UREC is excited to introduce a new online registration website, URECregister.jmu.edu which will be available for the JMU community to utilize starting at the beginning of the Spring 2014 semester to register online for all programs (this includes Group Fitness classes and Intramural Sports) and most services.
Program registration will still be available at UREC as it has been in the past. To pay for fee programs, the new online registration system will now accept credit cards and the UREC program registration desk (in-person) will accept FLEX.
Participants will need to be aware of a few policy changes due to the new system:
- Use your JMU e-ID and password to login. This same login will grant you access to IMleagues.com.
- Participants will not be able to cancel registrations online. To cancel a registration, you must call or visit the UREC Program Registration Desk at 540-568-8734 by the cancelation deadline (one hour in advance for Group Fitness classes and for most non-fee educational programs). If you do not cancel and do not show up on time for a class, you are considered a "no-show participant." If you no-show three times in one semester, you will lose your online registration privileges for the remainder of that semester.
- Group Fitness classes will open for registration 6:30am the day before the class (extending the former 24 hour registration period).
- Refunds for courses with fees must be approved by the appropriate UREC professional staff member implementing the program by the refund deadline listed with the course. Please allow one week for approved refunds to reimburse your credit card. A convenience fee for credit payment will not be refunded.
Another feature of this new system allows participants to check out equipment and keep your JAC with you during your workout. Remember to return equipment before leaving the building or you may incur a fee.
Participants will also be able to view Racquetball Court availability prior to calling the UREC Equipment Center to make a reservation.
If you need assistance, our member services staff is available to help you with any questions you may have. Please call 540-568-8734 or visit the UREC Welcome Center for help with online registration.
Dear JMU colleagues,
Participants in the Leadership for Supervisors workshop shared a photo opportunity with President Alger on Nov. 20, 2013.
As this semester draws to a close, I want to wish all of you a happy and healthy holiday season. As we approach the end of our first full calendar year together, I want to thank all of you for your extraordinary efforts to make JMU the best possible place to learn, work, and live. In the face of snow and ice during a busy exam week, we have seen once again how we can pull together to respond quickly and positively to daunting challenges. This spirit of teamwork is one of the things that makes JMU such a great place to work.
I also want to share with you some other brief updates and reminders:
SACS Reaffirmation: At its annual meeting in Atlanta this week, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) officially reaffirmed JMU’s accreditation as the final step of its decennial review. The reaffirmation serves as a strong vote of confidence and reflects the hard work of many people across campus. I want to thank the entire team who made this successful outcome possible. Congratulations to everyone who participated!
December Commencement: This Saturday, December 14, more than 700 students will graduate in our December commencement at the Convocation Center. JMU’s own G.J. Hart, CEO of California Pizza Kitchen as well as an active member of the JMU College of Business Executive Advisory Council and the College of Business Research and Development Inc. Board, will be the special guest speaker.
University Schedule: The University will be closed for the winter break from Monday, December 23 through Friday, January 3.
Marching Royal Dukes: As you all know, the Marching Royal Dukes did a superb job representing the university when they led off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. We have heard from alumni and supporters all around the country who were thrilled to see JMU featured in such a prominent national spotlight. Many students and parents told us that it was an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience for them. Subsequently, the Marching Royal Dukes were invited to participate in the gubernatorial inauguration parade in Richmond on January 11.
Scholarly Accomplishments: Our faculty and students continue to receive recognition for their scholarly work and achievements. For a list of recent faculty grants, honors, presentations, publications and service, please see the following link: http://www.jmu.edu/news/madisonscholar/2013-scholarly-news-november.shtml
Happy holidays to all, and with all good wishes for the New Year,
It has been an exciting and busy fall at JMU. At this midpoint in the semester, I want to share an update regarding some of our programs, initiatives and accomplishments.
President Alger speaks to the Board of Visitors at the Oct. 4, 2013, meeting.
Board of Visitors and Strategic Planning
The Board of Visitors met on October 4. The Board approved the University’s Six-Year Plan as required by the state, which includes projections regarding finances, facilities, and enrollment. The Board also discussed the University’s position within the national higher education landscape, and received the draft strategic planning documents from the Madison Future Commission process along with the FBS Athletics Feasibility Study. As reported previously, those documents are all available for public review and comment at www.jmu.edu/madisonfuture/. Our strategic planning process reflects our commitments to transparency and inclusion, and indeed we have heard from thousands of constituents over the course of the past year as we prepare for our future together. While we know that there will be many different voices and perspectives in a university community of our size and complexity, we are confident that this thorough process will help us to produce a bold and thoughtful plan. The strategic plan will be submitted to the Board of Visitors for approval at its January meeting, and all units across the University will be asked to develop objectives that are consistent with the overall University plan.
Madison Vision Series
The Madison Vision lecture series continued with a presentation this week from Dr. Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). Carol is one of the nation’s leading spokespersons on the importance and relevance of liberal arts and sciences education, and is also a champion of engaged learning through high-impact educational practices. Our next speaker in this series will be Cynthia Cooper, WorldCom whistleblower, who on November 13 will discuss her experiences and share thoughts on ethical reasoning in the workplace. You can keep up to date with the Madison Vision Series at www.jmu.edu/president/mvs.
Events on and off Campus
JMU continues to host many successful events that bring people to our campus, and to engage with the world off campus around the region, state, nation and world. This semester, for example, I have had the privilege of speaking to scholarly conferences at JMU on Undergraduate Mathematics and Statistics (SUMS) and Logic Across the Disciplines, as well as a regional Bike-Walk Summit aimed at making the campus and area more bike and pedestrian friendly. I want to acknowledge all of our faculty, staff and students who contribute to making these events successful and which raise the profile of our institution. This semester I’m also addressing groups off campus such as the Shenandoah Valley Human Resource Managers, Association of Graduate Schools, and International Council of Fine Arts Deans to name just a few. We also hosted students at JMU from the University of the Free State in South Africa, who participated in an intercultural exchange on diversity and leadership.
Family Weekend was a huge success this year with record numbers participating. It was the biggest revenue-producing event ever for the bookstore and dining services. Activities included "Back to School" class visits for parents on Friday, the Phil Vassar concert, the General Education Student Conference, many academic receptions, a 5K race and UREC programs, just to name a few. The football game was sold out with 25,201 in attendance. The fall meeting of the Parents Council (PC) welcomed 43 new first-year members. Thanks to all who participated and provided hospitality for our JMU families.
Homecoming Weekend is quickly approaching. We look forward to welcoming alumni back to campus November 1-3. Visit the website for news on homecoming activities http://www.jmu.edu/homecoming.
The Marching Royal Dukes will be representing JMU on national television as they kick off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. This is a significant honor and the third appearance for the band in the parade. Many of us will join the band in person to cheer them on, and we know many others will want to catch them on TV.
The winter commencement will be held on Saturday, December 14 at the Convocation Center, and we are pleased to announce that JMU’s own GJ Hart (CEO of California Pizza Kitchen) will be the featured speaker.
We continue to make good progress on a variety of facilities projects that will enrich our educational environment. The renovation and expansion of Duke Hall (at the corner of Grace and Main Streets) is expected to be completed in December of this year, and we are now planning departmental moves. This building for the visual and fine arts will further strengthen and highlight the presence of the arts at JMU. The Student Success Center and Health Center, located on the North Campus (the old hospital site), are on track for phased completion in 2014. Site work has begun for an apartment-style residential facility on Grace Street (west of Main Street) that will house 507 students, with an anticipated completion date of summer 2015.
Additional capital projects that are in the design stages include the development of a new Health & Human Services Building, the renovation of Madison Hall (part of the old hospital complex), the expansion of UREC, repair of the Newman Lake Dam, and the construction of new steam lines. All of this construction signals a campus that is vibrant and seeking to meet the evolving needs of our institution in the 21st Century.
Combined Virginia Campaign
Although it is hard to believe, the holiday season is quickly approaching—which for many is a time of giving back. The Combined Virginia Campaign (CVC) is upon us, and soon you will receive a large red envelope outlining the many ways that you can give back to the community. It also includes information about a state program, Holiday Hoops, which will support food banks across the Commonwealth—as well as provide some friendly competition between universities. Please read through your CVC packet carefully, and consider giving to help those in need.
As autumn enfolds the Shenandoah Valley and our campus in its beauty, I encourage each of you to take the time to reflect on the good work we accomplish together. Your efforts make a difference in the lives of our students, and I am grateful to all of you for sharing your time and talents in this noble enterprise. It is a privilege to work with all of you.
Dear JMU Colleagues,
JMU campus endures the cold of winter. Above, JMU staffer Frank Doherty captured this image of the fountain at Burruss Hall turning to ice in December 2013.
Welcome back to a new semester at JMU! I hope that each of you enjoyed a peaceful and safe winter break. Many of us have been back at work since January 6 preparing for the new semester. It has been eerily quiet and far too cold! I look forward to the activity on our campus brought about by the pursuit of learning.
I want to take a few moments at the threshold of a new semester to share a few updates on recent news and developments.
The Search Committee for the Dean of the College of Integrated Science and Engineering (CISE) has identified and invited three candidates to campus for interviews. These interviews are anticipated to occur in January and early February.
The Search Committee for the Vice Provost for Research and Scholarship has identified four candidates to be invited for campus interviews. These interviews are being scheduled to occur after the CISE Dean interviews.
Finally, the Search Committee for the Dean of the College of Health and Behavioral Studies is finalizing their selection of candidates for on-campus interviews. These interviews will be scheduled to follow the Vice Provost campus interviews.
Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Events
A full week of events has been planned to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Activities and performances ranging from the Step Afrika dance performance to a March and Speak Out will take place January 13-20. The celebration will culminate with a formal program at 7:00 pm on Monday January 20 in Wilson Hall featuring keynote speaker Dr. Steve Perry. Click here to access the full listing of events.
Upcoming Meetings and Presentations
James Madison University continues to be well represented in national higher education organizations and events focused on issues represented in our strategic plan. For example, I will be representing JMU at several national meetings this semester such as: the College Board Colloquium (speaking on financial aid and its importance); the annual conference of the Association of American Colleges & Universities and its Presidents' Trust meeting (focused on engaged learning and improving student achievement); the annual conference of the American Council on Education (speaking on leadership); and the Association of Governing Boards (speaking on access).
Dr. Scott Paulson, Associate Professor of Physics and Cluster 3 Coordinator, is an invited faculty member to be showcased in a special Demonstrations of Innovation in Teaching series at the upcoming American Association of State Colleges and Universities conference. Dr. Paulson's presentation highlights the effective use of technology to support engaged pedagogy reflective of the student-faculty interaction consistent with our vision.
In addition to getting off to great start on campus, the Madison Collaborative has made numerous regional and national appearances. Professors Mark Piper and David McGraw presented a session on the Madison Collaborative at the International Conference on Ethics Across the Curriculum. Dr. Meg Mulrooney and Dr. Fletcher Linder presented at the Biennial Conference of the American Conference of Academic Deans and the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Dr. Keston Fulcher shared the project at the Northeastern Educational Research Association conference, and Dr. Josh Bacon and Mr. Dave Barnes presented at the Virginia Student Services Conference. The Madison Collaborative team continues to move forward with sessions on the Eight Key Questions on campus in the local community. Preliminary assessment data is under analysis and we look forward to sharing results in the future.
The Duke Hall expansion and renovation was completed during December 2013. All faculty and staff scheduled to move in the first phase are settled in the new space. Classes will begin as scheduled on January 13. The remainder of the operations will move into Duke after commencement in May including Painting, Ceramics, Sawhill Gallery, Jewelry & Metals and Printmaking. The spaces are beautiful and functional and will be a great benefit to JMU.
The Student Success Center & Health Center project continues to progress and is on track for a phased completion in late spring and mid-summer 2014. The Health Center will move into their facility March 10-14. The remainder of the departments will move in two phases: June 16 – July 1 and July 21 – August 1. Phase 1 will include Associate Vice President (AVP) for Student Success, Centennial Scholars, AVP Multicultural Awareness & Student Health, Community Service Learning, Disability Services, Learning Resource Center-Writing, Learning Resource Center-Math, Learning Resource Center-ELES, Judicial Affairs, Counseling Center, Information Technology, and Center for Faculty Innovation. Phase 2 will include Card Services, Financial Aid, University Business Office, Registrar, Orientation/Transfer and Career Academic Planning.
The university has leased a portion of the historic Ice House located in downtown Harrisonburg. The 28,000 square-foot facility will hold Outreach and Engagement, Office of Technology Transfer, University Communications and Marketing, the Small Business Development Center and several other College of Business outreach and grant programs. Renovations are currently under way and will be completed during the spring semester. This is an unprecedented opportunity for collaboration and engagement with the local community.
The Governor continued his investment in higher education in his last budget presented to the General Assembly on December 16. The 2014-16 biennial budget includes funding to further advance the goals of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011 in the areas of affordability, access and reaching 100,000 new Virginia student degrees. The Governor's budget allocates $183.1 million in additional higher education funding. A few areas of funding for higher education include the following:
• Degree Incentives $63.0 million
• Undergraduate Financial Assistance $29.4 million
• Enrollment Growth $21.0 million
• Research Initiatives $14.6 million
• Base Operations $13.5 million
• Institutional Specific Initiatives $7.1 million
• Performance Based Initiatives $5.7 million
While the Governor's proposed budget does not include base salary increases, a contingent bonus of up to two or three percent depending on employee's performance is included. As stated on numerous other occasions, we will continue to make salary increases a top priority. We will follow and monitor budget changes during the General Assembly session, which began on Wednesday, January 8.
Tom Dingledine, a longtime friend and benefactor of James Madison University, has gifted 37 acres in the Northern Neck of Virginia for JMU students and faculty to use as a field laboratory for research and teaching. In addition to the 37 acres at Bluff Point, Dingledine recently placed an adjacent 860-acre parcel into a conservation easement held by the North American Land Trust that provides JMU the opportunity to conduct research and teaching exercises in its pine forests and saltwater marshes neighboring the Chesapeake Bay.
University faculty who have visited the site are eager to study areas such as water quality, marsh ecology, archaeology, geology, engineering, shore land mapping, public history and environmental writing. Learn more.
Grow By Degrees
The Grow By Degrees program aims to fuel Virginia's continued economic recovery and sustained growth through high impact investments and innovations in Virginia's colleges and universities. This coalition has promoted a vision of expanding job opportunities and economic growth through reinvestment in our state's higher education system. Program goals include creating cost efficient new ways to access college degrees, making college affordable for low and middle-income families, and increasing public-private collaboration on university-based research. More information on this program can be found at http://growbydegrees.org/.
