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James Canning

James Canning headshot
James T. Canning, Ph.D. Dean of Honors College

Educational Background

B.S., University of Maine at Orono

M.S., Iowa State University 

Ph.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute


James T. Canning is dean of UMass Lowell's Honors College. 

Canning, who received a doctorate in Computer Science from Virginia Polytechnic and State University in 1985, began his career in the Department of Computer Science at UMass Lowell in the same year. Often acknowledged for his excellence in teaching, advising and service to the university, Canning twice received the Departmental Teaching Excellence Award, the Francis Lowell Cabot Faculty Award, and the Exceeding Excellence Award given by the Student Government Association. Canning has also served as the principal Ph.D. dissertation mentor to four computer science graduate students. 

He served as department head of Computer Science from 1993 to 1998 and was twice appointed graduate coordinator. In the summer of 2011 Canning began his journey with Honors as director of the Commonwealth Honors Program. 

In the spring of 2014, the UMass Board of Trustees voted to elevate the Honors Program to an Honors College, thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of Canning. He was chosen as dean of the newly formed Honors College in May of 2014.