The Service area prepares students to become engaged citizens in both local and global contexts. Service students will:

  • Develop a greater awareness of the social issues, people, culture, as well as political and social structures for a community in which they reside or visit
  • Use the reflective process to identify multiple perspectives, identify meaning and to develop future actions from service and community experiences
  • Identify root causes and possible solutions for a social issue
  • Increase awareness of current events as they relate to social issues
  • Demonstrate a commitment to be an engaged citizen
  • Pursue opportunities for community-based, participatory research by acquiring skills and knowledge of real-life situations 
  • Answering a need or designing an intervention that emerges from authentic conversation with community partners

Introductory Seminar (Fall)

HON 351 - Service and Civic Engagement

An engaged citizen has the ability, skills, values, and motivation to make a difference in the quality of life in local, national, and global communities. Upon studying contemporary issues through a wide spectrum of multidisciplinary lenses, engaged citizens take action. Therefore, civic engagement encompasses the individual or collective actions of citizens designed to identify and address issues of public concern. This seminar provides opportunities for students to combine their intellectual pursuits with civic engagement and civil discourse, thereby raising their voices and empowering them to become engaged participants in tomorrow’s global society.


Experiential Seminar (Spring)

Experiential seminar offerings may vary from year to year. The following are examples of seminars that have previously been offered to students in the Service area. 

Service & Civic Engagement II
AREA(S): Service; Leadership; Creativity

James Madison University’s mission statement challenges students to be meaningfully engaged with the campus and the community. This Service and Civic Engagement course will focus on the application of civic engagement between individuals, on campus, and with the larger community. Students will work as a class to develop, create, and execute community engagement initiative(s). Students will apply theories and models previously introduced in their first semester seminars to not only conceptualize, but also execute an applied project based on community engagement. This is an experiential course and students are encourages and expected to think outside classroom boundaries.

Global Citizenship in a Service-Learning Context
AREA(S): Creativity; Global Studies; Leadership; Research; Service

This course focuses on the concept of “global citizenship” in the context of an international service-learning trip.  Students will travel to the Dominican Republic (DR) and engage in an intensive service-learning project over spring break.  The course seeks to address definitions and issues of global citizenship, development and service, using the service-learning experience as an aid to learning within the course.  Students will also experience/learn about contemporary social, political, cultural and economic conditions within the DR, through service learning, structured outings, cultural events, guest speakers, coursework and course readings and assignments.  Ongoing structured reflection will provide a way for all participants to discover, articulate, integrate and act on what they learn from their experiences.  Students will work with both American and Dominican professionals.

Creativity, Collaboration, Communications, and Problem Solving in Multidisciplinary Teams
AREA(S): Creativity; Leadership; Service

Creativity, collaboration, and communication across disciplines are the building blocks of multidisciplinary innovation. Students in this class will learn techniques and skills necessary to work in multidisciplinary teams. Through team-based experiences and exercises, students will develop their skills and advance their abilities to solve diverse time and material constrained problems. Students will learn elements of creative problem solving through exercises in team building, group presentation and creative expression, and design process. Students will practice concepts of team communications and the mechanisms of creative processes as applied to problem solving in multidisciplinary teams. In-class exercises designed to challenge students across a wide range of areas including technical, mechanical, structural architectural design, theatrical, literary and fine arts, scientific exploration and improvisation provide a framework for both faculty-led and peer-based instruction.

Global Challenges and the Future of Work in the 21st Century: Envisioning the Next Fifty Years
AREA(S): Creativity; Global Studies; Leadership; Research; Service

In this presidential election cycle, candidates extol the virtues of education, economic growth, and job creation as keys to the future. But what does a quality education look like in the twenty-first century? Where can we squeeze out additional profits amid calls for sustainable environmental practices? What will the jobs of the future look like? Are we prepared for the next global or international economy? Emerson once wrote: “Don’t waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it.” Is this all the reassurance we need?

In this class you will engage in self-directed study of the future of work, the future of education, and the future global economy. We will study the past, present, and future of great global challenges; the importance of service, civic engagement and leadership; and the need for creativity in making a difference in the world.

James Madison University Undergraduate Research Journal
AREA(S): Creativity; Global Studies; Leadership; Research; Service

Students collaborate to publish the online undergraduate research journal JMURJ. Students taking the course serve as editorial board members, who act in a number of capacities: outreach, acquisitions, and marketing; editing in all its forms, from comprehensive editing to copyediting and proofreading; and publication and design. Editorial board members gain experience in defining and publishing a growing university-wide academic research journal; collaborating with a diverse group of enthusiastic, skilled editorial board members; and working with people and texts from various fields.

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