Madison Vision Series
I am thrilled to announce that Kat Imhoff, President and CEO of the Montpelier Foundation, will present a lecture for the Madison Vision Series on Tuesday, March 18 at 4:30 pm in Grafton-Stovall Theater. Ms. Imhoff will visit with students and faculty throughout the day. Her multi-media lecture will incorporate Civic Engagement and the Power of Place; connecting the relevance of history to the 21st Century.
Carly Fiorina will present a lecture on April 9. Ms. Fiorina is the chair of Good360. She is the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, and serves on the JMU Board of Visitors. Carly established Carly Fiorina Enterprises to focus on powerful levers for unlocking human potential. These include Championing Entrepreneurship and Innovation; Building Leaders and Organizational Capacity; Engaging Women; and Targeted Philanthropy.
We expect to soon confirm a date for Jeff Rosen, President and CEO of the National Constitution Center, to visit JMU.
We will be celebrating our institution's mission and honoring the legacy of the man known as the Father of the Constitution during Madison Week, March 17-21.
JMU's week-long celebration of the fourth president's 263rd birthday will include the Diversity Conference on Monday titled "Engaging our Community and Creating Change", and a lecture in the Madison Vision Series on Tuesday featuring speaker Kat Imhoff from the Montpelier Foundation. The national conference "Intelligence in the Transition from War to Peace," featuring the CIA's declassified documents from the war in Bosnia/the Balkans in the 90's, will occur on Wednesday and Thursday and will bring national and international dignitaries, scholars and academics to campus. Friday will conclude with the annual Stewardship Luncheon. We will also continue the celebration on the Quad for students, staff and the community, as well as Madison-themed events with Dining Services and a day of volunteerism in the community.
Clearly we have a lot to look forward to in the coming semester. Thank you for all you do to make JMU a haven for learning and growth. I am grateful for your many contributions to our collective success.
Happy New Year,
Teaching Analysis Polls (TAPS) provide faculty with feedback on what helps and hinders student learning. Conducted by faculty for faculty, TAPS are held between weeks 5-9 of the semester. Registration closes when 80 requests are received.
Honors student Michelle Amaya ('14) says involved professors have helped make her academic career a success
By Jan Gillis (’07)
Michelle Amaya says professors have helped make her college career a success. Above, she shares a moment with Professor Steven Reich, whose encouragement led to her service abroad experience in Bolivia.
Senior Michelle Amaya ('14) admits that four years ago it was a toss-up where she would go to college. She had been accepted to several schools, including JMU, and liked them all. JMU, however, offered avenues to "get plugged in" she says. Amaya chose JMU because she could enter as a Centennial Scholar and an Honors student. She knew she would receive mentorship and peer support through those programs.
Her instincts were right. She made close friends very quickly during her freshman year living in Shenandoah Hall in the Honors Living and Learning Center. "Everyone was very dedicated and serious, working hard to succeed in classes," she says. The group shared plenty of extracurricular activities as well. Like many other JMU Centennial Scholars, Amaya is a first-generation college student, but the scholarship program offered peer support and guidance for navigating campus life.
While Amaya, who grew up in Chesapeake Beach, Va., and El Salvador, enjoyed the ready kinship of her Honors classmates she found plenty of variety on Madison's campus. "People may say that JMU doesn't look that diverse," she says, "but it is extremely diverse in the way people think."
Coursework has been demanding. "It definitely has been more academically challenging than I expected," she says. She sums up her initiation to JMU academic life in one word—"humbling."
"I remember sitting in class and thinking, 'I'm not a chemistry major, how am I ever going to learn this?'" she says. She found out that chemistry professors were ready to help. "Dr. Mary Tam has been a mentor over these four years. I really did struggle with chemistry a lot, and she was always there. And, Dr. Kevin Caran was another of my favorite professors."
At the beginning of her college career, Amaya felt some consternation over her ambition to work in the medical field. "I was undecided between being a physician assistant or a doctor. I battled that for several semesters until I made the choice to commit to being a doctor. I realized that was my passion. I think I was just scared for awhile which led me to contemplate whether another career or path would be better."
JMU professors played a large role in developing her confidence and the drive to achieve her dream.
Dr. Sharon Babcock's anatomy class was Amaya's favorite. Babcock made it easy to put aside any trepidation as to subject matter. "I never dreaded going to class or all the things we had to learn," she says. "It was so much fun. Every time I left the class I felt inspired and really interested in what we were learning." Amaya particularly appreciated that Babcock acknowledged her students as professionals. "She always referred to us as anatomists, and she made us believe that we really were worthy of the title."
Another confidence-builder was history professor Steven Reich. Amaya credits Reich for encouraging her to apply for a Hillcrest Scholarship, awarded to outstanding sophomore honors students. When Amaya won the scholarship, she traveled to Bolivia on a global health internship to mentor orphaned children and shadow pediatric physicians. "The trip confirmed my call to serve in the medical field and allowed me to see the reward of the hard work I invested in my academic career," she says.
Now, when asked to contrast her pre-college expectations with the reality of her Madison academic experience, Amaya says, "JMU was academically challenging, but that's why I've been able to develop relationships with my professors. They've helped me out a lot in my struggles. It's not like I've been alone, it's just been more challenging."
Senior Eric Croucher is getting ready to graduate but that doesn’t mean he has free time as his last semester has been filled with classes and 12-hour clinicals three times a week; the hours and the demand are constant. But according to him, “When the work seems too much, just remember you are learning what is necessary to take care of someone’s brother, daughter, aunt, or grandfather. The sacrifice now is worth it in the end.”
On November 9th, at the 3rdannual March of Dimes gala in Richmond, Croucher received the Virginia Student Nurse of the Year award. Even though there were moments he struggled in the nursing program, the faculty still recognized his hard work and determination. “It was a huge honor first to be nominated – that was amazing in itself…but I was kind of shocked I won,” said Croucher.
JMU’s nursing program has taught him all of the practical skills required of a Registered Nurse as well as how to deliver patient-centered care and ethical decision making skills needed in the healthcare setting.
“With nursing, it keeps you busy but I try to get involved,” said Croucher.
He is the current president of the Virginia Nursing Students’ Association, which provides networking and education benefits before entering into the profession.
Croucher also initiated JMU’s chapter of Be The Match, an organization that promotes bone marrow registration and raises funds for the foundation. When his best friend from home was diagnosed with leukemia, he decided to help him the best way he could – encouraging people to join the bone marrow registry. A bone marrow transplant is the best treatment option for blood cancers like leukemia, lymphoma, and sickle cell anemia.
Back in his Maryland hometown, Croucher helped with a big fundraiser that resulted in more than 500 people swabbed and entered into the registry. Since the prime age for new registers is between 18 and 22, Croucher thought “What better place than to do it on a college campus?”
This semester JMU’s Be The Match has already got 126 new individuals added to the system and raised $2,000.
He is also a member of the Order of Omega, a Greek honors society, and the former president of the social fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon.
Croucher will be graduating in December of 2013. He is still waiting to hear back from three potential hospitals: Vanderbilt, University of Maryland, and Johns Hopkins.
Growing up, new dance faculty member Ryan Corriston frequently “jumping over milk cartons and sliding to the ground” in the Kaleidoscope Dance Company at the Creative Dance Center (CDC) in Seattle, Washington. Corriston is bringing that same energy and enthusiasm for dance into the classroom at JMU.
It all started for Corriston when he was eight years old. Anne Gilbert, who was a friend’s mother and the director of the CDC, came into his first grade class to teach movement. That exposure led Corriston to take a class at the Center called “Just Boys,” where he learned to choreograph dances and move “in a fun, creative and exploratory way.”
Corriston continued weekly dance classes at the CDC during his elementary and middle school years, but says he “never really focused on dance until college.” “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life, so I just wanted to pick a good liberal arts school and not pay a gazillion dollars to go out-of-state.” Then he took a class during the winter quarter of his sophomore year, and “really enjoyed it.” After one more dance class during his spring semester at the University of Washington, Corriston was sold. He declared a major in dance the following year.
After graduating from UW in 1998, Corriston spent six months traveling to Nepal and India before making the decision to move to New York to pursue a career in dance. According to Corriston, finding “good work in New York was difficult” at age 22, and he took odd jobs just to make ends meet.
But Corriston found his way. During his time in New York, he worked with a number of choreographers, including internationally acclaimed artist, Doug Varone. Corriston was a member of Doug Varone and Dancers from 2005-2011, where he observed the “raw, unabashed physicality, yet beautifully controlled and musical” nature of Varone’s work. “One of the things I also really liked about his [Varone’s] work is that I felt like I got to be myself when I performed it. I am drawn to seeing people on stage, interacting and being honest and authentic with each other.”
Corriston says his style was most influenced by Varone. “I love to get dancers moving in a real physical way. I also love music and am driven by the score.” In addition, Corriston says he strives to create an environment that fosters genuine creativity. “I try to work with who’s in front of me and use their movement ideas and inspiration.”
JMU dance students and members of the Virginia Repertory Dance Company are getting the opportunity to share their ideas and inspiration with the new dance professor. Corriston, who earned his M.F.A. in Dance from his alma mater in 2013, is choreographing a piece called “The Underpinnings” for Dancescapes, Virginia Repertory’s 3oth Anniversary Celebration Concert (Thursday-Sunday, December 5-8 at the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts).
Corriston will step in as artistic director for the Company next semester while current artistic director, Shane O’Hara, is on sabbatical. “I’m really excited,” claims Corriston. “One of the reasons I wanted to work at a university was to work with students on dances and to help them continue work on pieces that have already been developed.”
Next semester promises to be a busy one for Corriston and the Company. Trips to New York, Richmond and the ACDFA (American College Dance Festival Association) at George Mason are already on the calendar. But Corriston seems to be enjoying the ride. “I’m having a great time here. I feel like students are getting to become artists and well-rounded people.”
We provide the lunch & afternoon coffee, you provide the energy to collaborate, write or reflect. Come enjoy fellowship with colleagues in the productive and beautiful environment on the Fifth Floor of the Rose Library. Select consultation services available.
Register - Nov 22: Fourth Fridays Fifth Floor for Faculty 12-4pm
The Center for Faculty Innovation is holding its second annual Art & Photography Contest. This year's theme is Life's Milestone Moments. The purpose of the contest is to showcase milestone moments in our professional lives and careers as educators. This contest also provides faculty with an opportunity to showcase their photography. The photographs of the top 10 winners wiil be displayed in the CFI suite (5th Floor of Rose Library) during the remainder of the 2013-2014 academic year.
We welcome submissions from photographers of every skill level. If you are interested in entering any of your photographs, please download the Rules and Entry form and submit your work to the Center For Faculty Innovation by Friday, November 15 at 5 PM.
January Symposium is a place for scholarship.Amid the busy professional duties of teaching and service work, carving out time for mindful scholarly pursuits is vital to professional growth and renewal. January Symposium is a place and time for faculty to learn and grow as scholars. Hone skills, increase productivity, network with colleagues, and engage in scholarly pursuits this year at January Symposium. Consider the following beautiful questions as part of your scholarly journey:
- How do I incorporate a committment to scholarship into a schedule that demands so much of me?
- How does lifelong learning through inquiry nurture you as a scholar?
- How can contributing to scholarly dialogue enrich your sense of community and connection?
- What skills will better help you make a difference in your work?
With its national conference now less than a year away, the Furious Flower Poetry Center has announced the initial slate of poets who will be its special guests. The event is dedicated to Rita Dove, the youngest person to have held the post of Poet Laureate of the United States (1993–1995), and the first African American to bear the title. She’ll also be the youngest poet to have been honored this way by Furious Flower. In addition, the conference recognizes the achievements of literary trailblazers Toi Derricotte, Michael Harper, Yusef Komunyakaa, Marilyn Nelson, Ishmael Reed, and Quincy Troupe, Jr. with Lifetime Achievement Awards.
These legendary poets will attend panels, participate in sessions, and read their work, as will several others who have been invited because of their important contributions to the genre of African American poetry. Among the notable poets who will attend are Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Jericho Brown, Kwame Dawes, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Aracelis Girmay, Duriel Harris, Tyehimba Jess, Evie Shockley, and Frank X Walker.
Furious Flower executive director Dr. Joanne Gabbin remembers, “Twenty years ago, we presented the first conference, ‘A Revolution in African American Poetry,’ which spotlighted the powerful writings of the 1950s to the present. A decade later, we celebrated the poets of the 1960s Black Arts Movement and their effect on contemporary writers with ‘Regenerating the Black Poetic Tradition.’ ”
At the first conference in 1994, Dove acknowledged her literary debt to the Black Arts Movement, crediting it with preparing her audience to accept an African American poet who explored themes other than blackness. She also gave tribute to Gwendolyn Brooks, to whom that year’s conference was dedicated, saying, “Standing in front of this literary congregation as a grown woman, a woman who has entered her forties, I feel very strange thinking that when Gwendolyn Brooks was awarded the 1950 Pulitzer Prize ... I was not even, as people used to say then, ‘a twinkle in my daddy’s eye.’ ”
In 1987, Dove was the second African American to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Appropriately, she serves as a bridge between the elders of black poetry, like Brooks, the vigor of the poets of the Black Arts Movement, and African American writers today.
This year’s event, happening Sept. 24–27 and dubbed Furious Flower’s “third decade-defining conference,” takes the next natural step with “Seeding the Future of African American Poetry.”
“We’re focusing on issues particularly important in the 21st century, including the globalization of black poetry, communication technology’s effects on poetic expression, and gender equality,” Gabbin explains. It will also highlight emerging voices in the genre, many of whom have been especially invited to bring their diverse work to the attention of scholars and writers in the field, and for the appreciation of everyone who attends their readings, all of which will be free and open to the public.
In 2011, JMU faculty members Amanda Cleveland, Liliokanio Peaslee, and Gary Kirk were recipients of a $478,000 Best Practices in Mentoring research grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). The grant funded a two-year study to develop enhanced mentor programming and conduct experimental evaluation research. The study investigated the impact of enhanced mentor training and peer advising on the quality of mentor-mentee relationships and mentee life outcomes in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. The grant funded research opportunities for JMU graduate students and helped lead to an expansion of the number of JMU undergrads volunteering as mentors.
Campus-community partnerships at JMU can have impacts beyond the local area. In 2012, this research study was cited by OJJDP as a best practices site in program development and evaluation research. Programming developed by JMU researchers has gained nation-wide attention and is currently hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA). BBBSA has also noted the team’s development of evaluation instruments for use with young children, a group currently understudied in national mentoring programs. Researchers expect that forthcoming findings will be used to inform and improve mentor training practices broadly.
