faculty member at Syracuse University. He received his Doctor of Philosophy from Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies as well as a Master of Philosophy and Master of Science. He received his Bachelor of Science in forestry from the University of Maine.  He conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford and Harvard University.

Jim is also a plant physiological ecologist, authoring or co-authoring 80 papers that together have been cited approximately 8,000 times. He has been the principal/co-principal investigator on over $64 million of grants and cooperative agreements.  His most recent research focus has been the ecological effects of environmental change, particularly elevated CO2 and how elevated CO2 interacts with changes in patterns of temperature, nutrients and water to affect plant physiology and performance, plant communities, ecosystem productivity and carbon and nutrient flux in both natural and laboratory settings. You can read about his research at

Jim was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2020 for his “distinguished contributions in plant physiological ecology, and for facilitating the development of increased research capacity for institutions of higher learning across the United States.”