“None of us get there on our own. No one becomes successful without the assistance of other. I know, because it’s been the people in my life, past and present – students, family, mentors – that have guided me over all these years” — James S. Jackson
A Lifetime of Achievement
In 1973, a year after completing his Ph.D. in Social Psychology, James S. Jackson made history by becoming the University of Michigan’s first full-time African-American faculty member in the Department of Psychology. And for the next 41 years, he never stopped making history.
During his long and eventful career, James helped launch landmark studies, founded iconic programs, and pursued new directions in research on the racial and ethnic life course development of blacks. Among his many honors, he has been named a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Psychological Association, and is the W.E. B. Du Bois Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. In 2014, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the prestigious National Science Board.
Often referred to as a “Renaissance Man” by admiring colleagues, James has pursued a wide range of research focused on mental health and aging in minority populations, often collaborating with colleagues in psychology, sociology, political science, gerontology, and other disciplines. Despite the unrelenting demands of research and administration, he has been—and continues to be—a dedicated mentor, taking every opportunity to work with the next generation of scholars.
Among his many leadership roles, James was director of the University of Michigan Center for AfroAmerican and African Studies. In addition, he served as president of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and the Association of Black Psychologists.
During his decade-long tenure as director of ISR, James was a tireless advocate, an inclusive and dynamic administrator, a sustaining force for faculty, and a visionary leader. With the goal of positioning the Institute for future growth, he oversaw construction of a 50,000 square foot facility designed to increase research capacity, enhance global communications, promote innovation, and facilitate the training of young researchers.
In 2015, James completed his term as director of ISR. To honor and celebrate his many achievements, the Institute has established the James S. Jackson Emerging Scholars Fund. By providing support for tomorrow’s research scientists, this endowment will serve as a living, enduring tribute to the contributions of a remarkable leader, scholar, teacher, and mentor.
THE PROGRAM FOR RESEARCH ON BLACK AMERICANS
In 1976, as a faculty associate in ISR’s Research Center for Group Dynamics, James Jackson was instrumental in establishing the Program for Research on Black Americans (PRBA). PRBA represented the first significant assembly of black graduate students on campus to conduct research in psychology, sociology, political science, and social work. Three years later, he helped launch the National Survey of Black Americans, which introduced the concept of non-comparative racial research and, to date, has spawned over 400 scholarly articles. It has also led to follow-up research such as the National Survey of American Life and a three-generational study of employment, income patterns, and health and wellness among Black Americans.
Since its founding, PRBA has actively conducted studies, collected data and hosted programs designed to train emerging scholars. Today, mentorship continues to be a key part of the program’s mission and, each summer, Ph.D. students, post-docs, and junior faculty from around the world flock to PRBA’s skill-building seminars.
Please use this form to tell us how PRBA and James have had an impact on your life and career.
Developing the Research Scientists of Tomorrow
The James S. Jackson Emerging Scholars Fund will extend the mentoring efforts of the Program in Research on Black Americans by providing support for up-and-coming University of Michigan research scientists.
This endowment will honor and build on James’ work as a scholar and mentor by providing modest but strategic research and travel grants to post-doctoral candidates and junior faculty members affiliated with PRBA.
Emerging scholars, particularly minorities, are often at the most creative and productive – but also the most fragile – stage of their careers. At this point, even small awards can make a significant difference, helping young scholars navigate a difficult transition phase and enabling their continued growth and development in concentrated research areas.
How you can contribute to this Legacy Fund
The goal for the James S. Jackson Emerging Scholars Fund is a $300,000 endowment. Each year, this amount will generate over $13,500 to be used either as a grant for junior faculty or as stipends for graduate and post-doctoral students.
This fund offers an opportunity to support promising scholars, many of them minorities, at a make-or-break moment in their careers. For colleagues, friends, and former students, it also offers an opportunity to recognize James Jackson’s mentorship and dedication to the next generation—and to assure that his legacy will continue for decades to come.