Montpelier Spring 2000
There are those who say that the only thing constant at James Madison University is change. While change is indeed a way of life at JMU, there is one important characteristic that has gone unchanged in the 92 years of our university's existence: the enormous emphasis on quality of teaching. Above all, the relationship between the faculty member and the student is of prime importance.
Ask the graduates of any university whose influence from their college years had the greatest continuing impact on their lives. Not many of them will give the name of the president, a vice president, a dean or administrator. Virtually all of them will name a teacher. There are few, if any, JMU alumni who cannot remember the tremendous influence that a special teacher had on their lives.
Great work is being done by the faculty here at JMU, and I want to share with you some of these tremendous accomplishments. I could cite hundreds of faculty, but I have chosen five -- one in each college -- as examples of the many faculty members who have made recent headlines with their work and who are enriching the lives of their students. There are obviously many more who deserve attention but these five will give you a good cross-section of the exciting work being done by our faculty.
J. Patrick Rooney (School of Music) is well-known as the director of the award-winning Marching Royal Dukes band and for the impact his expertise has on its 400-plus members. He has also been cited with several major awards. This spring, he became only the fourth JMU professor to win one of the coveted State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Awards, which have been presented annually since 1986. Rooney also won the 1999 Greater Madison Distinguished Service Award and the 1997 JMU Distinguished Faculty Award.
Gina M. MacDonald (Department of Chemistry), who was featured in the Spring 1999 Montpelier, received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers last year at the White House. It is the highest honor the U.S. government bestows on young researchers. MacDonald, who works closely with undergraduate students in their research projects, also received the National Science Foundation Early Career Development Award.
William C. Wood (Department of Economics), who is director of the Center for Economic Education, recently conducted an analysis of corporate economic literacy for the Business Roundtable, an organization of CEOs of many of the nation's largest firms. In addition to being a master teacher, Wood has also developed an electronically published book, Economics on the Job, and has written for many publications, including The New York Times.
Jane S. Halonen directs the School of Psychology and has won the American Psychological Foundation's Distinguished Teaching Award in national competition -- a testimony to the superlative teaching that is part of the JMU tradition. She is also president of the American Psychological Association's Division 2, the Society of Teachers of Psychology.
Allan Berg (Department of Computer Science) is director of the Information Security Program and has received considerable public attention for development of the country's only graduate program in information security that is exclusively Internet-driven. The program is available internationally from JMU. The center's clients include the FBI, the CIA, many other U.S. government agencies and major private corporations.
This is only a quick sampling of our highly skilled and dedicated faculty. JMU is fortunate to have these and many more faculty members of this caliber, who are committed to their students and their disciplines. JMU faculty are continually exploring and developing ways in which undergraduates can extend their learning beyond books and lecture rooms.
My principal ambition is to create an environment in which great teachers can work their special magic with students -- the magic of learning. Rather than 10 buildings, $10 million or 10 new programs, I would prefer to be responsible for creating the conditions for 10 faculty members to flourish at JMU and to alter the lives of the students they teach.
Linwood H. Rose