James P. Henderson, recently retired vice president for academic and student affairs for the University of Wisconsin System, is currently serving as interim provost for the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Henderson’s appointment is set to bridge the gap between the departure of former Provost Sarah C. Mangelsdorf and the university’s next provost, John Karl Scholz. Scholz will assume the role on August 5.
Prior to coming to Wisconsin, Henderson served as the provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, dean of the College of Natural and Social Sciences at California State University, Los Angeles, and vice chancellor for student success and enrollment management at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Henderson was a member of the Department of Mathematics at Colorado College for almost 18 years, twice served as chair of the department, and ended his tenure at Colorado College as the dean of the Summer Session. He also was a fellow of the American Council on Education in 1998-99.
Henderson has also been involved in K-12 education, serving eight years as a member of a local school board in Colorado with two terms as president of the board. He was appointed by governors from different political parties to statewide education policy boards in Colorado.
Henderson earned a bachelor’s degree in 1973 and a master’s degree in 1975 from the University of Texas-Austin, both in mathematics. In 1979, he received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
About the Position and Major Initiatives
Primary responsibilities of the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs include oversight of all academic program and budget planning involving 12 schools and colleges; faculty and staff development and personnel matters; oversight of the following divisions: enrollment management; teaching and learning; diversity and inclusion; outreach, extension and public media; information technology (in collaboration with the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration); libraries; international affairs. The provost also oversees a number of specific units and programs, including Academic Planning and Institutional Research, Office of Strategic Consulting, Ombuds Office, Chazen Museum of Art, the Division of the Arts, the Global Health Initiative, the Office of Sustainability (in collaboration with the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration), Wisconsin Idea Seminar, and academic administrative searches.
Major initiatives of the Office of the Provost include the reincorporation of Cooperative Extension and Public Media into UW-Madison, efforts to increase need-based scholarship aid and assistance for first-generation students (Badger Promise and Bucky’s Tuition Promise), the faculty Cluster Hiring Initiative and Target of Opportunity hiring, as well as the Cybersecurity Initiative and the Educational Innovation (EI) Initiative.