Be the Change: Education

Photo: K-12 students with student teacher President James Madison believed that education is essential to a civil society. For a century, Madison, the university bearing his name, has produced teachers with the knowledge, skill, creativity and commitment to prove his axiom. Today all academic and scholarly endeavors at Madison contribute to the public good -- through faculty and undergraduate research, hands-on learning opportunities, community outreach, service-learning and knowledge gained. The commitment extends beyond campus, to the alumni and donors who make education accessible and affordable. The people of Madison understand that education is the key to a better future for the world.

The Stories ...

DEA and JMU partner

DEA and JMU partnership The U.S. intelligence community has joined JMU in a partnership with the information analysis major in the College of Integrated Science and Technology … Read More

Fifteen and counting

Juliana Comer ('09) December commencement was a very special event for Brownie Comer Cave ('39) as she watched her granddaughter Juliana Comer ('09) receive her bachelor's degree … Read More

North Carolina Teacher of the Year

Jessica Garner ('98) "I played teacher to a 'classroom' full of stuffed animals when I was a child," says Jessica Cantor Garner ('98). "The only dream I have ever had was to be a teacher." … Read More

Phi Beta Kappa taps inaugural class

Phi Beta Kappa JMU Phi Beta Kappa Chapter Predisent Charles Blake welcomes student inductees. "While your undergraduate careers may be drawing to a close, I hope and trust … Read More

The People ...

  1. Carolyn Abibtol

    Carolyn Abitbol (’67)

    Pediatrics professor at the University of Miami

    Carolyn Abitbol (’67), professor of pediatrics and director of pediatric dialysis at the University of Miami, presented the keynote address at JMU’s 31st Department of Chemistry Undergraduate Research Symposium … Read more

  2. Joe Alexander

    Joe Alexander

    Father of JMU student

    You cannot hug another person harder than I hugged my daughter yesterday. In 19 years, I had averaged at least two to three hugs a week — taking into consideration more when she was a baby and, of course, less in her teen years — that's over 1,500 hugs … Read more

  3. Dr. Donna Amenta

    Dr. Donna Amenta

    Chemistry professor

    Donna has spent her career at James Madison University juggling everything from freshman chemistry classes and lab equipment to research on the synthesis of crown ether-containing transition metal … Read more

  4. Shawn Arnold ('76, '81M)

    Shawn Arnold ('76, '81M)

    Career counselor, advocate for people with disabilities

    Early in her career as a counselor helping people to enter the workforce, Shawn witnessed firsthand the discrimination experienced by people with disabilities. "I could not believe how so many talented people … Read More

  5. Phil Bigler ('74, '76M)

    Phil Bigler ('74, '76M)

    1998 National Teacher of the Year

    Inspired to teach while a Madison College student, Phil Bigler shared his passion for James Madison's genius with thousands of high-school students during a 23-year teaching career. As director of the James … Read More

  6. Dr. Norlyn Bodkin

    Dr. Norlyn Bodkin

    Founding director, Edith J. Carrier Arboretum

    Norlyn Bodkin's career at Madison has been a labor of love — on two fronts. A dedicated professor of biology, he confesses that in four decades he never tired of teaching. Throughout those years, he … Read More

  7. Casey Boutwell ('08)

    Casey Boutwell ('08)

    Founding co-editor JMU Research Journal

    Casey partnered with fellow physics major and friend Laurence Lewis ('08) as an intellectual pioneer, spearheading the creation of the JMU Research Journal, or JMURJ. Casey sees tremendous potential … Read More

  8. Douglas T. Brown

    Douglas T. Brown

    Provost of excellence

    Few people have the opportunity to shape the academic side of a university quite the way Douglas Brown has. From the day he stepped on JMU's campus in 1974 as a member of the psychology faculty, Brown's quiet … Read more

  9. Julian A. Burruss

    Julian A. Burruss

    JMU's first president

    When Julian Burruss arrived in Harrisonburg in July 1908, he faced a daunting task — to make a college materialize on an empty field. But Burruss had the vision and all the magician's tools he … Read More

  10. Michael Cappeto ('70, '71M)

    Michael Cappeto ('70, '71M)

    Education assessment professional

    Few people can say their actions have influenced as many of America's college students as Mike Cappeto. After serving as an administrator and dean in higher education, he put his studies in … Read More

  11. Ronald E. Carrier

    Ronald E. Carrier

    President emeritus, JMU's fourth president

    Ron Carrier primed and lit the powder keg that exploded into James Madison University — and he did it with glee. A visionary man by anyone's standard, Carrier came to Harrisonburg from Memphis State in … Read More