Subsequently, in late September 2013, OJJDP announced a new research award to Dr. Peaslee and Dr. Cleveland for $299,000 in funding to expand the scope and timeframe of their original research project. The new project will fund a four-year research study aimed at identifying the factors that affect match quality beyond enhanced training and peer support. In addition, this new research project will employ a long-term, quasi-experimental research design tracking outcomes of mentees after their mentoring relationship ends. “We know that the benefits of mentoring often increase overtime,” says Dr. Peaslee, “This project affords us the opportunity to assess the possibility of more meaningful impacts of programs like BBBS on at-risk youth as they enter adulthood.”
Both projects are conducted in conjunction with an affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America in Harrisonburg-Rockingham County, Virginia (BBBSHR). Led by Executive Director Susan Totty, BBBSHR is an established one-on-one mentoring program serving over 600 children annually. BBBSHR has been nationally recognized for excellence in practice and service. “Community-based research requires intense coordination and widespread participation”, notes Dr. Cleveland. “Nearly 90% of the volunteers serving children in need in this community are students at JMU and surrounding colleges. Community engagement among students on our campus has been vital to the success of our research and BBBSHR’s goal to serve at-risk youth.”
Amanda Cleveland and Lili Peaslee are both Assistant Professors of Public Policy and Administration in the Political Science Department. Dr. Cleveland is in her fourth year at JMU; she specializes in program evaluation. Dr. Peaslee is in her sixth year; she specializes in youth development and policy studies. Both are currently involved in several other community-based research and evaluation projects that permit students in their courses to apply their knowledge to serve local needs.
Dr. Peaselee (left) and Dr. Cleveland (right)
Back in 2005, Centennial Scholar Francesca Leigh-Davis’s aspirations included completing a degree in psychology and pursuing a career in substance abuse counseling. As a recipient of Madison’s prestigious full-ride Centennial Scholarship, the Tidewater area native was known for her superior academic performance, her school spirit, and for her love of the city of Harrisonburg. What many did not know, however, was her constant struggle with family issues back home. Now, after a six-year hiatus from JMU, her dream of graduating from college is finally becoming a reality.
“The problems have always existed,” said Leigh-Davis, recalling the reasons that she was forced to leave the school and life she loved. This included a range of personal family issues, as well as a traumatic event that occurred during her freshman year. “Our house burned down back home, we lost everything.”
To help her grandparents, who raised her, Leigh-Davis made constant trips back home. Taking time away from her academics and social life back in Harrisonburg, she cites this incident as the beginning of an unexpected downward spiral.
From then on, Leigh-Davis fought a constant battle to stay in school, despite several unforeseen obstacles. During her junior year, she became pregnant and learned her grandfather was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was given three months to live. “Socially and academically, I felt completely overwhelmed,” she said, “my grades had fallen, and I decided that before I fell too far behind, I should leave [school].”
Though she made trips to Smithfield, VA three times a week to help her ailing grandfather with their family real estate business, Leigh-Davis decided to stay in Harrisonburg with her child. “I had fallen in love with the area, and had every intention of returning back to JMU.”
Life threw another curveball the following August. “Right before I was going to start classes again, my grandfather passed away,” Leigh-Davis said. “I knew it was up to me to keep our family’s business going, so I packed up myself and my baby and went home.”
At this point, her goal of coming back to complete her degree was a fading dream. “…it became painfully clear that I would not be returning to JMU in the near future,” Leigh-Davis said. That was, until her grandmother received a letter from JMU’s Outreach & Engagement office in May of 2013.
“I was sitting at a different university filling out an application,” said Leigh-Davis. “My grandmother called and said the President of JMU was inviting me to ‘Return to Madison’ to complete my education. I called the number, and they told me it was true. I couldn’t believe it.”
Leigh-Davis is just one of 47 students that reenrolled at Madison this fall as part of a statewide push to encourage adults to complete their bachelor’s degree at four-year Virginia institutions. Since its inception in 1977, JMU’s Adult Degree Program (ADP) has worked to educate and enlighten students beyond the traditional college age. To further this initiative, JMU Outreach & Engagement launched a new campaign in August of 2012 known as “Return to Madison.” Funded by a $50,000 grant from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, this program aimed to identify students who were previously enrolled at JMU between 1995 and 2008 and earned at least 30 college credits. These individuals, residing in many areas of Virginia, were then invited to come back to Madison to finish their degree through the Adult Degree Program.
Initially, the registrar’s office identified about 6,200 candidates that were eligible for the program. After eliminating individuals who had already completed their degrees at other institutions, more than 1,100 candidates remained. Once that number was determined, Outreach & Engagement began their marketing strategy.
“More than 100 students have responded so far,” said Pamela Hamilton, Director of the Adult Degree Program for Outreach & Engagement. “We used the grant money to pay for postage to send out customized letters to each student as well as a card from President Alger.” These letters identified various aspects of students’ previous educational experience, including former majors and the number of classes left in order to complete a degree.
ADP was also able to use the grant money to purchase software that pulled relevant employment information from online job postings. “We were able to actually include employment information for their area,” said Hamilton. “This included skills, openings, and degrees necessary, so we could pull all of that information together and help students decide on an appropriate area of study.”
ADP students are provided one-on-one guidance to develop a curriculum that will meet their academic goals. For some, this means only a few classes stand in their way of receiving a bachelor’s degree. Opportunities to complete these course requirements are available both on campus and through online programs designed by James Madison faculty specifically for the Adult Degree Program.
“This initiative was far more successful than we had anticipated,” said Hamilton. “A total of 47 students have returned to complete their degree, and we didn’t expect that any of the students would graduate in the one-year time period of the grant. However, six students actually have, and three more will graduate in December 2013.”
Though the grant ended, Outreach & Engagement will continue to reach out to students inviting them to complete their degree through the Adult Degree Program.
For her first semester, Leigh-Davis is enrolled in a series of communication courses, with the intention of also completing a business management track next fall. As for the program, she could not express the magnitude of her appreciation. “When I had to write a statement for my application back, I was in tears. Not because what happened was hurtful, but because, regardless of what happened, I’m back at JMU. I can’t even explain how big that is for me. A college degree was never out of the question. To be able to come back to JMU and complete my education, it’s like the best Christmas ever.”
Hurricane in the forecast? You might want to top off your gas tank – or buy some shares of Exxon stock. According to recent research published by Drs. Jason and Kristin Fink, the price of gas will rise if a hurricane is forecast, as will the stock prices of major refineries.
The Finks have recently published three research papers examining the impact of hurricanes on the price of energy, and the stock price of oil companies. Their interest in hurricanes started about ten years ago when they purchased a home in the Florida Keys. “Because it’s so prone to hurricanes, we just began to watch hurricanes every year. And being statisticians, we began really watching hurricanes and being familiar with how the forecasting works. We even came to know the names of the forecasters,” says Kristin. She adds they began to wonder what happens to energy prices when hurricanes are forecast.
Jason notes that there had been no research to determine if the markets really believe the forecasts of the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The NHC provides good forecasts for major metropolitan areas. He says, “We wanted to see if the financial markets believed in these forecasts, and to what extent.”
The first paper examined futures contracts, called “crack spread” contracts. The name comes from the fact that the carbon chain is cracked when oil is refined. The crack spread is really the difference between heating oil and gasoline, minus the cost of crude oil. Jason explains, “It’s the spread between the product and the input. When the hurricanes roll through, the spread is what would be affected.”
He adds, “Asset prices don’t react when the bad event happens; they react when people realize the bad event is going to happen.” The Finks gathered the forecasts from the NHC back to the early 90s, which were provided every six hours. They wanted to determine when in advance of the storm the asset prices reacted. “That let us know which hurricane forecast they believed,” says Jason. They found the assets believed in the 24-hour forecast, jumping by about 13 percent.
In the second paper, the Finks looked at stock prices of companies that were producing the gas. Jason says, “We again looked at when they reacted. We broke it up into the 1990s and the 2000s. In the 1990s, people believed the forecast at the 24-hour horizon; in the 2000s, they were reacting at the 48-hour horizon. This was directly tied to the accuracy of the NHC forecasts, which were as accurate for the 48-hour horizon in the 2000s as they had been for the 24-hour horizon in the 1990s.”Allison Russell, a quantitative finance alumnus, helped research and write the first paper.
The Finks discovered an unexpected trend during their research. “For the most part, stock prices went up during hurricanes, not down,” says Jason, adding, “It was puzzling at first. But when we looked closer at it, we realized it was only the largest refineries whose prices were going up. The small ones weren’t really affected.” They concluded that the large refineries have refining capacity in other locations; they are spread out. The large refining firms are able to capitalize on the increase in gasoline prices. They are able to profit from the refined energy spikes that occur during the hurricanes.Kristin adds, “Because the NHC got better in its forecasting ability, markets picked up on that and started believing farther out and reacting to it earlier.”
Their third paper focused on the impact of long-range forecasts for the hurricane season, which come out in December, June, and August. The Finks researched the newspaper articles that ran the seasonal forecasts so they could pinpoint exact dates of the predictions.
They tested the reaction of the crack spread futures to these seasonal forecasts. Jason says, “Although the odds of getting hit by a hurricane are astronomically low, we found that with the June and August forecasts there actually was a jump in the crack spread futures; the more active the season, the greater the jump. The spreads don’t react at all to the December forecasts.”
This research provides valuable information for investors. Jason notes, “Purely from a timing standpoint, if you’re worried about a hurricane moving through somewhere, if you want to get out before the risk is likely to manifest itself, you’d want to get out prior to the forecast horizon where you know the market reacts.” He adds, “It appears that energy firms are able to increase their refining capacity at other locations. Knowing that they actually benefit financially from these hurricanes lessens their need for financial assistance from the government.”
The Finks’ research reinforces the old adage that timing is everything!
The International Student and Scholar Services team in the Office of International Programs provides support for nearly 500 international students studying at JMU on non-immigrant or temporary visas. Here’s a glimpse of what the ISSS staff offers:
Welcome to LIFE – Leaders in International Friendship Exchange
The Leaders in International Friendship Exchange (LIFE) program was launched in January of 2013 with 28 JMU international students and 18 local families initially participating. The LIFE program matches such students with local community members who are interested in connecting with them. This completely volunteer program facilitates friendship and cultural exchange. International students choose to participate in LIFE in order to learn more about American culture through interaction with an American family, improve conversational English skills and understand and feel more relaxed in the local community. LIFE community volunteers join the program in order to learn about diverse cultures, provide a comfortable environment to students far away from home and promote global understanding in the Harrisonburg area.
Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner – Bringing Communities Together
The ISSS celebrated Thanksgiving at a potluck dinner with more than 100 international students and families who joined the LIFE program.
The View from Over There
What happens to students who live abroad and who want to get a feel for what the campus looks and feels like? How can admitted international students value the many great resources that JMU has to offer, including its picturesque campus? The LINKers (students from the Leader for International Networking & Knowledge program) have finally resolved this situation by creating a virtual campus tour through the eyes of international students.
Conversation Partners – The Big Benefits of Small Talk
The Conversation Partner Program, which began in the fall of 2012 after a successful pilot program the previous spring, provides a unique opportunity for the mutual exchange of culture and, in some cases, language. Domestic and international students are matched for a semester and are expected to meet for at least one hour each week. A list of weekly topics guides their conversations, and monthly activities (pumpkin carving, Thanksgiving dinner, coffee hour, etc.) are offered for the larger group. Of the 165 applications we received for the fall and 128 for the spring, a large number were from students in JMU’s International Study Center. This program gave them exceptional insight into the world of U.S. college students, an opportunity to practice their English skills, and a chance to learn about U.S. culture. Many of the domestic students enjoyed sharing their background, learning about another tradition, and using a language (Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese, etc.) other than English. Every Conversation Partner emerges from the program a better global citizen.
“Nomoshkar,” says Brenna Neimanis, a junior in the JMU social work program, as she presses her palms together, fingers directed toward the sky, as she displays the traditional Bengali greeting. She used this same greeting on her trip to India in the summer of 2013, where she encountered shopkeepers, young girls in churches, and women on the border of India and Bangladesh being trafficked or escaping from a life that was out of their control.
The JMU social work program exposes students to social justice issues and gives them the tools to provide social support, guidance and assistance. Most social work students apply these skills domestically through internships or practicums. For Neimanis, her passion for combatting human trafficking led her on a seven-week service trip to Kolkata, India, to see the issue firsthand and to help empower women affected by it. “I know I’m one person and can’t necessarily do too much, but I didn’t just want to sit by,” Neimanis said.
Trek7, a program through Reach Global, organized her trip. The program provided Neimanis’ group of five college-aged students with the tools they needed to embark on the mission, including emotional support, team building and conflict resolution.
Her daily activities in India varied from working in ministries for women who were freed from the trade, to experiencing the largest red light district in India – Sonagachi – located in Kolkata, where 11,000 women and girls are prostituted every night. Her group begged to see the district firsthand in order to gain a better understanding of the crisis. Of everything she witnessed, the visit to Sonagachi affected her the most. Reflecting on the trip, Neimanis said, “You walk down the street and there is no gap of women lining it. I really wanted to see human trafficking first hand, but actually being there affects you a lot more than you think.”
Neimanis said the social work faculty helped prepare her for this experience by always encouraging students to remain strong when facing stressful and emotionally trying situations in order to help the people involved.
During many evenings, her group tutored young women who were at risk of being kidnapped and forced into the sex trade. While the girls were at first apprehensive about becoming close to the group, they formed a strong bond over the the seven weeks. Neimanis said she grew particularly close to two sisters, Puja, 17, and Radha, 19, whose father was dead and whose mother was living in another village with two of their siblings. Neimanis said the girls were embarrassed that they lived “on streets lined back-to-back with houses made of cardboard and makeshift tarps.” By the end of the seven weeks the girls were excited to take Neimanis’ group to their houses and give us a tour of their neighborhoods. This immense poverty was one of the aspects of the trip that surprised her the most. While Neimanis said she visited third world countries in the past on other service trips, “it wasn’t even a tenth of the poverty you see in Kolkata.”
During the day, Neimanis and her group worked with agencies that employed women who escaped from brothels. These agencies helped women make and sell blankets and apparel out of recycled saris. It was in these shops that her group was able to interact with the women on a more personal level. ”You go in, take off your shoes, everyone does the nomoshkar greeting, and you’re invited to sit on the floor,” Neimanis said. “The shopkeepers offered us chai tea; we listened to music, talked and hung out.”
In the future, Neimanis hopes to work in an international setting with an organization that promotes prevention of human trafficking and offers aide to women exiting from the sex trade.
