James Byars received a Bachelor in Business Administration with a concentration in mathematics from Murray State University. He earned a Master of Education in higher education administration from North Carolina State University. While working on his M.Ed., he was the primary advisor for the Interfraternity and Collaborative Greek Councils in the Department of Greek Life and was a peer health educator coordinator for the Health Promotion Department. Byars was awarded the 2009 Graduate Student of the Year for the Division of Student Affairs at North Carolina State. Byars presented a paper at the 2011 ASHE conference on faculty salary compression. His research interests include studying the socioeconomic factors affecting higher education institutions on national, institutional, and individual levels.