A-to-Z Index

GLOSSARY

A B C D E F G I L M N O P R S T U

A

Academic Calendar  - The JMU academic calendar is based on the semester system. The unit of credit is the credit hour. A credit hour represents one 50-minute class period each week in the semester for lectures, or two 50-minute class periods for each week in the semester for laboratory or fieldwork. 

Academic Career - A grouping of academic work undertaken by a student.

Academic Center or Institute (AIC) - Academic institutes and centers (AIC) are administrative, organizational, and/or budgetary units existing within the Academic Affairs Division of the university. Depending on their focus and breadth, an AIC may exist at the university, college or academic unit level. The AIC may be staffed by faculty members, staff members, and/or students, working together to achieve the research, instructional and outreach goals of the AIC.

Academic Program - An instructional curriculum which leads to an undergraduate or graduate degree, or resulting in credits that can be applied to one of these degrees. A combination of courses and related activities organized for the attainment of broad educational objectives described by the institution.

Academic Unit - Academic department or its functional equivalent, as identified by the Provost. Includes academic departments and schools, as well as programs that function independently from another academic unit, i.e., the Honors program. Should be used when referring collectively to academic departments/schools/administrative programs.

Academic Unit Head - Defined as a department head, school director, administrative program head or equivalent.

Academic Year - The period of time generally extending from August to June, based on the first meeting date of fall semester classes and graduation. Usually equated to the two full fall and spring semesters.

Accrediting Agencies - An external organization which provides quality assurance to educational programs by establishing standards and evaluating academic programs. For a list of JMU’s accrediting agencies, refer to the undergraduate catalog.

Add-onAn individual who holds a teaching license may add an endorsement in specific areas to his/her license.

Admission Standards - All majors at JMU have admission or progression standards. Students must meet these standards to be fully admitted to the major. For information on admission standards, see http://www.jmu.edu/catalog/10/general/admissions.html.

Advanced Placement (AP) - A program administered by the College Board through which a student can earn college-level credit for examinations taken in high school.  A list of AP courses and required scores to receive JMU credit is available in the undergraduate catalog and on the registrar’s Web site.

Appointment - The establishment of an employment relationship between a faculty member and the university, even if on an at-will basis or for a limited time.

Area of Emphasis - A collection of courses or academic experiences grouped by an academic program to provide increased attention to a subject area. An area of emphasis may reside within a concentration, cognate or track. The grouping of courses for an area of emphasis does not require C&I approval and will not appear on a student’s transcript. If accreditation agency language specifies the term “area of emphasis,” that definition supersedes the university definition within an academic program.

Area of Interest - A collection of courses or academic experiences grouped by an academic program to provide increased attention to a subject area. An area of interest may reside within a concentration, cognate or track. The grouping of courses for an area of interest does not require C&I approval (though individual courses require approval) and will not appear on a student’s transcript. If accreditation agency language specifies the term “area of interest,” that definition supersedes the university definition within an academic program.

Audit/Auditing (a class) - Term used when a student elects to take a course, but does not wish to receive credit for the course toward a degree or other formal award. In order to audit a class, a student must have the permission of his/her faculty adviser and the head of the academic unit offering the class. Audited courses will not affect a student's semester credit hours or grade point average.

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B

Bachelor's degree - An award (baccalaureate or equivalent degree, as determined by the U.S. Department of Education) that normally requires at least 4 years of full-time equivalent college-level work. A current list of bachelor’s degrees offered by JMU is available from the current undergraduate catalog here: http://www.jmu.edu/catalog/10/general/degreeinfo.html

Bachelor of Arts - The B.A. is distinguished by its humanistic emphasis.  Students who complete a B.A. may satisfy the degree requirements by taking courses that advance their understanding of human culture through analysis of ideas; perception of differences; appreciation of art and creative products through understanding art forms, beauty, and symmetry; knowledge of theories and principles of form, substance, argument and philosophy; understanding of the interaction between language and culture; achievement of linguistic competency in a second language.

Bachelor of Science - The Ba.S. is distinguished by its scientific emphasis.  Students who complete a B.S. may satisfy the degree requirements by taking courses that advance their understanding of the use of scientific analysis, experimentation and the application of scientific principles and facts in solving problems; understanding of the crucial role of mathematical reasoning; analysis and techniques in comprehending problems in the natural or social sciences.