  12. Tom Dingledine

    Tom Dingledine

    Scholarship Donor and Madison Friend

    To the Madison community, Tom Dingledine's name has a familiar ring. His grandparents literally shaped Madison and the lives of thousands of students. After graduating from Madison, Agness … Read More

  13. Sue Dickson ('52)

    Sue Dickson ('52)

    International Educator

    While mopping her kitchen floor one day, Sue Dickson pondered, "Why do we just sing the alphabet song to learn the names of the letters? What we need is a phonics song to teach children the sounds of the letters … Read More

  14. Vickie Dodson ('90)

    Vickie Dodson ('90)

    A teacher with heart

    When Vickie Dodson graduated Madison in 1990 equipped with an accounting degree, she delved right into the workforce. In 2003, however, she discovered the University of Virginia Career Switcher program and decided … Read More

  15. Samuel Page Duke

    Samuel Page Duke

    JMU's second president

    Sam Duke would have made a great coach or a terrific banker, but it was Madison's good fortune that education was his passion. A graduate of Randolph Macon and Columbia University's … Read More

  16. Curt Dvonch ('08)

    Curt Dvonch ('08)

    Integrated Science and Technology major

    Sophomore Curt Dvonch knows a thing or two about infrared imaging. His freshman-year research at JMU included a NASA-funded project where he helped pinpoint defects in tiles like those found on U.S. space … Read More

  17. Katy Elmore ('01M)

    Katy Elmore ('01M)

    Learning disabilities math teacher

    Katy Elmore is changing lots of worlds at Osbourn Park High School in Manassas, Va. The year before Elmore's specially designed math remediation program began, not one Osbourn Park special … Read More

  18. Karen Evans

    Karen Evans

    Honors Program instructor

    Concerned with the scarcity of course offerings on American Indian studies, JMU Honors Program faculty member Karen Evans, who is of Cherokee lineage, decided to take action. After gathering information … Read More

  19. Dr. Richard Evans

    Dr. Richard Evans

    Undergraduate Coordinator, JMU Department of Exceptional Education

    Imagine living with an invisible disability; a disability that affects your life so profoundly that you are labeled as lazy, unmotivated, lacking intelligence. Dr. Richard Evans doesn't have to imagine, he's lived the … Read More

  20. Judith Flohr

    Judith Flohr

    Kinesiology professor

    Judith Flohr has always believed that a vital part of a woman's sense of self stems from her physical well being. "If you have confidence in your physical self," she explains, "then that confidence will make an impact … Read More

  21. Marlon Foster ('82, 95'M)

    Marlon Foster ('82, 95'M)

    Musician and teacher

    Marlon Foster is a musician through and through. He's played drums for the Marching Royal Dukes and the U.S. Air Force Band. And for the past 18 years, his "gig" has been teaching and conducting band … Read More

  22. Dr. Joanne Gabbin

    Dr. Joanne Gabbin

    Professor of English

    Like the poetry she revels in, Joanne Gabbin radiates with the power to transform. Both of her pioneering Furious Flower Poetry conferences have advanced African-American poetry, celebrating … Read More

  23. Chris Gatesman ('94M)

    Chris Gatesman ('94M)

    Leader and role model

    As a JMU Office of Residence Life administrator, Chris has applied himself to creating harmony and safe haven at JMU for almost 20 years. He has gone way beyond successfully matching students as … Read More

  24. Dr. Oris Griffin

    Dr. Oris Griffin

    Professor, College of Education

    For the last three years, Oris has spent at least one day a week in an inner-city school in Richmond, Va., as part of JMU's Professor-in-Residence Program, hoping to encourage minority high school … Read More

  25. Debbie Grimm ('74)

    Debbie Grimm ('74)

    Youth educator

    Every six months Debbie restarts the wheel of change, as the Commonwealth ChallNGe Academy in Virginia Beach accepts around 200 new cadets. As part of the National Guard Youth Challenge … Read More

  26. Shannon Kennan ('97M)

    Shannon Kennan ('97M)

    Associate director of university information

    Shannon readily admits to her enthusiasm for JMU: "As soon as I stepped foot on the JMU campus when interviewing for grad school, I knew this was the place I wanted to be. … I think it's because JMU … Read More

  27. Dr. Susan E. Kruck  ('94) ('95M)

    Dr. Susan E. Kruck ('94) ('95M)

    Associate professor, Computer Information Systems

    She's a Madison Scholar and the 2007 Distinguished Faculty Award winner. Yet, when asked to name her biggest accomplishment, Susan points to her students. "I am most proud of working with students … Read More

  28. Dr. Gina M. MacDonald

    Dr. Gina M. MacDonald

    Chemistry professor

    This biochemist's research focuses on understanding how protein function is regulated by nucleotide binding, using Fourier transform infrared difference spectroscopy and other techniques to investigate … Read More

