Years at the college:
1985 - Present
B.A. & M.A. University of Texas 1973, 1975
James Henderson is a geometric topologist who had the same dissertation advisor (Jim Cannon) as Fred Tinsley. He taught at Texas A&M before moving to the Colorado College in 1985. Having been raised in Tatum, New Mexico, Henderson's easy charm and Texas drawl gave him a winning presence in the classroom. He fitted in quickly and easily to a department already known for its teaching successes. With a strong interest in political science as well as mathematics, Henderson teamed up in the mid 1990's with professors in English and Economics to offer a unique interdisciplinary course titled Establishing the World: Theories of Origins and their Impact.
The administrative side of the college attracted Henderson's attention early on and he became known as one of the few faculty on campus who could really understand the college budget. His work for faculty committees including the main faculty governance committee (Committee on Committees) was essential and widely appreciated. In 1990, as the chair of the mathematics department, John Watkins, stepped down to go on sabbatical, Jim took over the reins of the deparment for a year. Later in 1994, he stepped in again for a two-year stint.
In 1998, Henderson won a American Council on Education
fellowship designed to allow senior faculty to study and train for
college administration; during his
sabbatical leave from Colorado College, the fellowship enabled him
to work and learn in an administrative position at the
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. He rejoined the
mathematics department in the fall of 1999. The college saw their opportunity, and when John Watkins resigned his position as Dean of the Summer Session in the fall of 2001 after a successful run, Henderson was offered (and accepted) the vacant deanship.