Social Work Department Head Lisa McGuire said, “Issues of cultural diversity and globalization are increasingly impacting all social workers and the clients they serve. Brenna’s work is on the cutting edge of practice and is clearly consistent with the mission of the social work profession in addressing social injustice, both locally and in the world.”
McGuire added that the social work department sponsors two international class-based trips to El Salvador and Dominica. Students like Neimanis sometimes choose independent service trips to locations like Israel, Kenya and Peru.
Neimanis plans to visit India in the future to follow up on her work and reunite with the friends she met along the way. She will continue her work with human trafficking in Laos and Bangkok during the summer of 2014. “I feel like I don’t have an excuse anymore to not do anything about it.”
Paul Bogard has stared into the night sky from different parts of the U.S. as he taught everywhere from New Mexico, Nevada, Wisconsin and North Carolina before settling in Virginia. However, no matter where Paul looked, one thing remained true: artificial light was interfering with the view.
Paul Bogard, a native Minnesotan, is an assistant professor of English at JMU, teaching creative nonfiction writing and environmental literature. He recently published The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light. Bogard’s novel focuses on the negative impact of artificial light and the human experience. He points out that “for most of human history, the experience of stepping outside to come face to face with the universe at night was one of the most common human experiences, but now it has become one of the most rare.” Instead, he says, people seek out light and have come to associate it with a false sense of safety and security.
Not only has artificial light affected the human experience, the book interconnects our health and the health of our ecosystem in regards to artificial light as threatening “our physical health by disrupting our sleep, confusing our circadian rhythms and impeding the production of the hormone melatonin. In addition, our light pollution endangers the ecosystems on which we rely on by destroying the darkness that is habitat for 60% of invertebrate species and 30% of vertebrate species, all of which are nocturnal.”
Bogard’s work has been well received by critics, described as “a lyrical, far-reaching book. Part elegy, part call to arms, The End of Night feels like an essential addition to the literature of nature” by the Boston Globe. Bogard’s hope is to make JMU community aware of the darkness and to embrace it; he believes “we have a wonderful opportunity to change this situation by becoming aware of the value of darkness and the costs of light pollution, and from there beginning to change the way we use light at night.” He believes the JMU community can emerge as leaders in addressing the problem.
Bogard’s next novel will also be a part of the environmental literature genre, as he has already begun researching national parks, new mapping technologies and bird dogs.
Since he was a kid, Dr. Reid Harris loved learning about frogs and salamanders. While an undergraduate at Duke University, Harris realized that he could have the best of both worlds: study amphibians for the rest of his life and share his enthusiasm for biology by teaching college classes and directing research projects. His undergraduate mentor, Dr. Henry Wilbur, was influential in this decision and Harris later completed is doctorate under Dr. Wilbur’s tutelage.
Harris’s research at JMU focuses on disease mitigation through the use of topical probiotics. The bacterial cells that live on, and in, our bodies outnumber our own cells by a ten to one ratio. Although some bacteria are harmful to humans, most species are not harmful and can even be beneficial. Probiotic therapy is the use of these beneficial bacteria to achieve a positive health outcome. Probiotics, such as the beneficial bacteria found in yogurt, has been shown to prevent and treat several diseases of the intestinal tract. Over the years, Harris feels fortunate to have worked with a wonderful group of postdoctoral associates, master’s students and undergraduate students on furthering probiotic research.
Recently, Harris has been researching Bd, a lethal skin fungus, which has decimated amphibian populations worldwide. In the mountains of Panamá, almost half of amphibian populations have decreased, or become extinct altogether, because of Bd. Bd appears to be spread by humans through various methods such as the pet trade. Amphibians are valuable to our ecosystem through insect control and production of secretions that have been models for valuable human pharmaceuticals. Recently, it was discovered by a scientist at Vanderbilt University that an amphibian secretion can inhibit HIV.
In a number of laboratory experiments, Harris and his lab were able to show that probiotic additions of antifungal bacteria can protect amphibians from the harmful effects of Bd. In the lab, they discovered that amphibian skins have protective bacteria that can inhibit and kill the lethal pathogen, Bd. With collaboration from his team, Harris was able to show that the probiotic therapy can also work outside the lab in field conditions. Members of his laboratory are working on how to deliver these probiotics to large numbers of amphibians in the field. These methods can involve adding the probiotic to ponds where amphibians congregate to breed. Harris and his team recognized that they would need use locally-occurring bacteria so that nothing exotic or invasive is added to the ecosystem.
One of the largest amphibian ecosystems exists on the island of Madagascar which has about 500 species of frogs. Currently Bd is absent from the island, but scientist worry it may arrive at any time given the rate at which it has spread around the world. Harris has been working with former student, Molly Bletz, on a project that identifies antifungal probiotics in Madagascar. Bletz plans to pursue this project for her doctoral research.
Besides protecting frogs from Bd, probiotics can be used to protect other endangered species that are being bred in captivity before they are released into the wild. For example, hellbender salamanders are a threatened species in Ohio (among other states) and are being raised in captive breeding facilities. Harris and former student, Andy Loudon, are working to find effective probiotics for the salamander species to ease their transition from zoo colonies into the field. Another former student, Matt Becker, now a doctoral student at Virginia Tech, is working on finding probiotics to allow the Panamanian golden frog to be repatriated to nature. This species is culturally important in Panamá, but is extinct in nature. Fortunately, this species is being successfully raised in a number of zoos around the world.
The Harris lab has also connected human fungal diseases, such as athletes’ foot disease, with the amphibian bacteria. They found that the bacteria, also found on human skin, can inhibit the fungus that causes athletes’ foot. Harris and his colleague, Dr. Kevin Minbiole, of Villanova University and the James Madison Institute, have a patent on this potential skin probiotic. Athletes’ foot disease can be difficult to treat with drugs, so their hope is that a skin probiotic will help cure this disease.
In addition to his work on probiotics, Harris’s lab is studying the basic question of amphibians’ microbial ecology, such as what is the relationship of microbial community structure and protection from disease. This work is part of a collaboration with Virginia Tech and Villanova and is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Dimensions of Biodiversity program.
Harris has been named a Madison Scholar in the College of Science and Mathematics and received a Provost’s Award for Excellence in Research. He was recently elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his research in amphibian microbial ecology.
Back row (left to right): Brendan English, Schyler Bogert, Michael McCullough, John Sims
Front row: Bela Reeves, Kendra Christensen
JMU undergraduate students Schyler Bogert, Brendan English, Kendra Christensen, Michael McCullough, Bela Reeves and John Sims won the district title in the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond's College Fed Challenge competition. The team was coached by Professor Philip Heap.
The JMU team competed in the district finals against teams from American University and Elon University. By winning the district title, the JMU team advanced to the national competition, which was held Dec. 2 at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors Board Room in Washington, D.C.
At the 10th annual national convention, Harvard College won the College Fed Challenge, while JMU received an honorable mention.
The College Fed Challenge is a team competition for undergraduate college students inspired by the work of the Federal Open Market Committee. The challenge is intended to encourage students to learn more about the U.S. macro economy, the Federal Reserve System and the implementation of monetary and financial stability policies. The competition serves to spur interest in economics and finance as well as help students with advancing their studies and beginning their careers.
During the competition, students delivered 15-minute presentations on monetary policy and also fielded questions from judges during a 15-minute question and answer session. Teams were scored on content and analysis, response to questions, teamwork, presentation and style.
When asked about his experience, Brendan English noted “This was my second time competing in the Fed Challenge and I have to say it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career. The Fed Challenge provides an extraordinary opportunity to learn about the real-world application of macroeconomic theory beyond what is taught in the classroom, and I believe the hours of hard work dedicated by the team, and our coach Professor Heap, exemplifies the type of student-professor interaction that makes JMU an extraordinary undergraduate institution.”
College of Business Dean, Mary Gowan, adds, “Congratulations to the Fed Challenge team! I know that coaching a team like this takes a lot of time and energy. I appreciate the hard work and dedication of the team members and their coach, Professor Heap. You represented JMU and the College of Business well!”
She goes on to state, “Giving students the opportunity to participate in real-world experiences is one of the hallmarks of the College of Business. The college focuses on analytical, problem-solving, communications, and teamwork skills, which are highly valued in the business world. We are proud to see our students use these skills to successfully compete in competitions such as the Fed Challenge.”
By: Daniel Vieth
According to the World Health Organization, waterborne diseases are the number one cause of illness and death in developing countries around the globe. Rieckmann has recently been selected to be a part of the Community Water Solutions’ Fellowship Program. As a fellow of this initiative, Rieckmann will be traveling to Tamale, Ghana to help women in the community establish a sustainable system that will provide clean and affordable water for upwards of 1,000 people. “I have always had a passion for making a difference and supporting those less fortunate than me,” Rieckmann explained. “This trip provides the added bonus of being able to combine my love of volunteering and engineering with experiencing a new culture!”In Africa alone, the lack of access to clean water results in the otherwise preventable deaths of nearly 700,000 people every year. The lack of resources also makes creating large scale water purification treatment systems unfeasible. Brittany Rieckmann, a freshman Engineering Student at JMU, has decided to help by spending her winter break in Ghana creating affordable and sustainable water purification systems.
Community Water Solutions (CWS) is a program that brings economical water treatment and home storage systems to the communities of Northern Ghana. In addition, CWS has also helped to establish local businesses that are designed to empower the women of Ghana by teaching them how to become successful and independent entrepreneurs. To date, CWS has launched 55 successful water treatment businesses, which are run by 110 women entrepreneurs serving over 30,000 people. These accomplishments would not have been possible without students like Rieckmann joining the CWS Fellowship Program.
The Fellowship Program acts as the groundwork team for CWS teaching and inspiring its members with philanthropic, leadership, and training experiences. According to the CWS website, the purpose of the fellowship is to educate its volunteers about the current global water crisis and inspire leadership, especially in the field of international development. “I decided this would be a good and challenging match for me,” Rieckmann stated, “I couldn’t resist applying!”
On the trip, Rieckmann will be working with a team of three other CWS fellows to both build the structures for the water storage tanks and provide training for the local women on how to properly manage the purification systems and sustain their businesses. “The trip will allow me to bring engineering skills out of the classroom and into the real world,” Rieckmann explained. “A lot of engineering is about problem solving [and] the Fellowship will allow me to see how a team will work together to provide the best water solution for the village we are responsible for.”
Community Water Solutions method for effectively treating the local water in Ghana, without the need for expensive drills or wells, involves adding alum and chlorine. These two chemicals help remove turbidity and disinfect the water respectively. The clean water is then stored in separate containers for each home, lessening the chances of cross contamination. “With the training provided by the CWS, the locals will become completely self-sufficient in treating all of their water by hand,” Rieckmann continued. Her team will have to accomplish these feats within three weeks all while overcoming language barriers and other difficulties. “The actions that will be required of me while on the trip will in turn help me to grow as a person and as a leader.”
Before Rieckmann can make the trip to Africa, however, she and the other CWS Fellows must raise $2,950 to cover the in-country expenses. She hopes to raise the funds online using Crowdrise. To help Rieckmann, raise the money for CWS, visit: (http://www.crowdrise.com/CWSolution/fundraiser/brittanyrieckmann )
While other students may choose to spend their winter breaks relaxing before the beginning of a new semester, Brittany Rieckmann has chosen to help others by lending her expertise to a great program and the people of Northern Ghana. “I am more than excited to be a part of this learning experience!” she exclaimed. “I am especially looking forward to learning about another culture, to see how other people live. I think this experience will help me see a different perspective on life as well as give me more appreciation for how I live.” Rieckmann is a great example of how students at JMU can make an impact both locally and globally.
Junior musical theatre major Ben Stoll is flying high these days. He recently starred in the Forbes Center’s Studio Production of Godspell, where he played Jesus, the lead role and the “most meaningful” he has played in his young career thus far.
Stoll was also one of eight students who took the stage with musical theatre icon Patti LuPone when she performed her new concert “COULDA, WOULDA, SHOULDA … played that role” at the Forbes Center in September. Stoll sang choral parts on “Trouble” and “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.”
“Both working and performing with Miss LuPone met and exceeded my expectations. She is truly a master in the field, and it was both enlightening and awe-inspiring to watch her work,” exclaims Stoll.
Stoll says his favorite part in working with Miss LuPone was in rehearsal when she sang “Sleepy Man” from The Robber Bridegroom, and she invited the musical theatre students to “gather around the piano with her to learn it.” Stoll reveals that during the course of singing and improvising harmonies, “she was moved to tears … an indescribably wonderful moment.”
Following the rehearsal, musical theatre coordinator Kate Arecchi helped the students learn their parts in preparation for performing the song with Miss LuPone during her actual performance. According to Stoll, it was live onstage that Miss LuPone “again grew emotional and gave each of us a hug.” Stoll says, “To be able to say that I was hugged by Patti LuPone onstage is pretty much fantastic. It was an experience I will never forget.”
Stoll grew up just down the road from Harrisonburg in Waynesboro. He attended school across the street from the Blackfriar’s Playhouse, where he was introduced to the world of professional theatre. Stoll says participating in community theatre musicals from “elementary school on” sparked a love for the field.
Stoll was hooked on JMU after touring the campus and seeing the Forbes Center. During his studies, he met fellow students and faculty, including Arecchi. Stoll considers Arecchi a director, but also a friend, and describes her as “passionate, honest and so incredibly helpful.”
Arecchi is certainly glad to have Stoll as part of the program. She says, “He is a strong positive presence in the collaborative process. He is a generous leader and a gifted artist and scholar.”
Stoll, who admittedly spends a lot of time busy with theatre performances, is highly motivated to learn. He is in the Honors Program and likes to take 19-20 credit hours per semester. Stoll is double-majoring in English and theatre and dance with a concentration in musical theatre. He is also involved with InterVarsity, a Christian organization on campus.
Stoll considers himself “blessed” to be part of the musical theatre program. In addition to playing Jesus in Godspell, Stoll acted in the studio productions of Lucky Stiff and Awake and Sing as well as the main stage performances of Romeo and Juliet and Sweeney Todd.
Stoll is performing in From Here … to Broadway … and Beyond: A Musical Theatre Revue in October, and he looks forward to taking a playwriting class next semester. As for Stoll’s future beyond JMU, Stoll says, “I need to do something in which I am using my voice.”
The Office of International Programs celebrated its 25th anniversary of partnership with the University of Salamanca in Spain for the Semester in Salamanca (SIS) program. In 1987, the first group of JMU students landed in Salamanca and paved the way for the more than 2000 who have participated. The program was designed to be a Spanish language and culture experience in which students take classes taught by Spanish professors and live with local host families.