Body of Work - A standard-setting procedure in which panelists examine complete student response sets and match each student response set to a performance level category based upon previously agreed upon descriptions of what students at the different levels should know and be able to do. Source: JMU Dictionary of Student Outcome Assessment.

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C

Capstone - Capstone experiences for graduating seniors are designed to demonstrate comprehensive learning in the major through some type of product or experience. In addition to emphasizing work related to the major, capstone experiences can require students to demonstrate how well that heave mastered important learning objectives from the institution’s general studies program.  The capstone experience is department specific, in which The components and goals of each department-specific program are laid out.  Source: JMU Dictionary of Student Outcome Assessment.

Center, Academic - see Academic Center or Institute

Certificate - A prescribed set or sequence of graduate courses that results in a student receiving a certificate issued by the university when the identified courses and experiences are completed satisfactorily and when all other conditions have been met in accordance with the definitions and policies governing certificates.  Graduate certificates are administered through Outreach and Engagement. JMU does not offer undergraduate certificates.

CIP - Classification of Instruction Program - Six-digit code that classifies instructional programs assigned by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

Cluster - Within General Education, a thematic group of courses or learning areas. Each cluster has established learning objectives. All five clusters must be completed by undergraduate students to satisfy their General Education requirements.

Cognate - A set of courses outside the major that is designed to complement other components of the student's course of study and to support selected professional goals. A cognate is not a required component of a program. A student does not have to formally declare a cognate and it will not appear on the transcript of record.

College - Defined as an administrative organizational unit within the academic affairs division of the university, as identified by the Provost.

Concentration - A prescribed set of courses associated with a major or minor that is designed to focus a student's course of study according to interest and/or career goals. A concentration is not a required component of all majors and/or minors. The student must formally declare the concentration for it to appear on the transcript of record. The concentration will be noted on the transcript only after the student graduates.

Contact hour - 50 minutes, with 15 as the minimum number of weeks in a term, which gives a total of 750 minutes per credit hours per term.  The lab experience is two contact hours per credit hour. Based on SCHEV regulation VAC 40-31-10.

Core - A defined group of courses within a particular major or minor that is required of all students completing that major or minor.

Corequisite - A requirement, typically a course, that must be taken with another course.

Course Number - Courses are assigned a three-digit course number.  Undergraduate courses are numbered 100-499; master's level courses are numbered 500-799; doctoral courses are numbered 800-999.

Course vs. Class - A course is fully developed, numbered offering, such as CAI 102. A class is each individual offering of a course, such as CAI 102, section 0001.

Credential - Defined as a specific aggregate of courses, completion of which is sufficient for licensing by the State to teach (or perform specific professional tasks) in the public school systems. No specific unit requirements are given for credentials generally; usually the curricular requirements are noted in the governing legislation as "competencies."

Credit Hour - Represents one 50-minute class period each week in the semester for lectures or two 50-minute class periods each week in the semester for laboratory or fieldwork.In the development of courses, credit hours must be assigned in full numbers only.

Cross Disciplinary - Academic offerings or units that extend over multiple academic units with no one unit solely responsible for administration. Contact the Office of Cross Disciplinary Studies and Planning for additional information.

Cross-listed Course - A course offered jointly by two or more academic programs which is categorized with multiple subject identifiers, such as CAI/IAC 105. Courses are not required to be cross-listed to share faculty or resources, or to be used within another academic program.

Curriculum - Preparation and implementation of academic programs and courses. Primarily used to refer to those courses required by the university for completion of a program of study.

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D

Declared - Students must specify the major which they plan to pursue by completing a Change or Declaration of Major form. Some majors have additional requirements that must be completed before a student is fully admitted. For information on declaring or progressing in a major, see http://www.jmu.edu/advising/majors/

Degree - A title conferred on students by the university on completion of a program of study.

Degree Requirements - A formalized program of study specified by the university, the completion of which leads to a degree. JMU grants undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Degree vs. Major - Students receive a degree, such as a bachelor’s degree, from the university. As part of the degree, students must complete all requirements for the major, such as History.

Department - An administrative organization within the university.

Distance Learning - An option for earning course credit at off-campus locations via cable television, internet, satellite classes, videotapes, correspondence courses, or other means. 

