About the Provost

Dr. James Cousins serves as Kentucky Wesleyan College’s Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs and Professor of History.  He is responsible for establishing strategic priorities for the college and oversees all aspects of the academic enterprise, from accreditation and faculty management to budgets, personnel, online programs, and retention. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Cousins was an Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at Western Michigan University where he supervised curriculum development, retention initiatives, program assessment, and undergraduate student services.  Before that, he was a tenured history professor and taught undergraduate and graduate courses in American history and historical research.  

In addition to dozens of presentations at national conferences and over 40 articles, essays, reviews, and translations, published in popular journals such as The Journal of Southern History, The Journal of American History, and The History Teacher, Cousins has published two books.  His first book, Horace Holley: Transylvania University and the Making of Liberal Education in the Early American Republic (Kentucky, 2016) explores the history of American scholars in the 19th century. His second book, a co-authored work titled Collaboration and the Future of Education: Preserving the Right to Think and Teach Historically (Routledge, 2016) looks at the craft of teaching for pre-service and practicing history teachers and provides models for building inter-institutional educational collaborations. His upcoming third book is a history of America’s college and university presidents in the early nineteenth century. In support of that book, Dr. Cousins was featured in the PBS documentary, Under Pressure: Changes & Challenges In Higher Education.

Dr. Cousins has received awards for his teaching, scholarship, and service. He is a former Kentucky Historical Association Fellow, a former Research Fellow of the Filson Historical Association, a recipient of the Meader Presidential Endowment, a former Scholar In Residence at Transylvania University, a 2019-2020 American Council on Education Fellow, and a recipient of the University of Chicago’s Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowship.  He was appointed to the Educational Professional Standards Board by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and was recently named to the Council of Independent College’s 2024-25 Executive Leadership Academy.  He received his BA from Ohio State University, and both his MA and PhD from the University of Kentucky.  Dr. Cousins hosts a regular podcast that can be accessed here.