JMU hosted an SIS reunion in April to celebrate, which was a grand success. Seventy-five people gathered to renew friendships, share memories and honor Jesús Jiménez and his wife Ana Caro. They both work onsite with the program, with Jiménez serving as resident director and Caro acting as housing coordinator. They visited JMU for the festivities, along with Noemí Domínguez, Vice Rector for International and Institutional Relations at the University of Salamanca. During the celebration, returning alums and JMU faculty dined on traditional Spanish foods and drinks as well as visited a winery.
Alums from the very first group that participated in the program have fond memories of their SIS experiences. Monica Boyd (’88), who taught high school Spanish for nine years, commented, “Without the trip I don’t know if I would have gotten my Spanish degree and gone on to be a teacher.” “I think it was where I learned how to learn,” said Alli Alligood (’88). “To be in a class where someone is poetically describing architecture and art and then to walk out into the city and see it was awesome. It was the first time I was exposed to that much culture, that much art, that much history and language, and a whole different social order all at once. I appreciated every morsel of the experience.”
The second part of the celebration took place in Salamanca with a visit from Dr. Jerry Benson, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at JMU; Dr. Lee Sternberger, executive director of the JMU Office of International Programs; Felix Wang, director of the JMU Study Abroad program; and Jesús Jiménez. They met with Salamanca’s mayor, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco, and Noemí Domínguez for a local news press conference. In addition, JMU SIS students, past and present host families, and professors at the University of Salamanca participated in the events.
Looking Ahead to New Opportunities –
Double Master’s Degree
JMU and the University of Salamanca (USAL) have agreed to partner in a double master’s program where students can earn a master’s degree from each institution. The collaboration is pioneered by the Spanish Language Department at the USAL and the College of Education at JMU. Upon completion, students will earn a Master in Languages and Culture from USAL and Master of Education from JMU. The program is designed for teachers of Spanish in the United States who are interested in continuing their academic preparation.
The blended learning structure of the program allows teachers to continue their professional careers while pursuing their degrees. Students will enroll at JMU during a summer session, then attend classes at USAL the following summer. The remaining courses are offered online. The curriculum consists of courses such as Learning Theories and Practice, Curriculum Design, Cross-Cultural Education, Spanish and Hispano-American Literature, and Spanish History and Culture. Students will be supervised by faculty from both institutions and also have the opportunity to engage in a practicum.
Michelle Amaya and Carly Starke talk to Melinda Adams, assistant director of the JMU Honors Program (center).
Hillcrest Scholarships vault honors students into promising futures
By Jan Gillis ('07)
What if bright, engaged students could pursue their passions out in the real world and see what happens?
Honors Advisory Council members established the Hillcrest Scholarships to give JMU honors students that opportunity, and the experiences of the inaugural award recipients Carly Starke ('14) and Michelle Amaya ('14) illustrate the potential these scholarships unleash.Read why the Honors Advisory Council took a philanthropic approach to the future
Starke, a biotechnology major and winner of the Hillcrest Scholarship for Research, had a very specific focus: "I love finding what no one else has discovered," she says. Her scholarship experience working at the Food and Drug Administration on the development of a new typhoid vaccine gave her a chance to be at the forefront of discovery.
Amaya, a biology major, had no doubts about what she would do if she won an award. "Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a doctor," she says. Through the Hillcrest Scholarship for Service/Leadership she gained training as a nurse's aide and traveled to La Paz, Bolivia, for a hands-on experience with Child Family Health International.
The experiences were empowering for both students.
"FDA was my first experience in government research," Starke says. "Every day was different. I could look at my results and change conditions of my research the next day to see what would work better." She got the chance to share her work with leading scientists and researchers at a National Institutes of Health poster session. "I talked to people who I look up to. They were interested in what I did, how I conducted my research and my findings," she says.
Amaya's work with doctors and mentoring impoverished and at-risk orphaned youth affirmed her childhood ambition. "CFHI in Bolivia was my first medical humanitarian trip and a milestone in my life. Without the scholarship, I wouldn't have had that moment of affirmation — of knowing it's my calling to serve others through medicine."
Both say their experiences helped them define their future.
'My ultimate goal is a Nobel Prize. I know it's a big goal, but I can push myself toward it.' — Carly Starke
"I want to do vaccine development," Starke says. "I enjoy the molecular biology aspect of it, as well as testing out conditions. My ultimate goal is a Nobel Prize. I know it's a big goal, but I can push myself toward it."
Amaya says, "In Bolivia, I saw doctors who lacked the extensive equipment that is common in America use their hands to diagnose conditions. I knew I would like to do that." Realizing that her hands might well be the only tools at her disposal in the future as a doctor abroad, she is applying to osteopathic medical schools. "Many of these schools have a mission of global health and serving others, while adopting a holistic approach to wellness. Your hands become your tools," she says.
In establishing these scholarships, Honors Advisory Council members were determined that the recipients would have the potential to make important contributions to society in the future. Certainly, the first Hillcrest Scholars have a firm grasp on their future direction. And, their goals make the future look brighter for us all.
Being smart has its benefits. For Honors students, acceptance in the competitive program means access to smaller classes with special curriculum, a living-learning community in Shenandoah Hall, their own dedicated computing lab, study abroad opportunities and one-on-one faculty mentorship for their senior research project. Field trips, concerts, speakers and other special events round out the Honors experience to prepare students for graduate school or their future careers.
Top Majors of Recent Honors Students
3. Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies
5. Health Sciences
6. Communication Sciences and Disorders
7. Chemistry and Biochemistry
8. Media Arts and Design
Madison Alumni Conference gives alumni opportunities for meaningful involvement with JMU
By James Irwin ('06)
In addition to alumni volunteers, the conference also featured students who will make up the leadership board of JMU's Student Alumni Association, set to launch in the fall.
More than 60 alumni leaders returned to Harrisonburg the first weekend of June to attend the annual Madison Alumni Conference, a weekend-long program designed to recruit, train and recognize alumni volunteers.
A partnership-driven conference that brings back JMUAA chapter leaders, Duke Club reps and Admissions Recruitment Volunteers who represent Madison at college fairs throughout the country, MAC is a winner of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education's prestigious Award of Excellence. The conference builds a network of JMU graduates who are informed, involved and invested in shaping the future of James Madison University.
"As an alum, the MAC conference was a great opportunity to gain insight into what's happening around campus," said Heather Cote ('09), a member of the MetroDukes Chapter who served as vice president for membership and outreach from 2011-13. "[It was exciting to] hear more about leadership's vision for the future."
The workshop-oriented weekend featured presentations from JMU President Jonathan Alger, senior vice president Dr. Mark Warner ('79, '81M, '85Ed.S), JMU Alumni Association Executive Director Ashley Privott and Dr. Margaret Sloan from JMU's School of Strategic Leadership Studies. JMU Alumni Association president Jamie Jones Miller ('99) also presented Alger with a $100,000 check from the JMU Alumni Association to the Madison Forever Vision Fund. JMUAA had issued a matching gift challenge to alumni at Alger's March 15 presidential inauguration, pledging to match every $2 raised privately with $1 from the association.
Vision Fund fundraising has raised $340,000 to date thanks to gifts from more than 2,800 donors, including a $25,000 contribution from The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County on behalf of Joe Showker ('79) and his wife Debbie Showker ('78), and a leadership gift from JMU Alumni Association president-elect Larry Caudle ('82) and his wife Barbara Caudle ('81).
"It's time to give back," Barbara Caudle said. "This is an opportunity to elevate JMU and enhance our reputation as a best-value school. By doing things with students, the school, being engaged, giving, enriching the school's reputation—that's how we can stay involved."
Meaningful involvement was a theme Alger returned to frequently during his keynote address to attendees, as he led discussion of James Madison's vision for an educated society, JMU's aspiration to become a national model of civil discourse and the importance of personal interactions, faculty support and student scholarship. In addition to alumni volunteers, the conference also featured students who will make up the leadership board of JMU's Student Alumni Association, set to launch in the fall.
"One of my favorite aspects of the conference this year was the involvement from current students," Cote said. "It was refreshing to see the passion they have for becoming informed, involved alumni, and to see the university nurturing that engagement long before they receive their diploma."
Learn more about the Madison Forever Vision Fund.
Learn more about MAC.
See the event photos.
The vision began with a question.
When Jonathan Alger took to the road in the summer of 2012 to begin his introductory tour as JMU's sixth president, he framed the conversation with a query.
Why Madison? Why JMU? Why us? Why now?
The answers came through in waves of purple, highlighting recurring themes of citizenship, involvement, volunteerism, community and problem solving. Out of the interactions on the Presidential Listening Tour came a vision for JMU's future—to elevate Madison into the national model for the engaged university—and the establishment of a fund to turn that vision into a reality.
That Madison Forever Vision Fund already has received a matching-gift commitment of up to $100,000 from the JMU Alumni Association, and a personal gift from the association board's president-elect, Larry Caudle ('82) and his wife, Barbara ('81).
"JMU has made a big difference in our lives," Larry Caudle said. "I think the Vision Fund is a unique opportunity. It's a vote of confidence in how we feel about President Alger and where JMU is going."
Alger, the Madison Experience, and the future
In the 30 years since graduation, Barbara and Larry Caudle, the JMU Alumni Association president-elect, have maintained strong ties to Madison through giving, volunteerism and mentoring.
The Caudles met President Alger during the "Why Madison?" tour. As longtime donors and advocates for the university they were curious about meeting Alger—the first president to come to JMU from an outside university in 41 years.
"In the past, promoting from within had worked so well," Larry Caudle said. "So like many alumni, when we heard our new president was coming from outside the JMU family—and from a large research institution—we were concerned a person could come from there and really understand the Madison Experience.
"Then we got to meet President Alger."
Citing Alger's vision for Madison as a model of engagement, the Caudles took an immediate liking to the new president, his family, and his idea of building on JMU's strengths.
"We've seen how our presidents have made a big difference," Barbara Caudle said. "Dr. Carrier and Dr. Rose had great visions and this allows President Alger to pursue his vision."
Paving the way
While the goal to elevate JMU began with the "Why Madison?" tour, the path forward will be paved by alumni, donors, students and friends of the university.
In addition to the presidential tour, the Caudles have participated in town hall panels hosted by the Madison Future Commission. Larry Caudle also serves on MFC's fundraising committee and chairs the JMU Alumni Association's strategic planning committee, where, alongside JMUAA President Jamie Jones Miller ('99), he works to form a stronger partnership between the association and the university.
"The Caudles' gift, and their involvement in JMU, are a great example of how alumni can be informed, involved and invested in shaping JMU's future," JMU Alumni Association Executive Director Ashley Privott said. "To me, this goes to defining the relationship they want JMU alumni to have with their alma mater, where the mutual goals of the university and university graduates are achieved."
More than anything, the Caudles said, the inauguration of a new president and the establishment of the vision fund serve as a kickoff for a new direction of full, meaningful engagement. The Caudles were heavily involved in Greek Life as students, and have maintained strong ties to Madison through giving, volunteerism and mentoring in the 30 years since their graduation. They believe true engagement is achieved by looking at the big picture, where donors, volunteers, mentors and advocates overlap to lift Madison to the next level.
"It's time to give back," Barbara Caudle said. "This is an opportunity to elevate JMU and enhance our reputation as a best-value school. By doing things with students, the school, being engaged, giving, enriching the school's reputation—that's how we can stay involved."
"What if there was one prescription that could prevent and treat dozens of diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity?" -Robert E. Sallis, M.D., M.P.H., FACSM, Exercise is Medicine™ Task Force Chairman
In collaboration with the University Counseling & Student Development Center, Health Center, and Student Wellness and Outreach, students may be referred to UREC's Exercise is Medicine on Campus program based on their need for services. Students may also contact team participants for a consultation to determine if our programs and services can meet their needs. Students will have a greater opportunity to increase physical activity levels based on their individual needs and have a better understanding of general nutrition to promote overall health and well-being. Those students who are unfamiliar with UREC programs and services will have opportunities to meet with professional staff members to learn about classes and workshops that could meet their needs (yoga, meditation, dance classes).
Students will initially consult with one of the UREC Professional Staff members on the EIMC team. While one-on-one programs such as personal training and nutrition analysis may not interest everyone, all UREC programs and services will be recommended based on individual goals. Alternatives will be provided based on the needs of each participant. Guidelines will also be provided for those participants interested in exercising outside of UREC.
Regular physical activity at the correct intensity:
- Reduces the risk of heart disease by 40%.
- Lowers the risk of stroke by 27%.
- Reduces the incidence of diabetes by almost 50%.
- Reduces the incidence of high blood pressure, by almost 50%.
- Can reduce mortality and the risk of recurrent breast cancer by almost 50%.
- Can lower the risk of colon cancer by over 60%.
- Can reduce the risk of developing of Alzheimer’s disease by one-third.
- Can decrease depression as effectively as Prozac or behavioral therapy.
Learn more about Exercise is Medicine on JMU's campus.
Written by Heather Gately ('13)
I quickly realized during my time at JMU that UREC was no ordinary "gym." It is a recreation center that is home to a wide variety of activities with the goal of "Motivating Madison Into Motion". The environment and people bring an energy to this campus that is truly motivating. I wanted to share some things that surprised me about UREC - that I thought would be beneficial for incoming students, or anyone else in the JMU community that has yet to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities UREC has to offer.
Here are the five surprising things I found at UREC:
5. All Different Kinds of Dukes
Did you know that there were over 500,000 visits to UREC last year? I have found the most diverse sampling of the JMU community within the walls of UREC. Everyone has their own perception about what the “typical JMU student” looks like, but take one step into UREC and that perception will be wiped clean. No matter your year, gender, major, fitness level, or interest, UREC offers something for everybody. It’s the perfect place to meet new people who share your favorite activities or to try something new and exciting!
4. A Place to Relax and Relieve Stress
Exercise can be one of the best forms of stress-relief. I’ll never forget the feeling I had walking out of my first Zumba class at UREC. It was like the weight of midterms had been lifted off my shoulders, and I was ready to meringue and sashay my way to Carrier Library and take on studying with a whole new attitude. Then there was the post-breakup boxing session where I did some seriously therapeutic visualization of my ex’s face in the middle of my punching bag. For those times I was looking for a more low key approach to stress-relief, there were yoga and meditation classes, the spa and sauna, and even my favorite “treat-yo-self” activity, UREC massage appointments.
