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VMI Professor Wins State International Studies Award

FullTextImage/img/@altCol. Jim Hentz is shown here with Nigerian police while in the Niger Delta Conflict Zone in 2010 for an international conference on natural resource, security and development in the region. – Photo courtesy of Col. Jim Hentz.

LEXINGTON, Va., April 30, 2014 -- A professor in the Department of International Studies and Political Science at VMI has received a statewide award in recognition of his scholarship.

Col. James Hentz, who currently serves as chair of the department, was honored with the 2014 Award for Scholarship in International Studies and Political Science by the Virginia Social Science Association. The award was given Saturday, April 19, at that organization’s 87th annual meeting in Richmond.

An expert in sub-Saharan African affairs, Hentz edits a quarterly journal, African Security, and is the author of an upcoming book, The Nature of War in Africa. Before earning a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, Hentz lived and worked in Zambia. He later did dissertation research in South Africa and has made countless trips to Africa since then.

In addition to teaching at VMI, Hentz does consulting work for outside agencies. He has lectured aboard aircraft carriers deployed to support missions in and around Africa, and he has recently begun consulting for Wikistrat, a privately owned online consulting firm. In the fall of 2013, Hentz won one of four awards for best analyst given by Wikistrat after completing a simulation for the U.S. Africa Command, or AFRICOM.

Hentz is a recipient of the VMI Distinguished Teaching Award, which he won in 2004, and the state Outstanding Faculty Award, given by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, in 2007. He has taught at VMI for 16 years.

Nominating Hentz for the VSSA award was Lt. Col. Keith Kline, associate professor of psychology at VMI. “I nominated [Hentz] because he is an extremely accomplished and internationally renowned scholar and an expert in his field,” said Kline. “His scholarship is also especially impressive in light of the fact that he is a department head who has played a primary role in the development of what has become a truly exemplary department that offers the most popular academic major at VMI.”