James Thelen received his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, in organizational communication in 1992. While at Western, he served as vice- president of the student government for two and a half years and was honored as a Medallion Scholar, Presidential Scholar in Communication, and a Rhodes Scholar nominee. After graduating from Western, Jim went on to receive a law degree, cum laude, from Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans in 1995. While at Tulane, Jim served as vice president of Phi Delta Phi, a legal honor society, and participated with the Appellate Law Clinic. Jim initially worked as an attorney in the labor and employment field with the Kalamazoo office of the Detroit-based firm Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, PLC, and he currently works in that capacity. His practice includes employment litigation and traditional management-side labor work with union contract negotiations and related issues. He is a frequent speaker on employment law issues for the Council on Education in Management and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, among others. From 1997-1999, Jim served as Assistant Vice President for Legislative Affairs and Assistant General Counsel at WMU, a position in which he served both Presidents Haenicke and Floyd in a variety of legal and legislative capacities. He has also served as an adjunct professor for the Political Science Department and Lee Honors College, teaching courses in American judicial process and political history.