3. An Awesome Outdoor Park
For those of you who haven't been there yet, University Park is an off-campus recreation facility that just opened in 2012. It has turf fields, courts for basketball, sand volleyball, and tennis, and it even has an 18-hole disc golf course. There are changing rooms, a grass lawn, and a pavilion that is perfect for picnics and cookouts. This summer I had a blast playing Disc Golf with my friends! Even though I’m a novice with no discs of my own, I was able to check out a set from the Gatehouse for free. There are buses that run regularly to the facility, and it’s only a couple minutes from campus up Port Republic Road, so you have no excuse not to get out there this year!
2. Opportunities to Give Back
UREC is a place with a heart. Both the staff and the participants of UREC help make charitable efforts every year. The annual Warm A Winter Wish fundraiser collects hundreds of holiday presents for people in need from several organizations in the Harrisonburg area. The fundraiser concludes with a wrapping party that attracts speakers and entertainment from all over campus. UREC also leads several alternative break service trips, including a Spring Break trip to the Bahamas, at which participants facilitate team building activities and fitness education for children at a primary school on New Providence Island.
1. A Meaningful On-Campus Job
Applying for a job at UREC was the best decision I made at JMU. At the time, I had no idea that it would be the defining element of my college experience, but I soon came to realize that it would have a massive impact on my life. The people are wonderful and the atmosphere is always positive and uplifting. Not only have I formed relationships that will last a lifetime, but I’ve also learned just as much at UREC as I have in the classroom. Working at UREC has taught me skills in time management, leadership, team building, service ethic, as well as the widespread benefits of a healthy lifestyle. My job at UREC has been so much more than a paycheck, and I encourage anyone who’s interested to learn more about working at UREC!
The Honors Program at James Madison University is pleased to welcome 208 first year students as members of the 2017 Class of Honors Scholars. Members of the incoming JMU Honors freshman class were selected in the spring from a group of more than 1,200 applicants. Harrisonburg native Hannah Pellegrino was one of them. “Last year, I certainly didn’t picture myself attending JMU,” Pellegrino admits. “Yet here I am studying Psychology and Spanish, and I couldn’t be happier.”
'It’s such a great location and a really cool community to grow up in.'
Pellegrino walked right across the street to come to college. Growing up in Harrisonburg gave her a unique familiarity with the campus, events, and some of the social aspects. “It’s such a great location and a really cool community to grow up in,” she says. “The quad was my playground, and the big rock sitting there – the ‘Kissing Rock’ – was my whale. I used to climb on top of it and pretend I was on a sea voyage.
A graduate of Eastern Mennonite High, Pellegrino served as class president her senior year and captain of the school’s 2013 state champion soccer team. She was deeply involved in many other service groups and activities there, including the chapel planning and social committees, and the Christmas fund drive. An accomplished soprano, Pellegrino sang with a competitive touring choir and Virginia’s District Chorus. Pellegrino also volunteered in the evenings, providing childcare to parenting classes for struggling families in the community. “I watched the kids while the parents went to class,” she remembers. “It was very rewarding, but also eye-opening to see that, in my own community, there were people hurting.”
Pellegrino joined a medical mission trip to Honduras, where she worked shoulder to shoulder with healthcare workers, soothing children as they had warts and other growths removed from their faces without anesthetic. Numerous times she’s been to the slum of La Carpio, Costa Rica with her mother, helping a local woman develop a preschool program for children and teachers. “The entire slum is built on a landfill,” Pellegrino says. “They are literally living on trash. It can seem hopeless from afar, but I got to see firsthand all the little pockets of hope.”
JMU students on an Alternative Spring Break trip in Jamaica. Pellegrino participated in service-learning trips like this in high school.
Pellegrino also participated in a school-led trip to Marantha School for the Deaf in Jamaica, where she learned that it was possible to harmonize musically without producing a single audible note. “We were doing worship with the kids at this school and it came time to sing,” she recalls. “None of these kids can sing. But they can still express themselves through their hands. It was absolutely stunning. They were signing with incredible emotion, and as a wonderful ensemble.” Pellegrino says she realized at that moment that everyone on the earth can be connected as a single people, and that building community, kinship, and relationships with others is one of the most important things we as humans can do.
A member of the Psychology Learning Community in Hoffman Hall, Pellegrino says she is fascinated with the developmental side of the field. “I did a senior research project on empathy in infants and young children. I’m interested in how children build relationships at a very early age, and how important those relationships become later in life.” Hoffman residents are involved in field work at Western State Hospital in Staunton. “I’ve got such a community of support,” she says. “My hall mates are fantastic. I’d like to branch out into other areas too, and really soak up as much as I can about all kinds of psychology.”
Hannah Pellegrino lives and learns in the eco-friendly Hoffman Hall, home to Madison's learning communities.
Pellegrino advises other freshmen to be open to opportunities rather than decide well in advance precisely what they intend to do. “Don’t have an agenda for yourself. Don’t feel like you are going through a checklist of experiences or things you need to do or not be involved in. Push yourself to step out of your comfort zone and try things you wouldn’t ordinarily try. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you are lost, ask someone. I got totally lost in the bowels of Taylor Hall. People were excited to help me.”
'My professors here really want to make me a better person, and care deeply about my education.'
Pellegrino warns classmates not to “get on such an academic track that they lose the value of learning” too. College, she says, is not all about getting grades and graduating to something better. “My professors here really want to make me a better person, and care deeply about my education. I’m going to continue to learn how to think and debate and talk about how the world works. It’s a process that none of us should really rush.” She notes that this is especially good advice for Honors students, who so often end up on a “speedway where the ‘normal’ feels behind and the ‘advanced’ feels normal.” Pellegrino is a member of the National Honor Society, a Rotary Scholar for service, and one of JMU’s prestigious Thomas and Karyn Dingledine Scholars.
It isn’t all studying and volunteering for Pellegrino, however. She likes to hang out at Starbucks with her friends and watch movies back in the residence hall. “I’ve loved getting to know new people and build new friendships inside and outside of class.”
Acceptance into the Honors Program comes with access to a unique curriculum, access to a living-learning community in Shenandoah Hall, a dedicated computing lab in Hillcrest House, special study abroad opportunities, and individualized faculty mentorship on an undergraduate senior research project. Honors students receive preparation for post-baccalaureate education and careers, and expand their horizons to all corners of the globe. A number of co-curricular activities supplement the in-class curriculum, including field trips, concerts, speakers, and other special events.
Honors Study Abroad builds independence, confidence and a new, globally minded perspective
By James Hong ('14)
The workload is immense but the payoff is great. That is the message faculty members teaching the James Madison University Honors Program seminar abroad want their students to know. To prepare for the summer honors seminar abroad the participating students were assigned research and readings, attended lectures and films and met throughout the spring semester to prepare for the trip.
'Rarely do you get the chance to fulfill a class requirement while going on field trips, eating delicious food and living in a foreign country.'
Junior media arts and design major Sean Byrne said the seminar abroad is a great way to fulfill the honors seminar requirement while experiencing something totally new. “It takes you out of the classroom, out of the textbooks and brings you right to the front door of the stuff you’ve only ‘learned’ about,” he said. “Rarely do you get the chance to fulfill a class requirement while going on field trips, eating delicious food and living in a foreign country.”
Illuminating the Lives of Another Time and Place
The Honors Program at JMU strives for its students to cultivate and develop skills through challenging, yet rewarding, academic experiences—the honors seminar abroad program is no exception.
As part of the Honors Program’s requirements students must complete six credit hours of honors seminars – courses that explore contemporary issues in society, multicultural and comparative studies, advanced applications in business, and the natural and social sciences. Students in the Honors Program have a choice of completing honors seminars as classes on campus or while studying abroad.
This past summer, two programs were offered to honors students in order to fulfill the honors seminar abroad option: Modern Barcelona and Art, Culture and Politics in Medici Florence. Both programs integrated a classroom component with excursions to museums, monuments and other local hotspots.
'We hope students’ understanding is rich and deep because of their immersion in the class.'
“The course is very interdisciplinary,” said Dr. Linda Cabe Halpern, vice provost for University Programs, about the Medici Florence program. “It aims to illuminate the lives and values of another time and place. We hope students’ understanding is rich and deep because of their immersion in the class.”
Students participating in an honors seminar abroad met regularly throughout the spring semester in order to get better acquainted with each other and the instructors, while also preparing for the adventures of the upcoming summer through various readings, films and lectures.
“At first I was a little overwhelmed with all the readings and countless topics we were covering,” junior musical theater major Courtney Jamison said. “It all didn’t really seem to come together until we were finally up on our feet exploring the various churches and museums.”
For the faculty members, preparing for the program involved a different kind of research.
“I’ve traveled to Barcelona a dozen times – even lived there for a few months at a time,” said Jessica Davidson, associate professor of history. “But to prepare for a JMU study abroad course, I scouted hotels in a safe and central neighborhood and made lots of contacts with museums and scholars in the area.”
Making a Lasting Impact
Faculty believe the study abroad experience provides students with a new, globally minded perspective of the world, as well as building their independence and confidence.
“[Students] believe they are more prepared to handle all sorts of things because of the experience,” said Halpern about how students benefit from their time in Florence. “In an increasingly global society, the lessons of differences in cultural attitudes and behaviors are also very important.”
The students agree, citing the cultural immersion as one of the most important aspects of the trip.
“Overall, the cultural immersion is so important. We were really living in Florence for three weeks, we weren’t staying in hotels in the tourist area,” Jamison said. "We were getting to create and experience with the Florentines. That was really special."
'We were getting to create and experience with the Florentines. That was really special.'
Not only does the program enlighten students on the global community that they are all a part of, but it is also a means of bringing individuals from various backgrounds together to form another type of community. Halpern noted “studying abroad together, with representation from lots of different majors and all of [the students] working hard to keep up with the class material and understand the class content, is an amazing learning environment.”
Although they prepared for the program all semester and were in-country three weeks, the adventures of studying abroad did not end when the students returned stateside.
“We have seen real growth and maturity, even over three weeks, as students learn that they are competent to manage in a different culture and situations that are not familiar to them,” said Halpern. “They believe they are more prepared to handle all sorts of things because of this experience.”
Honors Program Director Dr. Barry Falk said plans are in place for summer 2014. JMU will offer three honors seminar abroad programs: London: Art and Economics in the Bloomsbury Group; Barcelona: 20th-Century Barcelona; and for the first time South Africa: Separateness in a Connected World: A Glimpse Into Post-Apartheid South Africa.
To learn more about the Honors Program: http://www.jmu.edu/honorsprog/
To learn more about the Honors Seminar Abroad: http://www.jmu.edu/honorsprog/current-students/study-abroad.shtml
Applications are now being accepted for three Faculty Associate positions in the Center for Faculty Innovation (CFI). The CFI works to enhance academic culture by encouraging excellence in teaching, scholarship, service, and leadership for JMU faculty. Faculty Associates are selected from among full-time, 10-month JMU instructional faculty who receive a course release during the fall and spring semesters and a stipend during the summer to the work the Center. Joining a diverse and collaborative team for up to three academic years, Faculty Associates contribute substantially to the development, delivery, and evaluation of CFI programs that support the development of JMU faculty. Faculty Associates have the opportunity to work closely with a CFI faculty professional in one or more of the Center's primary areas of focus: teaching, scholarship, career development, and academic culture. New associates will be selected in spring 2014 and begin their work with the CFI in the summer or fall 2014. In addition to the specific positions detailed below, all applicants must possess an interest in university faculty development, be well organized, and be willing to work collaboratively on team-based initiatives.
Career Development Area Faculty Associate
The CFI’s Career Development Area is dedicated to efforts that cut across the teaching, research, and service/leadership domains of faculty life. Career Development activities, initiatives, and programming provide opportunities for faculty at all stages of their careers to set clear goals, identify concrete action plans, and document effectiveness and excellence as part of continuous improvement in faculty improvement and success. Read more about the Career Development Area, including area outcomes and current activities. Faculty Associates in the Career Development Area have the opportunity to play integral roles in planning, deploying, and assessing career development workshops, roundtables, institutes, and other activities. These include centerpiece initiatives in Career Development, including New Faculty Orientation and Academic Portfolio Institutes, as well as Madison Career Fellows and Peer Orientation and Development Groups. Associates will also work with faculty and CFI’s Authentic Partners to create programming and events that respond to faculty interests and needs in career development. Faculty with experience or interests in learning more about faculty mentoring; faculty performance assessment and evaluation; academic governance and leadership; and the integration of teaching, research, and service/leadership are particularly encouraged to apply.
Teaching Area Faculty Associate
The CFI provides an array of inclusive, evidence-based workshops, institutes, communities, and consultations designed to encourage, foster, and support excellence in teaching and learning. To that end, we welcome applications from candidates interested in a Faculty Associate position in the Teaching Area. Read more about the Teaching Area, including outcomes and current activities. The candidate selected for this position will focus primarily on course and curriculum development initiatives such as jmUDESIGN. Ideal applicants will possess some or all of the following characteristics: knowledge of evidence-based pedagogies, awareness of trends and innovations in teaching and learning, experience teaching online and/or hybrid courses, and proficiency in course and curriculum development.
Scholarship Area Faculty Associate
For the Scholarship Area Faculty Associate position, the CFI encourages applications for this position from faculty who have interest in and/or experience with working on initiatives involving the scholarship of teaching and learning, the scholarship of engagement, scholarly writing programs, and/or research methodology. The CFI respects the diversity of scholarship that JMU faculty engage in and seeks to be responsive to that diversity by offering inclusive, evidence-based enrichment opportunities. Scholarship Programs create a vibrant community of scholars engaged in mindful, scholarly pursuits, both individually and collectively. Read more about the Scholarship Area, including area outcomes and current activities. Ideal candidates will be accomplished practitioners whose scholarship agendas align with the scholarship of teaching and learning, the scholarship of engagement, research methodology, and/or scholarly writing. Preference will be given to a candidate who will focus on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL).
- Cover letter, indicating relevant experience and/or interest and which area(s) for which you wish to be considered.
- Current Cirriculum Vita.
- Letter of nomination (generally nominations are provided by peers or administrators with knowledge of your work and strengths as a faculty member).
- Endorsement statement from your Academic Unit Head (AUH). Endorsements need only indicate support and can take the form of the following:
"I support ___________________'s application for the position of CFI Faculty Associate.
- Submit items 1 and 2 to email@example.com by Friday, January 31 at 5pm.
- Ensure that items 3 and 4 are also submitted by the deadline. For cases in which the AUH is also the nominator, the AUH should submit each document separately, but may supply both as part of the same email.
