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JMU’s Vision—To be the national model for the engaged university: engaged with ideas and the world.


Why Engagement Matters

…for our Students: When you walk across the stage at JMU’s graduation having been a part of an engaged university community, you haven’t just been educated, you’ve been transformed. What does engagement look like? Things like community service, travel, civic or political involvement, experimentation, work, campus involvement, creativity and teamwork are part of it. The Engagement opportunities you choose will lead to a greater self-understanding and, therefore, a more meaningful connection with others. You will be creative, collaborative, resilient, and ethical. You will become a citizen in the best sense of that word.

Engagement Highlights

Model for Service Programs

A nationwide program to encourage service years at nonprofits as an alternative to military service should use Virginia as a model, writes the Indiana-based Lumina Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to encouraging education beyond high school.

The foundation cites programs for service work at William & Mary, the University of Virginia, James Madison University, George Mason University, Blue Ridge Community College, Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University, Averett University, Shenandoah University and Virginia Wesleyan University.

Madison Vision Teaching Awards

The Madison Vision Teaching Award is jointly sponsored by the Faculty Senate and the Student Government Association.  The award recognizes a commitment to excellence in teaching while displaying JMU’s principles of Vision and Engagement by “developing deep, purposeful and reflective learning, while uniting campus and community in the pursuit, creation, application and dissemination of knowledge.”  Recipients are chosen by the SGA and were recognized by the SGA at a ceremony on April 25th.

Charles Richard Bolyard, Philosophy and Religion

David Jones, Political Science/Washington Semester

Karen McDonnell, Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication

JMU Designated Voter Friendly Campus

JMU has been designated as a “Voter Friendly Campus.”  We are part of a select group of campuses from around the country that participated in the inaugural class and received the designation. For more information on the Voter Friendly Campus initiative, see 

James Madison University Among Peace Corps’ 2017 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges & Universities

James Madison University ranked No. 17 among large schools on the agency’s 2017 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list. There are 41 Dukes currently volunteering worldwide. Read more:

JMU School of Nursing Engagement Highlights

The School of Nursing highlighted engagement in a recent recruiting video. Watch it here:

On Being an Engaged and Enlightened Citizen

How do we make sure our college graduates are engaged and enlightened citizens? Listen in as President Alger discusses JMU's approach to fulfill Madison's vision of an educated, engaged and enlightended citizen. 

JMU Student Awarded Civic Fellowship

Fellowship programs award students around the country that exemplify outstanding civic engagement. JMU Junior, Margaret “Magi” Linscott, was recognized as one of the 2017 Newman Civic Fellowship winners for her advocacy work on campus.

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Formed in the summer of 2016, the Engagement Advisory Group leads, aligns, facilitates and supports so that incremental and measurable progress is made toward the university’s vision to be the national model for the engaged university.

In doing our work, we align ourselves with the "I am Madison's Legacy" Framework:

  • We learn from and with others - we’re open to input and feedback from a wide variety of people, including and especially each other.
  • We foster collaboration - as a team, we need to work well together, as do our sub-teams. Anything we can do to influence people working together toward the pursuit of the vision is a positive.
  • We embrace complexity - We have a challenge in front of us and it involves lots of moving parts that are interconnected as well as lots of people who deserve to know and understand what we are doing. We know that’s part of it and we’re OK with that.
  • We value pragmatism - We know we won’t be perfect but we don’t want to get frozen in place. Instead, we’ll be decisive and action oriented so at some point in the future we’ll echo Madison and say “it is impossible to consider the degree of concord which ultimately prevailed as less than a miracle.”
  • We advance the public good - We care about the vision critical work in pursuit of our mission and we’ll make decisions for the good of the university, its mission and vision.
  • We lead.

Meet the Engagement Teams


The Office of Strategic Planning & Engagement serves to lead and coordinate the university’s strategic planning efforts overall as well as its vision to be the national model for the engaged university. The office provides structure and resources for all university strategic planning and coordinates engagement efforts with a focus on each area of engagement: Engaged Learning, Community Engagement and Civic Engagement.

Brian Charette, Ed.D., SPHR
Special Assistant to the President for Strategic Planning & Engagement
71 Alumnae Drive, MSC 7507
Sheldon Hall 223
(540) 568-5712

Cindy Chiarello, M.A.
University Planning & Engagement Coordinator
71 Alumnae Drive, MSC 7507
Sheldon Hall 223
(540) 568-5712

JMU defines the three elements of engagement as:
Engaged Learning - developing deep, purposeful and reflective learning, while uniting campus and community in the pursuit, creation, application and dissemination of knowledge.
Civic Engagement - advancing the legacy of James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, by preparing individuals to be active and responsible participants in a representative democracy dedicated to the common good.
Community Engagement - fostering mutually beneficial and reciprocal partnerships, ranging from local to global, that connect learning to practice, address critical societal problems and improve quality of life.

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