Dual Credit - A program through which high school students are enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) courses, taught at their high school, that fulfill high school graduation requirements and may earn the student college credits.

Dual-level Course – A course that is offered concurrently as the undergraduate and graduate levels, such as CAI 450/550. Dual-level courses must be no more than one level apart. The undergraduate and graduate sections of dual-level courses must have different descriptions and syllabi that indicate the differing requirements for each level course.

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E

Early Action - An admission plan that allows students to apply and be notified of an admission decision well in advance of the regular notification dates. If admitted, the candidate must submit a room or tuition deposit by May 1.

Elective - A university course for which academic credit is earned toward the degree but is not specified in the requirements of a program.

Experimental Courses - Courses that are offered on a temporary basis to assess student interest and refine course content. Experimental courses may be offered for up to two academic years (or four semesters) before undergoing the formal C&I process for course approval. Experimental courses must be proposed using the Experimental Course Proposal form and approved by an academic unit, the college and the office of the provost. Courses are designated with an “E” (i.e., CAI 205E) and do not appear in the course catalog.

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F

Faculty - The Commonwealth of Virginia defines a faculty member as a nonclassified employee of an institution of higher education. For details on any faculty role, refer to the Faculty Handbook at http://www.jmu.edu/facultysenate/facultyhandbook.

  • Instructional Faculty - Individuals who devote more than 50 percent of their appointment to teaching and research functions of the university.
  • A&P Faculty - Administrative faculty members perform work directly related to the management of activities of the institution, department or work unit.  A&P faculty members also have instructional responsibilities.
  • Adjunct Faculty - Individuals who teach at the university on a limited, special or provisional basis, but perform no other duties.
  • Affiliate Faculty - Individuals holding a primary appointment in one academic unit may hold affiliate status in additional academic units, at the option of the additional academic unit.  This affiliate status is normally associated with teaching, scholarship or service functions performed in the additional academic unit.
  • Joint Appointment - Faculty appointments shared between or among academic units. Individuals holding joint appointments will be fully participating faculty members in each of the academic units, with teaching, scholarship and service expectations negotiated among the faculty member and the respective AUHs.
  • Graduate Faculty - An individual who has been appointed to the graduate faculty under specific criteria. 
  • Emeritus Faculty - A retired instructional or A&P faculty member is eligible for emeritus status if the individual has served full-time for a minimum of 10 years on the university faculty, has attained the academic rank of lecturer, assistant professor, associate professor, or professor, and has retired in good standing. Emeritus rank is a privilege and not a right of any retired faculty member.
  • Visiting Faculty - Appointments as visiting faculty members are for a fixed term to carry out instructional or research responsibilities within an academic unit. Professional credentials are required for appointment as a visiting faculty member.
  • Scholar in Residence - A scholar in residence is an individual appointed to a fixed-term appointment on the basis of noteworthy experience and credentials. 
  • Researcher - A researcher is an individual employed by the university either part-time or full-time specifically to work on one or more sponsored projects.  A researcher may be affiliated with one or more academic units under specific terms and conditions set out in an agreement between the individual and the university.
  • Instructor - Appointment at the rank of instructor is normally for a fixed term but may be employment at the will of the university with no fixed term.  Appointment at the rank of instructor may also be used for a faculty member who is hired with the expectation of completion of a terminal degree by a specified date.  Promotion to the rank of assistant professor may be made automatic on completion of the terminal degree in the terms of the appointment, subject to approval of the BOV.
  • Lecturer - Appointment at the rank of lecturer can be made in the case of an RTA. Individuals in the rank of lecturer are not eligible for promotion. 
  • Assistant Professor - Appointment at the rank of assistant professor normally carries with it teaching, scholarship and service responsibilities, and normally requires a terminal degree in a relevant discipline.
  • Associate Professor - In addition to the requirements for assistant professor, appointment at the rank of associate professor is contingent upon substantial professional achievements, evidenced by an appropriate combination of teaching, scholarship and service.
  • Professor - In addition to the requirements for associate professor, appointment at the rank of professor is contingent upon recognition of outstanding professional accomplishment.
  • Focus - A collection of courses or academic experiences grouped by an academic program to provide increased attention to a subject area. An focus may reside within a concentration, cognate or track. The grouping of courses for a focus does not require C&I approval (though individual courses require approval) and will not appear on a student’s transcript.If accreditation agency language specifies the term “focus,” that definition supersedes the university definition within an academic program.