  29. Amy Macaleer  ('01)

    Amy Macaleer ('01)

    2007-08 Milken Educator Award winner

    Amy Macaleer was one of only two Virginia teachers to receive the prestigious national Milken Educator Award for the 2007-08 school year. The Milken Family Foundation Awards program provides … Read More

  30. James Madison

    James Madison

    Fourth U.S. President

    James Madison, soft-spoken and unimposing in appearance, employed his considerable learned intellect and civility to convince a fledgling nation to accept a document — the Constitution of the United … Read More

  31. G. Tyler Miller

    G. Tyler Miller

    JMU's third president

    G. Tyler Miller was probably a list maker. The oldest of JMU's presidents to assume the role, Miller had the bearing of an elder statesmen and was often seen pondering an issue or reading with the stem of a … Read More

  32. Mary Ellen Garber Otto  ('58)

    Mary Ellen Garber Otto ('58)

    Reading advocate and community leader

    Sometimes it is the everyday contributions that make a difference. With the audacity to imagine what's possible and a quiet determination to follow through, Mary Ellen has helped to transform her Fulton Hill … Read More

  33. Erin Peacock ('07)

    Erin Peacock ('07)

    Teach for America corps member

    When Erin read statistics on the Teach for America Web site about the educational disparity that exists in the United States, she got mad. Then she decided to be the change. The JMU psychology major … Read More

  34. Michael Peretich ('06)

    Michael Peretich ('06)

    Chemistry and mathematics major

    Michael Peretich will graduate from Madison with a resume in no need of padding. Mike has presented his neutron depth profiling research at two national conferences, has worked with Nobel laureates and … Read More

  35. Laurie Tusing Phillips  ('85)

    Laurie Tusing Phillips ('85)

    Special Education Teacher

    During her 22 years of teaching, Laurie has dedicated her career to helping students with special needs. She has become an important member of the educational community at Stonewall Jackson … Read More

  36. Ryan Powanda ('09)

    Ryan Powanda ('09)

    Integrated Science and Technology major

    It hasn't taken Ryan Powanda long to make the JMU community aware of the urgency he sees in protecting the environment. In his first two years, he founded the JMU Clean Energy Coalition, became … Read More

  37. Jim and Julie Riley ('99P, '05P)

    Jim and Julie Riley ('99P, '05P)

    Established Riley Family Centennial Scholarship

    Shortly before Christmas Day 2006, Jim and Julie Riley penned a letter to their children: "How strange it feels to be excited about giving away money to a school that neither of us attended. What made us … Read More

  38. Linwood H. Rose

    Linwood H. Rose

    JMU's 21st Century president

    As James Madison University's 21st Century president, Linwood Rose has found inspiration in the past as he leads a university he knows well into an exciting future. Rose assumed the presidency in 1998 … Read More

  39. Leah Rosenwasser

    Leah Rosenwasser

    Project Coordinator, Reading Road Show

    Leah credits two people with her inspiration to relate to her community in a hands-on way — her father and her high school government teacher, Oskar Scheikl ('94, '01M). They taught her that civic … Read More

  40. Julie Schneider ('99)

    Julie Schneider ('99)

    Elementary school teacher and arctic explorer

    How do you take second graders to the harsh, minus 40-degree environment of the Arctic's edge? Julie Schneider found a way that changed her life, along with the lives of her students. Through the … Read More

  41. Christian Schwantes ('10)

    Christian Schwantes ('10)

    Changing the conversation about chemistry

    Christian Schwantes wants to change the conversation about chemistry. "Science is becoming more interdisciplinary," says the senior who plans to be a research chemist, possibly in education. "Labs hire … Read More

  42. Heather Schwarz ('08, '09M)

    Heather Schwarz ('08, '09M)

    Recipient of the Heather M. Empfield Scholarship in Autism

    Heather Schwarz is the first recipient of the Heather M. Empfield Scholarship in Autism, which is given to teachers, paraprofessionals or administrators of Stafford County Public Schools who work with students with autism … Read More

  43. Katie Schwizer ('09,'10M)

    Katie Schwizer ('09,'10M)

    Pruden Scholar

    As students rushed to the front of the classroom, Katie Schwizer ('09, '10M) second-guessed her decision. The middle-school aged students fought to get their hands on the valuables that lay before them; a pile of books, donated by JMU … Read More

  44. Dr. Mary Slade

    Dr. Mary Slade

    Professor, College of Education

    Three months after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in August 2005, Dr. Mary Slade, associate professor of education, volunteered to lead a group of JMU students on a relief trip to Biloxi, Miss., during … Read More

  45. Diane Strawbridge  ('80, '02M)

    Diane Strawbridge ('80, '02M)