A Hillcrest Scholarship gave honors student Carly Starke (’14) a chance to be at the forefront of scientific research and discover her life’s ambition
By Jan Gillis (’07)
Carly Starke and FDA mentor Dr. Madushini Dharmasena pose in front of Starke's poster outlining her summer research on improving the typhoid vaccine.
Carly Starke ('14) came to JMU with a solid idea of what she wanted to achieve. A high school internship with a pharmaceutical company had sparked her interest in vaccine development. "I knew I wanted a biotechnology career," she says, "and JMU's biotechnology program fit my interests." Another plus, she says was that JMU offered freshmen opportunities in research. She knew she could be working in a lab "right away."
It's proven a good choice.
As anticipated, she began her first year at Madison doing research with integrated science and technology professor Louise Temple. "The class that started it all was viral discovery, hands-on research geared to freshmen. It's not like other biology classes where you do routine projects. Each day everyone was doing their own research," she says. "Dr. Temple has been there for me since day one, and the people I met in that freshman class are still my friends today," she says. "She has done everything to encourage me."
One of those points of encouragement was Temple's recommendation that Starke apply for a Hillcrest Scholarship. Awarded to sophomore honors students, the scholarships support an off-campus summer enrichment experience that complements classroom learning. Recipients develop and refine the project of their choice with a faculty mentor throughout their junior year and implement the project during the summer between their third and final undergraduate year. Under Temple's guidance, Starke applied for and won a Hillcrest Scholarship for Research.
Already familiar with pharmaceutical research and having experienced research in an academic environment at JMU, Starke wanted to use the scholarship to supply a missing element to her experience. "I wanted to see what government research would be like," she says. Her off-campus summer experience was working at the Food and Drug Administration on the development of a new typhoid vaccine.
"At FDA I got the basic science that academia provides but on a huge scale with many more opportunities than would be possible at a university," she says. And, unlike pharmaceutical work, which is often repetitive, "Every day was different at the FDA," she says. "I could look at my results and change conditions of my research the next day to see what would work."
Her scholarship experience gave her a chance to be at the forefront of discovery, and she realized she had a passion for basic research. "I love finding what no one else has discovered," she says.
As part of the experience, Starke was one of approximately 700 presenters at a National Institutes of Health poster session where she shared her findings with other scientists and researchers. "I talked to scientists who I look up to," she says. "They were interested in what I did, how I conducted my research and my findings. One scientist working on an influenza vaccine came up and asked me about my process saying that it might help them improve their process."
It was an empowering experience. The very people whose research she had read and studied in her academic career acknowledged her as a colleague. "I had the opportunity to work with and share research results with them," she says.
As Starke looks to her future, she sees a real benefit in remaining in government research. "You have a better opportunity to publish in this environment. You get to share your knowledge. ... I enjoy putting out the work I do and getting feedback from other researchers. It informs where you can take your research. "
Her experience in government research also helped inform where she wants to take herself. "In the future I know I want to be in the lab working on vaccine development," Starke says. "I enjoy the molecular biology aspect of it, as well as testing out conditions."
What could her future in vaccine development hold? "I think we'll see science enhancing, improving and gaining more knowledge about what we use now," she says. "Take influenza. A large concern today is that influenza strains undergo frequent rearrangement of genetic strains with the potential of spreading disease that people have no immunization against. There's great concern of a potential pandemic," Starke says. "Today, we have to create a new influenza vaccine year after year. In the future, we may be able to create a universal vaccine that would be able to protect against the influenza virus in totality."
There's no doubt that Starke knows her career direction. "The Hillcrest Scholarship gave me a chance to see what research in the real world was like. And, that's where I'm headed now. I'm planning on going into government research at the FDA, NIH or the Centers for Disease Control."
Starke has outlined a great beginning for her future, but she's not thinking small. "My ultimate goal is a Nobel Prize. I know it's a big goal, but I can push myself toward it."
Mentorship goes beyond labs and classrooms
By Jan Gillis (’07)
Carly Starke and JMU professor and mentor Dr. Louise Temple share research interests.
JMU professors are known for taking an active interest in their students' academic careers, using their personal and professional connections to guide students to success beyond graduation.
Starke shares her experience: "I had been working with Dr. Louise Temple as my adviser, and she encouraged her students to apply for the Hillcrest Scholarship. Part of the scholarship proposal work was contacting an agency and finding a suitable project to work on. It meant the agency had to predict what research would be ongoing two years hence," Starke says.
ISAT Assistant Professor Dr. Stephanie Stockwell, who works with Temple in the JMU lab, facilitated the difficult task. "Dr. Stockwell had done graduate work with Dr. Madushini Dharmasena at the Food and Drug Administration," Starke says. Stockwell helped Starke make a connection to Dharmasena, which resulted in Starke's summer experience at FDA working on the typhoid vaccine.
"My experience was better than what I expected!" Starke says. "Everyday I was excited to get to work, telling myself, 'I can't wait to do this!'"
She says Dharmasena reinforced many of Temple's recommendations as to what direction she might choose for her future: "She gave me advice on the grad school application process, where to apply and programs to look at. She helped me understand all my options by explaining what's out there and where you can go," she says. As a result, "I want a Ph.D., probably in immunology," Starke says, "I'm focusing my selection on three schools."
Mentorship goes beyond labs and classrooms. "Dr. Temple has been there since day one, and the people I met in that class are still my friends today. She has had us over to her house; we've gone to conferences together; she has taken us on hikes," Starke says. "She has done everything to encourage me."
The end of Starke's undergraduate career is looming, but she feels she's made a connection to Temple for life. "I know she's always going to be there even after JMU. I'll be able to call her up and share what I'm doing to get advice," she says.
"She's more than a professor."
Collaboration with students from different majors is a bonus of summer research
Lisha White and her team worked on a multi-legged robot.
Summer research at JMU opens unexpected pathways of discovery. Students make new connections and have opportunities to become involved projects and research that is completely different from anything they may have experienced before.
Lisha White, a sophomore engineering major, had just such an experience while working as part of a four-person team that researched how to build a multi-legged robot that could change speeds. "I was with people that I wouldn't normally talk to because we all have different majors and we are in different class years," she said. Two of the team members, Mikias Kidane and Luis Parada, are senior math majors and the other member of the team was sophomore chemistry major Jojo Yirrah.
White said the topic was challenging and rewarding. "We were looking at math that some of us have never seen before and trying to apply it to our previous knowledge," she said. "I think students should pursue summer research because it gives a taste of what research in your field is like. It is what you learn in class applied to life. I also realized that I would love to do this type of research for a career."
White's exploration of how a multi-legged robot could change speeds was just one of 14 projects student math researchers tackled this summer at JMU. Other projects involved a roundworm locomotion study, predicting the success of National Basketball Association teams in playoff series and creating a matrix population model for Monarch butterflies. The student researchers received stipends for their work, some funded by the National Science Foundation and others funded internally.
Math major Emily Hunt gains insight into the lifecycle of monarch butterflies during a summer research experience
Emily Hunt created a matrix population model for monarch butterflies.
Emily Hunt, a junior majoring in math and Spanish, spent a summer conducting research in Mexico, where she used periodic population matrices to model the life cycle of the eastern monarch butterfly.
While some researchers have sounded the alarm that butterfly migration is at risk, Hunt came to a different conclusion.
Her preliminary research results showed that the monarch butterfly is not currently at risk of extinction.
Hunt is continuing the project by working with a biologist to refine some of her parameter estimates in order to make her mathematical model as accurate as possible.
'Summer research opens unexpected paths ... allows you to make new connections and become involved in something completely different'
"Summer research opens unexpected paths, and allows students to discover something new," Hunt said. "It allows a student the opportunity to make new connections and become involved in something completely different from anything they may have experienced before."
Hunt's creation of a matrix population model for Monarch butterflies was just one of 14 projects student math researchers tackled this summer at JMU. Other projects involved a roundworm locomotion study, predicting the success of National Basketball Association teams in playoff series and exploring how a multi-legged robot could change speeds. The student researchers received stipends for their work, some funded by the National Science Foundation and others funded internally.
Math major John Ellis took his research into a favorite field
John Ellis spent his summer formulating a model to predict the success of teams consisting of larger-than-average humans, a.k.a NBA teams.
Ellis, a senior math major who will graduate in December, worked with statistics from the 2002-2003 season through the 2011-2012 season.
To run the model, he would choose one of the 10 seasons as a test. The model would then determine, based on statistics from the other nine seasons, the results of each round of the playoffs in the test season.
Best of all, Ellis said, was that the model's accuracy remained consistent, picking winners correctly about 85 percent of the time, whether he picked an early season from the dataset or a late season.
While the model is not set up to predict what will happen in the upcoming season, Ellis said he could work with the numbers to do that. However, the accuracy might not be as good.
An avid basketball fan, Ellis said one of the most rewarding aspects of the project was working in a subject area he enjoyed. "I was rewarded with something I really wanted to do," he said.
'I was rewarded with something I really wanted to do'
Summer research opens unexpected pathways of discovery and opportunities to make new connections and become involved in something completely different from anything students may have experienced before.
Ellis' project attempting to predict the success of National Basketball Association teams in playoff series was just one of 14 projects student math researchers tackled this summer at JMU. Other projects involved a roundworm locomotion study, modeling the monarch butterfly life cycle and exploring how a multi-legged robot could change speeds. The student researchers received stipends for their work, some funded by the National Science Foundation and others funded internally.
Camisha Matthews ('14) expects to make her mark in the graphic design world in a big way some day.
Thanks in part to Madison Forever Scholarship gifts, Matthews gets the opportunity to finish at JMU and also study in Vienna during the summer alongside William Tate, one of her favorite JMU professors.
All this is happening while her mother fights a second bout with cancer.
"I am so grateful for this scholarship," says Matthews, a Round Hill, Va. native who put on an art show at a downtown Harrisonburg restaurant this fall after being hand-picked by the restaurant owner. "I have gotten a great education at JMU, and I would not have been able to finish here without the help," Matthews says. "I am super excited to get to the next chapter of my life, yet will be sad to leave JMU because it's been so good to me."
After a degree and Vienna, Matthews has her eye on the Portland, Ore., graphic design scene. No stranger to work, she has held down various jobs each year since her freshman year while riding the roller coaster of uncertainty with her ailing mother and her younger sister.
Matthews, who says she chose JMU "because people here are so interested in you and in getting you excited for what they have to offer you to help you have a better life once you leave here," is beyond excited to etch the next chapter on the canvas of her future.
Calling Vienna "one of the design meccas of the world," Matthews adds, "I am so excited to see where that kind of exposure leads me."
Want to help more students stay at JMU?
Jared Farnsworth (’16) is going to help a lot of people.
Madison Forever Scholarship donors helped keep Farnsworth a Duke, and the Richmond, Va., native plans to make the most of that assistance.
“My main goal in life is to show people that someone else cares about them,” says Farnsworth, who may pursue a teaching career after earning his elementary education degree or perhaps parlay his current Wayland Hall resident assistant job into a college student affairs career.
Farnsworth, one of five siblings and on track to be the first in his family to graduate college, reached out for financial help after his parents were forced to declare bankruptcy.
When he learned of his Madison Forever award, “I was definitely blown completely away, and I continue to be so grateful to everyone who gave to this fund,” Farnsworth said. “I don’t know what I would have done if it weren’t for this money.”
Farnsworth is making his mark while here — Madison Project a cappella performer, RA, elementary education major with concentrations in mathematics and science — and through it all, he is learning that his future is in serving others.
Says Farnsworth, who brought with him a 4.2 cumulative high school GPA and continues to achieve and learn, “I was the shy guy in high school, and I definitely want to help people who are like that by making sure that they are included and hopefully giving them a comfortable place to explore their lives and futures.”
Want to help more students stay at JMU?
For Alecia Epp (’14), life at James Madison University was taking a predictably meandering path for most of the first three years.
Lots of friends. Amazing professors. The challenge of a health services administration degree that she thinks will one day lead her to a top hospital administration job.
All in all, pretty good times for the Eldersburg, Md., native.
Good times that came to a screeching halt when her father was diagnosed with and eventually died from cancer. As very nearly did her JMU academic career.
However, thanks to gifts from donors to Madison Forever Scholarships, Epp is managing to stay the course and finish her undergraduate degree.
For Epp, it’s about reaching out to those in need of help.
“I want to help people, and I feel as if health services administration is the perfect fit for me. At the end of the day, it’s really about helping people as opposed to doing a job just to make money.”
For Epp, the emergency aid scholarship help “really has changed my life.” And even with her wealth of friends from freshman year and also all the learning and support she has gleaned from the health services administration faculty, her family’s tragedy nearly forced Epp to leave JMU at the start of her senior year.
Enter a Madison Forever Scholarship to help save the day.
“This scholarship is awesome to me. It helped me stay here. I’m just so grateful for it. It really has changed my life,” she says. “If I hadn’t gotten this Madison Forever Scholarship, I probably would have finished my degree – but it would have been somewhere else and not JMU,” she says. “On top of all the other stuff, that would have been pretty awful. JMU is like my second home. I love it.
Want to help more students stay at JMU?
Reserve a bean bag in the Nap Nook at Festival for a 40-minute power nap.
Trixie Haddon | The Breeze
By Maggie Roth
Between running around to different club meetings on campus, to finishing a paper last minute, and trying to squeeze in dinner, sleep is usually a college student's last priority. Functioning on little or no sleep has become a normal part of college culture - however, it is anything but normal.
According to a study conducted by the Journal of Adolescent Health and published in Medical News Today, 70 percent of students don't receive the recommended eight hours of sleep a night. This lack of sleep can not only negatively impact a student's performance in the classroom, but it can also have detrimental effects on their health. Negative impacts range from anything such as memory loss and irritability, to more extreme effects such as an increased risk for diabetes and or obesity.
JMU wants its students to be healthy. A variety of healthy meal options are available at the dining halls, various fitness and wellness activities and resources are available at UREC, and health and wellness resources are available at the Health Center. And now, a new addition called the Nap Nook is has been implemented in the JMAD Lounge in Festival.
And this is all thanks to JMU senior psychology major and sleep researcher, Caroline Cooke. After losing her favorite napping spot on campus, the "Airport Lounge" in Warren Hall, Cooke decided that it was her responsibility to not only create a comfortable place for students to nap, but to also educate them on the importance of sleep. Thus, she created the Revive the Sleep Campaign at JMU.
"The goal is to increase student education about the many lifestyle factors that can have huge impacts on sleep quality, and that can even result in the development of sleep disorders," said Cooke.
By starting this campaign, she hopes that sleep education will gain attention and even become implemented into JMU's curriculum. What better way to stop the occasional "nodding off" in class or yawning during a professor's lecture than taking a quick and peaceful 40-minute nap before class starts?
