College of Arts and Letters
Department of English
Dr. Mark Parker, Head
Department of History
Dr. Michael J. Galgano, Head
Department of Political Science
Dr. Charles H. Blake, Head
School of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication
Dr. Larry Burton, Director
The College of Arts and Letters serves multiple vital needs of JMU students. First, it offers high-quality programs of specialized study in the social sciences, humanities, communication and the arts, and in several pre-professional and cross disciplinary areas. Second, the college provides a challenging array of courses designed to promote lifelong learning by sharpening analytical abilities; improving computational and communications skills; cultivating a facility with written expression; enhancing cultural awareness, intensifying moral and aesthetic sensitivity and fostering awareness of the contingent nature of knowledge. Linking these two missions is a college-wide commitment to free but rigorous and controlled inquiry into human nature.
- Improve foundational skills fostered by general education courses: writing, critical thinking, information access through technology and, where appropriate, foreign languages.
- Develop the ability to use writing to acquire knowledge and to communicate ideas effectively through writing-intensive courses required in the major.
- Enrich cultural perspectives essential to effective citizenship in the 21st century; global awareness and appreciation of American cultural diversity.
- Provide significant active-learning experiences through field courses, research projects, internships, studies abroad and simulations.
Students may select from a range of graduate programs in the College of Arts and Letters. The departments and schools fully describe their programs in the Academic Units section. In addition to departmental programs, the college offers a wide array of annual events and supporting services, some of which reach out to the regional community.
- English (M.A.)
- History (M.A.)
- Political Science (M.A.)
- Public Administration (M.P.A.)
- Public Administration – Fifth Year Format (M.P.A.)
- Public Administration – Roanoke (M.P.A.)
- Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication (M.A., M.S.)
Dr. Clarence Geier
The archaeology collection contains prehistoric and historic material excavated at numerous Virginia archaeological sites as well as an extensive library collection of site reports, artifact identification guides and maps. Artifact study collections spanning the 12,000 year occupation of Virginia's Ridge and Valley Province are also being developed for teaching and research purposes.
Center for Public Broadcasting/ WMRA-WEMC
The Center for Public Broadcasting's mission is to foster informed, engaged and culturally enriched communities. It serves over 50,000 listeners in the Shenandoah Valley, Charlottesville and Farmville areas.
The center comprises a four-station network of non-commercial public radio stations, serving Harrisonburg at 90.7 FM, Charlottesville at 103.5 FM, Lexington at 89.9 FM and Winchester at 94.5 FM, and one standalone station, WEMC, serving Harrisonburg at 91.7 FM. The WMRA network stations are licensed to the James Madison University Board of Visitors. WEMC is licensed to Eastern Mennonite University, but is operated entirely by the center. Much of WMRA's programming is rebroadcast by WMLU 91.3 FM, the station owned by Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. WMRA and WEMC are members of National Public Radio, and are affiliated with Public Radio International and American Public Media. The stations broadcast 24 hours per day year-round, offering extensive in-depth news coverage and classical, folk and blues music. The center also operates Valley Voice Radio Reading Service for the print-impaired. Listeners and local businesses contribute two-thirds of the center's annual budget.
Each spring JMU hosts the regional competition for National History Day. The contest is open to students in grades six through 12, with categories including media presentations, performances and historical papers. Judging and comments are provided by professional historians. Winners at the state level participate in the National History Day Competition at the University of Maryland in June. For further information contact Dr. Steven Guerrier in the Department of History at (540) 568-6523.
Visiting Scholars Program
The Visiting Scholars Committee organizes campus visits during the year by 12-15 people who have made significant contributions in their fields. The scholars, who represent a wide variety of disciplines, expose students and faculty members to different perspectives and encourage intellectual exploration. During a visit, a scholar meets with at least one group of students in a class or informal setting and gives a public presentation and discussion of his/her work. For further information, contact Prof. Dietrich Maune at (540) 568-6472.
Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication Graduate Student Symposium
Each April, Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication sponsors a Graduate Student Symposium focused on the broad theme of communication. Graduate students from a variety of disciplines travel to JMU to share their work during this one-day event. The symposium:
- provides a forum for WRTC graduate students to showcase their research,
- fosters a supportive environment for graduate students to present research, and
- allows graduate students to interact with peers from a variety of disciplines and schools.