James Pappas began his academic career at the University of Utah, serving as Professor of Counseling Psychology, Associate Director of the Counseling Center, Associate Dean for Liberal Education, and Associate Dean of the Division of Continuing Education. At Utah's DCE, he championed early applications of computers and instructional technology to continuing education, developed new approaches to marketing using business and advertising strategies, and managed programs in Mexico and Saudi Arabia. He attended Stanford University's Executive Management Program and Harvard University's Institute for the Management of Lifelong Education. After nearly a decade at the University of Utah, he became Vice Provost for Outreach and Distance Education and Dean of the College of Continuing Education at the University of Oklahoma. His visionary leadership brought the college to international prominence as a pacesetter in lifelong learning through such program initiatives as Partnership 21 (in cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration), numerous U.S. Department of Education Resource Centers, major expansion of graduate military programs in Europe, technical training for the U.S. Postal Service, a satellite training network with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, and international USAID programs.
Dr. Pappas has served as Treasurer and President of the University Continuing Education Association and Chair of the Council on Extension, Continuing Education, and Public Service of the National Association for State Universities and Land Grant Colleges as well as on NASULGC's executive board. He has served as a board member of the Association for Academic Affairs Administrators, American Association for Counseling and Development, Utah Adult Education Association, and many community and civic organizations.
He has extensively presented and written about adult education, counseling, and other higher education administration topics. A co-editor and author of many chapters and publications, his works include a manual on promotional techniques and practices for adult students, proceedings of a major national conference on university-based residential continuing education for the 21st century, and a monograph on the role of the university in outreach and economic development.