    Director of Student Retention for the Centennial Scholars Program

    Diane began her Madison Experience as an undergraduate. Today, she is James Madison University's director of student retention for the Centennial Scholars Program and has been a part of the … Read More

  46. Dr. Laura Taalman

    Dr. Laura Taalman

    Math professor

    Laura Taalman started buying math textbooks in the second grade — because it was fun, not because she planned on teaching the subject. Even in college, she set her sights on becoming a mathematics … Read More

  47. Kimberly Taylor  ('79)

    Kimberly Taylor ('79)

    Guidance counselor

    Kim vividly remembers the admonition she received while enrolled in JMU's early childhood education program. "It emphasized meeting the developmental needs of children," she says. The emphasis laid the basis … Read More

  48. Jeff Tickle ('90)

    Jeff Tickle ('90)

    Teacher, business executive, community leader

    After graduating from JMU with a business degree, Jeff ran a manufacturing facility and, later, an import partnership. Then, he followed his heart and left the business world to become a high school … Read More

  49. Dr. Grace Wyngaard

    Dr. Grace Wyngaard

    Biology professor and Madison Scholar

    Perhaps it was growing up near the water in upstate New York and the New Jersey shore that attracted Grace to change. "I knew I wanted a profession that was sure to be always changing, rather than … Read More

  50. Dr. Patricia I. Wright ('75)

    Dr. Patricia I. Wright ('75)

    Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction

    JMU's program of teacher preparation has been widely recognized as Virginia's best, producing more teachers each year than any other university in the commonwealth, and, more importantly, producing … Read More

Be the Change! sectors ...

Be the Change
in Education

Carolyn Abibtol
Pediatrics professor

Joe Alexander
Father of JMU student

Donna Amenta
Chemistry professor

Shawn Arnold ('76, '81M)
Career counselor, advocate for people with disabilities

Phil Bigler ('74, '76M)
James Madison Center Director, 1998 National Teacher of the Year

Norlyn Bodkin
Founding director, Edith J. Carrier Arboretum

Casey Boutwell ('08)
Founding co-editor JMU Research Journal

Douglas T. Brown
Provost of excellence

Julian A. Burruss
JMU's first president

Michael Cappeto ('70), ('71M)
Education assessment professional

Ronald E. Carrier
JMU's fourth president

Tom Dingledine
Scholarship Donor and Madison Friend

Sue Dickson ('52)
International Educator

Vickie Dodson ('90)
Teacher with a heart

Samuel Page Duke
JMU's second president

Curt Dvonch ('08)
Integrated Science and Technology major

Katy Elmore ('01M)
Learning disabilities math teacher

Karen Evans
Honors Program instructor

Richard Evans
Undergraduate Coordinator, JMU Department of Exceptional Education

Judith Flohr
Kinesiology professor

Marlon Foster ('82, '95M)
Musician and teacher

Joanne Gabbin
English Professor, Furious Flower Poetry Center Founder

Chris Gatesman ('94M)
Leader and role model

Oris Griffin
Professor, College of Education

Debbie Grimm ('74)
Youth educator

Shannon Kennan ('97M)
Assistant director of university information

Susan E. Kruck ('94, '95M)
Associate professor, Computer Information Systems

Laurence Lewis ('08)
Founding co-editor JMU Research Journal

Gina MacDonald
Chemistry professor

Amy Macaleer ('01)
2007-08 Milken Educator Award winner"

James Madison
Fourth U.S. President

G. Tyler Miller
JMU's third president

Mary Ellen Garber Otto ('58)
Reading advocate and community leader

Erin Peacock ('07)
Teach for America corps member

Michael Peretich ('06)
Chemistry and Mathematics major

Laurie Tusing Phillips ('85)
Special education teacher

Ryan Powanda ('09)
Integrated Science and Technology major

Jim and Julie Riley ('99P, '05P)
Established Riley Family Centennial Scholarship

Linwood H. Rose
JMU's 21st Century president

Leah Rosenwasser
Project Coordinator, Reading Road Show

Julie Schneider ('99)
Elementary school teacher and arctic explorer

Christian Schwantes ('10)
Changing the conversation about chemistry

Heather Schwarz ('08, '09M)
Recipient of the Heather M. Empfield Scholarship in Autism

Katie Schwizer ('09,'10M)
Pruden Scholar

Mary Slade
Professor, College of Education

Diane Strawbridge ('80, '02M)
Director of student retention for the Centennial Scholars Program

Laura Taalman
Math professor

Kimberly Taylor ('79)
Guidance counselor

Jeff Tickle ('90)
Teacher, business executive, community leader

Grace Wyngaard
Biology professor and Madison Scholar

Dr. Patricia I. Wright ('75)
Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction