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JMU defines engaged learning as developing deep, purposeful and reflective learning, while uniting campus and community in the pursuit, creation, application and dissemination of knowledge.

Engaged Learning requires a commitment on the part of students, faculty and the university to create practices beyond the traditional - practices that are experiential, involve exploration and guided reflection, and take place in a community. At James Madison University, Engaged Learning's hallmark will include, but are not limited to, high impact educational practices such as collaborative projects, internships, global education, undergraduate research and alternative learning opportunities and will be intentional and designed within and across communities and into the culture of the Madison Experience.

The Engagement Advisory Group is a key coordinating team for engagement at JMU. The leaders for engaged learning on the group are Dr. Lee Sternberger, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Executive Director of the Office of International Programs, Dr. Fletcher Linder, Director Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies, and Dr. Jim McConnel, Associate Vice president for Student Life.

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Engaged Learning at JMU
A few examples
  • Alternative spring breaks challenge students to critically think and react to problems faced by members of the communities they are involved with. Being immersed in diverse environments enables participants to experience, discuss, and understand social issues in a significant way. 
  • WRTC faculty work as the advisors to the JMU Undergraduate Research Journal (JMURJ) and oversee courses (through Honors) where students learn all aspects of running an online journal.
  • COB students participated in the VITAL (Virginia International Trade Alliance) program sponsored by VDEP by working with four local companies, Hugo Kohl Jewelry (Harrisonburg), White Oak Lavender Farm (Harrisonburg),
    New Country Organics (Waynesboro), and Suter Furniture (Harrisonburg) to research potential export markets and design an export plan for the company.
  • Faculty-collaborative and grant-supported projects generated opportunities for an estimated 25% of CSM students to engage in discovery research through course-based research, apprentice-based research with JMU faculty throughout the academic year, or participation in various summer programs on campus and at other institutions.
  • Every student who graduates with the Honors Program distinction completes a Senior Honors Project. The project culminates in a thesis or creative work. 
  • JMU students serve as mentors for the Valley Scholars program. Mentors come from across majors and serve in middle and high schools. 
  • Graphic Art Students were given an opportunity to design a Logo and new name for the JMU Copy Centers.
  • All students in the College of Visual and Performing Arts participate in multiple recitals, performances, or exhibitions during the progress of their degree.
  • freshman research program enables students from any major to discover previously unknown viruses.
  • When it came time to choose a subject for his Honors thesis, Matthew Gurniak combined his passion for chemistry and theater and created "Bonded: The Musical."
  • An estimated 80 percent of JMU students take their education outside the classroom in an internshipstudy abroad, practicum, student teaching or community service-learning. Many do more than one.

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