    Foundation - Courses or academic knowledge deemed necessary by an academic program for beginning study of a discipline.

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    G

    General Education - A sequence of courses offered in five areas (Clusters) required by all undergraduate degrees at JMU.  (See The Human Community).

    Grade Point Average (GPA) - A numerical indication of the final letter grades earned by a student. Computed for any period (semester, year, etc.) by dividing the number of quality points earned during that period by the number of credit hours attempted in that time period. A student’s cumulative GPA is computed by dividing the total number of quality points earned at JMU by the total number of credit hours attempted at JMU.

    Grading System - The official record of a student’s progress toward a university degree, available for student access through e-campus, the online student information system.

    Graduate Assistant - A graduate student assigned to an academic unit, support program or administrative office to assist faculty members in preparing for instruction, leading discussion groups, grading papers, conducting research, preparing laboratories, performing departmental administrative tasks, etc. Specific duties will vary according to the needs of the department.

    Graduate Assistantship - A type of employment offered through The Graduate School to a limited number of enrolled graduate students. Assistantships are limited to nine paid graduate hours of tuition each fall and spring semester, although contracts are usually written for an academic year.

    Graduate Student - A student who holds a bachelor's or first-professional degree, or equivalent, and is taking courses at the post-baccalaureate level. A student enrolled in a master's, specialist, or doctoral program, not including candidates for first professional degrees.

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    I

    Institute - see Academic Institute or Center.

    Interdisciplinary Degree Program - See Cross Disciplinary.

    Instructor of Record - The instructor with authority to enter final grades for a course.  Responsibilities of the instructor of record must include: reviewing the course syllabus with the teaching instructor prior to and during the course offering; reviewing course assignments with the teaching instructor prior to and during the course offering; consulting with the teaching instructor regarding final grade assignment; and entering final grades for a course. Other duties may include attending course meetings as needed or requested; consulting with the teaching instructor as needed or regularly throughout the semester; and coordinating assessment for the course.

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    L

    Lab Hours - Two contact hours per credit hour. Based on SCHEV regulation VAC 40-31-10.

    Licensure Program - A set or sequence of courses and experiences required for a student to be eligible to obtain a license issued by an agency, group or professional organization (see Pre-Professional Licensure Programs).

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    M

    Major - A coherent set of required and elective courses approved by the Board of Visitors and meeting state criteria that, when completed by a student, signifies a degree of preparation in a field or fields of study. The credit hour requirements for the major are set by the respective colleges and academic units and may not consist of less than 30 hours. A student must formally declare a major.  Each major is offered in an academic department.

    Master's degree - An award that requires the successful completion of of an established master’s-level program of study beyond the bachelor’s degree. For a list of master’s degrees offered by JMU, refer to http://www.jmu.edu/grad/prospective/degree_programs.shtml

    Minor - A cohesive set of required and elective courses that, when completed by a student, connotes knowledge and skills in a discipline, region or topic area, but not at the depth of a major. The minor is designed for students who are not majoring in the same area and requires between 18-24 credit hours, as set by the respective academic unit and college. A student must formally declare the minor for it to appear on the transcript of record. A minor is not required for graduation. Not offered in at the graduate level.

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    N

    Non-Credit Course - A course or activity having no credit applicable toward a university degree. These programs are available for supplementing and updating knowledge, skills and abilities.  JMU coordinates all non-credit instructional programs through Outreach and Engagement.

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    O

    Off Campus Programs - Academic programs which require instruction delivered off of JMU's main campus by any means.

    On Campus Programs - Academic programs which require instruction delivered on JMU's main campus.

    Outreach and Engagement - Outreach and Engagement offers credit and noncredit programs and targeted one-time courses, certificate programs, and complete degree programs at a distance.

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    P

    Plan - In PeopleSoft/e-campus, an area of study—such as a major, minor, or specialization—that is within an academic program or within an academic career.

    Pre-Professional Advisory Program - This program includes a set of recommended courses for students who wish to shape their undergraduate experience toward a related professional goal beyond the undergraduate degree, such as the pre-law, pre-medicine, pre-dentistry and pre-health programs. Pre-professional advisory programs appear on the transcript during a student’s undergraduate career, but do not appear on the transcript after graduation.

