Dr. James Henderson became the University of Louisiana System President Jan. 1, 2017. Prior to this role, he served as president of Northwestern State University from 2016 to 2017.
In his first year as president, the university increased overall enrollment and improved its retention rate by nearly three percent. Northwestern State worked to strategically develop new programs that give students access to high demand skills and give employers in the region a competitive advantage. NSU developed a cooperative endeavor agreement with the Louisiana Department of Economic Development to develop a trained workforce for CSC, a global leader of next-generation technology services and solutions at the Cyber Research Park in Bossier City.
The university signed several new 2 + 2 agreements with community and technical colleges throughout Louisiana to make it easier for students with an associate degree to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Northwestern State reached an Articulation of Credit agreement with the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts that will allow LSMSA students to earn an associate degree from NSU along with their diploma.
Northwestern State continued to be a leader in online education as the RN to BSN program, along with bachelor’s programs in computer information systems, criminal justice and psychology were ranked first in the country by a higher education website. The online bachelor’s in accounting was rated as the number two program in the nation.
Henderson was chancellor of Bossier Parish Community College from 2009 – 2014. In that time, BPCC grew its enrollment by more than 84 percent and increased annual certificate and degree completions by 90 percent. From 2011-2013, BPCC was among the five fastest growing community colleges in the nation with enrollments of between 5,000 and 9,999.
Under Henderson’s leadership, the college created market responsive programs in nursing, oil and gas technology, construction management, industrial technology and engineering. BPCC established a global, award-winning initiative – BPCC Open Campus. This free, online, series of preparatory courses offers underprepared students a user-friendly, video-lecture based pathway to success in math, English, and reading comprehension.
Henderson was senior vice president, workforce and economic development/career & technical education for the Louisiana Community & Technical College System from 2005 to 2009. He served as appointing authority and chief executive officer of the LCTCS comprised of eight regional technical colleges serving more than 26,000 students. Under his leadership, the statewide technical college system with 42 individually accredited campuses was transitioned into eight regionally accredited technical colleges.
During Henderson’s tenure, LCTCS enrollment grew by 98 percent and he helped obtain more than $65 million in grants, appropriations and private funding to enhance workforce development. In partnership with Louisiana Economic Development, Henderson helped create Louisiana FastStart, the nation’s top-ranked state workforce training program.
From 2001 to 2005, he was director of administration and director of workforce development for the Louisiana Department of Labor.
Henderson was in the private sector for 10 years in hotel management. He worked for Mississippi Management, Inc., Kemmons Wilson Companies and Ryco Management, playing a leadership role as each company achieved record growth in profitability.
A native of Shreveport, Henderson is a Northwestern State alumnus, as is his wife Tonia. He earned a Master of Science in Administration from the University of West Florida and a Doctor of Management from the University of Maryland – University College.
The Hendersons have three children, Reagan, Nicholas and Alexander.