James Spencer Named LSU Graduate School Vice Provost & Dean

Jim Spencer07/22/2020
BATON ROUGE – LSU has named James H. Spencer the vice provost and dean for the LSU Graduate School. Spencer is a professor of City & Regional Planning and associate dean of the College of Architecture, Arts & Humanities at Clemson University, as well as Adjunct Senior Fellow at the East West Center in Hawai’i. He will begin his role as vice provost and dean on Aug. 3.  

“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Dr. James Spencer into our LSU Family as vice provost and dean of the LSU Graduate School,” said Tom Galligan, LSU interim president. “Dr. Spencer is bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to our flagship campus, and I have every confidence that he’s the perfect person to help the LSU Graduate School reach even greater heights in this very important position.”  

Spencer will serve as chief executive officer of the school and will work jointly with the academic deans. He has also been appointed as a professor in the School of Architecture within the College of Art & Design at LSU.

“It is really exciting to be joining the LSU leadership team, especially at this moment,” said Spencer. “The university is charting new territories for higher education and I am thrilled to begin implementing a collaborative vision for graduate education to fulfil the university’s land-, sea-, and space-grant mission.”

As one of three leading deans for the College of Architecture, Arts & Humanities at Clemson, Spencer’s primary responsibility was for the School of Design & Building – a grouping of departments/schools that includes architecture, landscape architecture, construction science management, and planning, development and preservation.

“Dr. Spencer’s academic background and achievement makes him very well-positioned for this critical role at LSU,” said Executive President & Provost Stacia Haynie. “Dr. Spencer’s vision for enhancing the graduate school program will further advance graduate education across the entire university and provide exceptional opportunities to support our students and faculty in their scholarly and creative work.”

Spencer was also one of the six associate deans for research who served as an advisory group to Clemson’s vice president of research, which oversaw more than $100 million in annual federal research expenditures and roughly $500 million in annual external funding proposals.

While serving as the department chair for the Department of Planning, Development and Preservation, Spencer oversaw three graduate programs including City & Regional Planning, Real Estate Development and Historic Preservation.  Spencer’s current research focuses on international urbanization and planning issues, with a particular focus on water supplies, infrastructure and inequality. His research has been published in the Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Landscape and Urban Planning, the Journal of the American Planning Association, Environment and Planning A, the Journal of Urban Health, Economic Development Quarterly, and elsewhere. His 2014 book titled “Global Urbanization: The Global Urban Ecosystem” is a part of the Rowman & Littlefield series on globalization.

Prior to Clemson, Spencer was an associate professor of urban and regional planning and of Political Science at the University of Hawaii, and the director of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa’s Globalization Research Center. He has held staff positions at the Ford Foundation and non-profit organizations working on community development. He holds a B.A. from Amherst College, a Master of Environmental Management from Yale University, and a Ph.D. from UCLA in Urban Planning.

Spencer, his wife Meron, two daughters Sabah and Jordanos, and son Yohannes are really excited to get settled in to Baton Rouge and begin exploring the food and soccer scenes.



Contact Erica P. Hawthorne
LSU Office of Academic Affairs


Ernie Ballard
LSU Media Relations