    Pre-Professional Licensure and Degree Program - This program must be related to a student’s major as part of a planned progress toward professional credentialing, such as the pre-professional teacher education programs. It creates a distinct set of knowledge or skills that qualifies one to practice in a particular area or work in a specific field. This designation appears on the transcript.

    Pre-Professional Programs - A defined set of courses or course options and requirements that serve as prerequisites to upper or graduate-level professional program components or courses. A pre-professional program may coincide with a major, minor or concentration, or it may be comprised by courses from two or more disciplines and concentrations.

    Preparatory Courses - Courses that provide a base-level of academic knowledge required by a course or program that should be satisfied before full enrollment.

    Prerequisite - A requirement, typically a course, that must be taken before enrollment in another course. Prerequisites (if any) for a course are listed in the course catalog. Some prerequisites have their own prerequisites, forming a string of courses that must all be taken. The catalog course description shows the last course in the prerequisite string of courses.

    Preview - The first step in proposing a new program. As part of the preview process, the proposer must meet with the Associate Vice Provost to prepare information for review by the Provost's Office. A new program cannot begin the C&I process until it has completed the preview phase.

    Professional Program - A defined group of courses or course options designed to prepare a student for a specific professional career, certificate, or license. A professional program may coincide with a major, minor or concentration, or it may be comprised by courses from two or more disciplines and concentrations. The student must formally declare the professional program for it to appear on the transcript of record. The professional program will be noted on the transcript only after the student graduates.

    Programs (Academic) - A course of study referring to any set of courses and experiences identified by the university as satisfying the requirements of a program or program component for a student or students. Also called a program of study.

    Programs (Administrative) - An organizational division of an enterprise dealing with a particular area of activity.

    Program of Study - A course of study referring to any set of courses and experiences identified by the university as satisfying the requirements of a program or program component for a student or students. Also called an academic program.

    Progression Standards - All majors at JMU have admission or progression standards. Students must meet these standards to be fully admitted to the major. For information on admission standards, see http://www.jmu.edu/advising/majors/progress.shtml.

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    R

    Resources - Any financial, material or shared items or information required to implement or maintain academic programs or courses.

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    S

    School - An academic teaching unit within the University.

    Specialization - A collection of courses or academic experiences grouped by an academic program to provide increased attention to a subject area. A specialization may reside within a concentration, cognate or track. The grouping of courses for a specialization does not require C&I approval (though individual courses require approval) and will not appear on a student’s transcript. If accreditation agency language specifies the term “specialization,” that definition supersedes the university definition within an academic program.

    Strategic Area - A collection of courses or academic experiences grouped by an academic program to provide increased attention to a subject area. A strategic area may reside within a concentration, cognate or track. The grouping of courses for a strategic area does not require C&I approval (though individual courses require approval) and will not appear on a student’s transcript.  If accreditation agency language specifies the term “strategic area,” that definition supersedes the university definition within an academic program.

    Study Abroad - Arrangement by which a student completes part of the college program studying in another country. Can be at a campus abroad or through a cooperative agreement with some other U.S. college or an institution of another country.

    Subject Identifier - The alphabetical abbreviation preceding a course number which identifies the specific academic area affiliated with that particular course.

    Subplan - Within Peoplesoft/e-campus, areas of further specialization within academic plans and tied to academic plans, such as a concentration or specialization (graduate).

    Syllabus A grouping of requirements specifying the information students receive from their instructors regarding a course. Elements required by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges is specified here: http://www.jmu.edu/curriculum/syllabus.shtml.

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    T

    Teacher Certification Program - A program designed to prepare students to meet the requirements for certification as teachers in elementary, middle/junior high, and secondary schools.

    Track - A prescribed set of courses within a concentration. A track is not a required component of all concentrations. A student does not have to formally declare a track and it will not appear on the transcript of record.

    Transfer of Credit - The policies and procedures used to determine the extent to which educational experiences or courses undertaken by a student while attending another institution may be counted for credit at the current institution.

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    U

    Undergraduate - A student enrolled in a 4- or 5-year bachelor's degree program, an associate's degree program, or a vocational or technical program below the baccalaureate.

    Unit of Credit - The unit of credit used by JMU is the credit hour.

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