East Campus Library
In Spring 2009, the Center for Faculty Innovation facilitated faculty focus groups on the state of intellectual life at JMU. Thirty-four faculty participated for a total of 7 focus groups. They were asked four questions:
1) Describe your view of academic culture at JMU.
2) Given that we are scholars who work at a university, what do you envision when you think of a scholarly academic culture? What would it look like, feel like?
3) Of all the things we've discussed, what do you think would be most important in having this kind of culture at JMU?
4) What can we as faculty do to achieve this?
The themes that emerged from those focus group conversations were helpful in defining academic culture more broadly and pointing to places for improvement. Individual interviews followed. In August of 2009, at the request of Beth Eck (Associate Professor of Sociology, Faculty Associate at CFI, and Principal Investigator on the project), the VPAA's office generated a list of all instructional faculty at JMU. A stratified random sample of fifty faculty was drawn to elicit proportional response from among colleges and ranks within those colleges. A replacement sample was also drawn. Summary reports of the focus groups and interviews were written and distributed to the participants. For purposes of the overview linked below, summaries and representative quotes are categorized by topical theme (i.e., indicators and impediments to academic culture are built into the general description/theme). Building on the data from both the focus groups and individual interviews, during the 2010 May Symposium, faculty were invited to participate in a large Faculty Interest Group (FIG) on academic culture; the stated goal of the discussions was to generate a list of suggestions for moving forward in areas where faculty believe the academic climate could be enhanced. The link below attaches to a summary and select quotes that represent the breadth of faculty thought on common themes found across all of these venues.