L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs



RaJade M. Berry-James

Senior Associate Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs and Professor

Scherer Hall Room 505 Phone: (804) 827-0901 Email: berryjamesr@vcu.edu


-Social Equity
-Research Methods and Analysis
-Program Evaluation and Assessment 


Ph.D., Public Administration, Rutgers University - Newark 

MPA, Public Administration, Kean University

B.S., Business Administration, Rider University


Inclusive Excellence, NC State University

Reflective Teaching, NC State University

Leader Development, National Security and Strategy, U.S. Army War College

Nonprofit Management, Duke University

Certified Public Manager (CPM), State of New Jersey & Rutgers University - Newark


Berry-James has conducted community-based and cross-site evaluation research for federal, state, and local governments.


RaJade M. Berry-James, Ph.D., is the senior associate dean of faculty and academic affairs at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.  Dr. Berry-James is an elected fellow of the congressionally chartered  National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) and was appointed by the NAPA Board as Chair of the Standing  Panel on Social Equity in Governance, beginning January 2023. Berry-James was also elected as Vice President and President-Elect of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) and will assume the presidency for the 2023-24 term.  She brings an extensive record of service to the network, having served as a member of NASPAA’s Executive Council, and two-time chair of the NASPAA Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA). Berry-James has spent more than 30 years in higher education, serving as Chair of the Faculty, MPA Program Coordinator, Ph.D. Program Coordinator, and Director of  Graduate Programs for small, large, and research-intensive graduate programs. She is also a consultant, specializing in diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as assessment and accreditation in higher education.

Berry-James' research, teaching, and community engagement focus on the theory of change and the applied practice of public administration. Co-authored with Gooden (2018), her recent book, Why Research Methods  Matter: Essential Skills in Decision Making (2018), examines real-world policymaking and evidence to support decision making. Berry-James designed two NASPAA award-winning courses, MPA Capstone and Cultural Competence in the Public Sector, and has taught master- and doctoral-level courses such as Basic Quantitative Research, Advanced Research and Statistical Methods, Research Methods and Analysis, Public Policymaking, Implementation and Evaluation, Survey Research, Program Evaluation, Public Bureaucracy, Personnel Management, Conflict Resolution and Social Equity. Her scholarly research has appeared in the Public Administration Review (PAR), Journal of Public Affairs Education (JPAE), Review of Public Personnel Administration (ROPPA), Public  Performance and Management Review (PPMR), International Journal of Public  Administration, International Association for the Study of Global Achievement of Gap, International Journal of the Humanities, Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial  Management, Journal of Black Political Research, Journal of the American Society of Professional Emergency Planners,  and Journal of Public Management & Social Policy (JPMSP).

Berry-James has received several research awards and sponsored grants to evaluate community-based projects and initiatives funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation,  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA/Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), SAMHSA/Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS), Summit County (OH) Juvenile Court, Summit County (OH) Department of Jobs and Family Services, and Akron Center for Policy Studies.  In recognition of her applied scholarship, she received the Carolyn L. Lattimore  Education Excellence Award (2020), Outstanding Engagement Award  (2019), Rutgers University - Newark Alumni Spotlight (2018), NASPAA Social  Justice Curriculum Award (2017), ASPA Presidential Merit Citation (2017), COMPA National Public Service Award (2016), Chancellor's Creating  Community Award for Outstanding Faculty (2013), NASPAA Diversity Award  (2013) and COMPA Sylvester Murray Distinguished Mentor Award (2011).

She earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Rider University (1987), an MPA from Kean University (1993), and a Ph.D. in Public Administration from Rutgers University (Newark), with a specialization in productive public management (1999). Her dissertation, Implementing Affirmative Action, examined factors influencing program efficacy in higher education.