Dr. Kevin J. James was recently selected to serve as dean of the College of Business and Economics at North Carolina A&T State University. James had served as interim dean since August 2017, when former Dean Beryl McEwen was named provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs of the university. Prior to that, James was chair of the N.C. A&T Department of Accounting and Finance since 2010.

In appointing him as the college’s permanent leader, McEwen pointed out that the search committee was impressed with James’ nearly 15 years of university-level leadership in business education, his work as a senior auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and an extensive record of academic research and publishing.

“Dr. James stepped into the dean’s office a year and a half ago and has provided outstanding leadership during a dynamic time for both the college and the university,” McEwen said. “His strong background prepared him well for this challenge, and his performance while serving as interim dean was convincing. I look forward to his leadership in the months and years ahead.”

James holds a B.B.A. in accounting and an M.B.A., both from Middle Tennessee State University. He earned a Ph.D. in accounting from the University of Tennessee, with a minor in psychology.

He joined PricewaterhouseCoopers in Nashville in 1991, rising to the roles of senior auditor and audit team leader. After earning his doctorate, James joined the Middle Tennessee State faculty as an assistant professor of accounting in 2000. In 2015, he was promoted to associate professor and director of the Master of Accountancy program, a post he held until 2010, when he joined the A&T College of Business and Economics as accounting department chair.

He remains active in his home discipline of accounting, with new peer-reviewed publications recently published and in process. He has also maintained his license as a certified public accountant and is an active member of the American Institute of CPAs.

He assumes the deanship of a college that is a leader in business education, both in North Carolina and beyond. It is one of only 200 business schools internationally that holds AACSB International accreditation for both its accounting program and its business programs. In recent years, it has placed a premium on programmatic innovation that is paying off in multiple ways.

Last fall, the university announced a collaboration with AT&T to provide employee access to the college’s online MBA program, as well as two online master’s programs in the College of Science and Technology. Similar collaborations with other corporate partners are in development. Also last year, Online MBA Today ranked the college’s program among the top three in North Carolina alongside North Carolina State and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


N.C. A&T Professor Awarded $1.4M  Grant to Research Cell Communication

A North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University professor received $1.4 million from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences to investigate the biochemical mechanisms that facilitate communication within and between cells in the human body.

Dr. Robert Newman, an associate professor in the Department of Biology, is researching cellular signaling pathways, or simply put, how cells know what to do and when to do it. Newman’s research, which is focused on phosphorylation-dependent signaling pathways mediated by protein kinases and phosphatases, holds possibilities for improved treatments for diseases ranging from cancer to diabetes to heart disease.

A typical cellular signaling pathway is composed of an array of signaling molecules—including small molecule second messengers and various types of signaling enzymes, such as protein kinases and small G-proteins – acting in a coordinated fashion to process information about the cellular environment. However, these signaling pathways do not operate in isolation. In fact, hundreds of intersecting signaling pathways are operating simultaneously to process information about both the cell’s external environment and its internal state.

Moreover, the same signaling molecules are often involved in multiple cellular signaling pathways. For instance, a given signaling enzyme, such as one of the 518 protein kinases encoded in the human genome, might play a role in regulating diverse cellular processes, such as cell proliferation and programmed cell death.

A major question in the signaling field is how cells are able to selectively activate one signaling pathway while not activating another, even though key signaling molecules are shared between the two pathways. Newman’s group is exploring the hypothesis that, by modulating the substrate selectivity of protein kinases, the cell is able to control which arm of a branched pathway is activated in response to a given signal.

Newman’s research, which will identify points of signal integration between redox- and phosphorylation-dependent cellular signaling pathways, has the potential to answer fundamental questions about the regulation of cellular signaling pathways. This information can be used to develop computational models of cellular signaling pathways to predict dynamic changes in pathway properties following exposure to various physiological, pharmacological and toxicological stimuli, both in isolation and in combination.

Ultimately, his team also hopes to complement existing models of pathological oxidative stress and provide new opportunities for targeted therapies for many diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.