"I would like students to experience the benefits of a power nap, since most students have paired napping with the drowsiness associated with sleep inertia accompanying longer naps," said Cooke.
Studies show that students are more successful in the classroom when they receive a full night's sleep. According to an article in ScienceDaily, Dr. Kohler of the Florida Sleep Institute in Spring Hill stated "A teen who regularly gets enough sleep will have improved academic performance, a positive attitude towards their education, and be able to better interact socially with their peers and teachers."
"This research is undisputable," said Cooke. "Sleep is strongly correlated with success, physical health, and mental well-being."
Not only can naps help jump start your brain and replenish your energy level naturally, but sleeping can cut down on the artificial caffeine outlets that students use to help keep awake during the day. These outlets such as energy drinks, coffee, and tea are okay in moderation, but when used constantly they can have negative effects. Also, those drinks can become costly and take a financial toll, while the Nap Nook is completely free and open to all JMU students.
Here at the University Health Center, we recommend that you work to include getting adequate sleep at night into your overall time management and take advantage of the Nap Nook. Click here to directly reserve a bean bag chair in the Nap Nook in advance. And if you want to learn more on the importance of sleep, or want to learn how to improve your sleep schedule, follow the University Health Center on Twitter @JMUHealthCenter for tips!
We want you to be well informed about everything that UREC has to offer YOU! UREC has opportunities for everyone and we want to help you find your place in our facilities, services or programs.
On November 9 and 10, JMU Men's Club Basketball hosted the second annual East Coast Basketball League Classic.
This tournament, previously known as the Duke Dog Classic, typically consisted of 16-18 teams. In the past two years, Men's Club Basketball has successfully transformed the event into an even more well known, competitive fall season tournament with 30 teams from all over the East Coast teams in attendance.
Before this tournament, JMU's team as a whole had a strong winning record, only suffering 1 loss to Virginia Tech. The Dukes have already won two tournaments this season, one at Virginia Tech and one at UVA.
JMU's team, comprised of 12-18 members, split into two squads - JMU Purple and JMU Gold. Despite the fact the the team has been burdened by several injuries to players, the Dukes were able to put on a solid show. In this year's ECBL Classic, both Purple and Gold teams made it to the championship bracket on Sunday, but eventually bowed out in the second round. Penn State and Villanova made it to the finals, where Penn State edged out a victory by a narrow 2-point margin.
Such a large tournament is quite a task for any one team to organize. There were a few hiccups along the way, but overall the club was happy with the weekend's events. Nick Ferguson, the Vice President of the Club, spoke about how he and President Chris Sheehy worked together to keep the event running smoothly.
"Organizing the tournament was a lot of work but Chris and I tag-teamed it and handled everything appropriately. However, we did have a few obstacles to overcome. A hoop on Godwin court 4 would not lower so we had to send teams to Memorial to play out the games there. Shout out to the UREC staff for helping to make this event a success."
Ferguson also explained that this year the team has set the goal of winning Nationals. JMU hopes to win a regional tournament in order to earn a free birth to Nationals, an obstacle that seems to be well within their ability to surmount. The team has the good fortune of returning many of its core players from last year, so the Dukes feel up to the task.
Hello everyone! It’s that magic time of year again, the dog days of Virginia Summer are here, and we’re a little over a month away from the first day of classes at Madison. For those of you returning with a fine two-wheeled machine in tow, whether it be for exercise, to save on gas, or to avoid having to find a parking spot, there exists etiquette and laws governing how you ride your bike around campus as well as around the City of Harrisonburg. So now that the royal baby’s been born, Dave’s is closed, and its too hot to stay outside for long, why not read this handy guide on how to stay safe on a bike as well as stay in the good graces of all those trying to get to the same place as you are?
- Wear a helmet: A wise man once said it’s more than just a hat rack, and he was right; your head and all of its contents are a terrible thing to waste. Helmets are mildly cumbersome to some, and downright unnecessary to others. While a helmet is only legally required in Virginia until the age of 14, that doesn’t serve as an excuse to not wear one. Helmets, next to defensive bicycling, are our first line of defense against major traumatic injury in the case of a crash. If you’re in the market for a helmet, there are a plethora of fine local bike shops willing to sell one to you including Shenandoah Bicycle Company, Mark’s Bikes, and the newly opened Rocktown Bikes!
- You are an automobile, sort of: According to Virginia law, a bicycle traveling on a roadway has all the general rights and duties of an automobile on those roadways. In other words, yield to pedestrians, stop at stoplights and stop signs, and turn signals should be used. More and more bike lanes are being built and painted around Harrisonburg, however from time to time, you’ll be forced to share the road with other vehicles. In those cases, stay on the right half of the road, stay with the traffic flow, and follow traffic laws.
- Shine bright like a diamond, or a blinker: According to Virginia law, front and rear lights must be attached to a rider when it’s dark outside, and that makes sense. When driving on busy roads at night, do everything you can do to be more visible to other drivers. Much like an automobile, a red blinker can be affixed to your backpack or the rear of your bike, and a white light or blinker attached to the handlebars. Both lights can be purchased for roughly ten dollars each, and their battery life will more than likely outlast your time at JMU.
- Courtesy is key: It’s entirely legal to ride your bike on the sidewalk in town and on campus, however, a set of courtesies needs to be adhered to. For starters, avoid using the sidewalk in high traffic areas during high traffic times. For example, Traveling through the Commons at 11 AM on a Monday will leave you greeted by a human obstacle course. If you find yourself caught in such a frenzy of students, be sure to make yourself heard when passing pedestrians on their right or left, and be sure to yield to them at crossings.
- Take out your ear buds: Avoid using an iPod or listen to any music while commuting. If pedestrians are listening to music, and you’re listening to their music, neither party can hear each other, and that’s a bad time when attempting to communicate with each other.
Commuting on campus is an experience that saves gas, cuts down on the aggravation of finding parking, and helps you in leading a healthier lifestyle. So besides these tips, visit The League of American Bicyclists, your local bike shop to ask about defensive cycling courses, gear and apparel to get started, or virtually any other questions you may have about your bike!
Written by Erik Bailey, a JMU Kinesiology Student and UREC Adventure Specialist.
JMU’s approach to intelligence analysis produces career-ready graduates
By Jan Gillis ('07)
Dr. Tim Walton shares insight gained from his years in the CIA with JMU students.
Could you manage too much of a good thing? Dr. Timothy Walton, professor of intelligence analysis at James Madison University, says that is exactly the challenge that today’s budding intelligence professionals will face in their careers: “The old problem was not enough data; today it’s too much and of an extremely mixed quality.”
He would know. Before beginning his second career as a professor, Walton spent more than 24 years at the Central Intelligence Agency in various roles. His years as a CIA analyst put him at the pulse point of history. Notably, during the 1992-1995 Bosnian War, intelligence developed by Walton and his colleagues was instrumental in the policy decisions made by the Clinton Administration during the armed conflict—the worst in Europe since World War II. That work has garnered recent notoriety with the CIA’s release of almost 200 newly declassified documents on intelligence and presidential policy making; many were the handiwork of Walton and his colleagues. His responsibilities during the conflict gave him firsthand experience with the daunting burden of information overload. “During the Balkan crisis, we sometimes received 3,000 communications a day for analysis,” he says.
JMU’s scientific approach to intelligence analysis
His CIA career gave Walton unique insight on what makes graduates desirable to intelligence recruiters—knowledge that helps him build intelligence professionals who will be in demand. He is enthusiastic about the approach of Madison’s undergraduate program.
“JMU’s program is in the science faculty. At most other universities it’s connected with history, international relations, or political science,” he says. “We take the scientific method seriously. Systematic problem solving is our niche—teaching people how to better cope with problems.
“Getting up every morning and going after the bad guys—what could be better than that?”
The seasoned professional is realistic about the obstacles intelligence analysts face on a daily basis. “I’m reluctant to talk about problem solving,” Walton admits. “Most problems we work with—such as chemical weapons—you don’t get to solve. But you can cope with the problem, reduce it.”
At JMU, the development of critical thinking and reasoning skills is emphasized. “We teach students how to find the real problem, examine multiple explanations, and help to determine the best way to go,” he says.
There is an added bonus to this approach. Knowing how to apply analytics to problem management is a valuable skill equally prized in law enforcement and business arenas as well as national security intelligence. In short, there’s a wealth of opportunities for JMU graduates.
A grounded introduction
Walton introduces students to the intelligence business, teaching JMU’s core course on national security intelligence to sophomores. He is quick to dispel their illusions. “TV is not an accurate predictor of real life in intelligence analysis,” he says, “and this course provides a realistic view. It’s my favorite. I lived it; I know it; and people need to get beyond the James Bond fantasy.” Walton says that good analysts are primarily thinkers, comfortable with navigating bureaucracy, and adept at collaboration with professionals scattered across various governmental agencies.
A Killian Award and letter of thanks from President Clinton are some of the recognition Walton has received for his intelligence work.
“If yours is the issue of the day, your analysis can end up on the President’s desk in a daily brief. It will inform high-ranking officials including the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense,” he says. “During my time at the CIA, analysts were admonished to be the smartest person in the room—that’s a very high bar.” Walton proved his mettle many times as evidenced by his numerous awards and accolades. He considers the 1996 James R. Killian Award from the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board a special honor since board members advise the President on intelligence matters and give the award based on nominations from senior consumers. The Undersecretary of Defense for Policy nominated Walton for assisting the U.S. military peacekeepers who played a key role in ending the fighting in Bosnia.
Challenge and benefit
Today’s graduates will enter an intelligence field facing an unprecedented volume of information and high-risk scenarios. Nonetheless, Walton is confident that with the right educational grounding these future analysts can prosper. “Intelligence people no longer have a monopoly on the data,” he says, “but they have the strong ability to make sense, to make good judgments on the data.”
Walton offers a final, compelling recommendation for taking up the challenge of national security intelligence analysis. “Getting up every morning and going after the bad guys—what could be better than that?”
On March 19-20, 2014, JMU will host the conference “Intelligence and the Transition from War to Peace, A Multidisciplinary Assessment” examining the CIA documents on intelligence support to U.S. decision-making on Bosnia, 1992-1996. Learn more.
Promotion of research, scholarship, and creative productions is a central ambition of the modern university. It is no different here at JMU. In the Honors Program, completion of undergraduate research projects is mission critical. Our aim is to prepare the ground for students working in their disciplines and interdisciplinary programs, encourage them to develop as citizen-scholars, help them gain proficiency in the research semesters, and stand witness to its mastery in the senior capstone.
Over the years, we have learned that teaching scholarship demands a culture of expectation, a culture that starts with recruiting (as expressed as a value to prospects), is promoted through strong advising, and is practiced throughout the curriculum. This year we endeavor to encourage the growth of mentored undergraduate scholarship at JMU, and raise the "academic bar" for all undergraduates on campus, with a new series of Senior Honors Project Workshops. Workshops take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 4 PM in the Hillcrest House.
The intent of this workshop series, entirely voluntary and open to all Honors students, is to give students access to information about best practices in undergraduate scholarship. We hope in this way to provide general, logistical support to students as they pass important research year milestones and finish each stage of their senior projects. Academic leaders at JMU highly value mentored undergraduate scholarship as an especially effective pedagogy, and are mindful that scholarship takes different forms in different colleges. Our driving ambition is to support high impact scholarship -- scholarship that involves deep learning that can be applied to the world around us.
Faculty mentors remain critical to the success of the Senior Honors Research Project capstone. They inspire, challenge, and learn from the students who participate. Students work with faculty whose creativity, teaching, and scholarly interests inspire them. They benefit from this program by gaining valuable experience that prepares them for future careers, graduate training, or post-baccalaureate professional programs. Faculty gain energetic research partners who are also top students. Sometimes these partnerships flourish beyond or outside their home departments.
All of these workshop sessions are open to all Honors students, regardless of major or year of study. Topics are listed below. They have been designed to foster hands-on opportunities to ignite the imagination, develop research skills, and build a community of scholars working toward the same goal.
The Madison Collaborative assessment team and graduate students involved in assessment presented a symposium titled "Assessing Ethical Reasoning in Higher Education: An Example" at the annual conference of the Northeastern Educational Research Association (NERA) in Rocky Hill, CT, October 22-25, 2013.
Dr. Keston Fulcher, Associate Director of the Center for Assessment and Research Studies and assessment liaison for the Madison Collaborative (MC) provided an overview of the inception of the MC, its student learning outcomes, the eight-key-question (8KQ) framework, currently implemented and planned interventions, as well as the variety of instruments developed over the past year and a half to assess ethical reasoning at JMU.
Assessment and measurement doctoral student Bo Bashkov presented a study assessing the dimensionality of one of the MC’s pilot instruments, the multiple-choice Test of Ethical Reasoning, demonstrating the use of exploratory factor analysis with dichotomously scored data. Bo has been involved with the MC as a task-force member of the Quality Enhancement Plan committee for a year and continues to serve as a data analyst and assessment consultant for the MC this year.
Kristen Smith, a quantitative psychology graduate student, presented the continuous process of instrument development and revision of the Test of Ethical Reasoning pilot forms to create the current multiple-choice Ethical Reasoning Identification Test. Kristen has been involved in assessment research projects with the MC for about a year.
Finally, Oksana Naumenko, a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro, presented an overview of generalizability theory applied in the context of the MC’s performance assessment prompt and rubric designed to measure the application of ethical reasoning and the 8KQs in students own lives. Oksana was involved in the MC’s performance assessment activities last summer, after finishing her master’s in quantitative psychology at JMU. The symposium was well-received, and the audience engaged in a thoughtful discussion of the importance of implementing and assessing a project like the MC to enhance students’ life and career skills not only at JMU but across the nation.
The keys to ethical reasoning
By Martha Bell Graham
How do you translate ethical reasoning into decision making and effecting peoples' lives?
An ambitious program. A high-minded challenge. A noble goal. A university with a history of tacking differently. And a world in desperate need of individuals who think ethically. Put these together and you have the scope of JMU's breathtaking new endeavor, Madison Collaborative: Ethical Reasoning in Action.
In his bestselling book Blink, author Malcolm Gladwell wrote: "The key to good decision making is not information. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter."
James Madison University wants to change that through an ambitious new program to teach critical thinking. The Madison Collaborative: Ethical Reasoning in Action is the university's new Quality Enhancement Program that will take the knowledge students acquire during their Madison Experience and deepen it with ethical reasoning. The university-wide plan seeks to instill in every student a competency for addressing life's challenges and for making decisions and choices based on thoughtful, ethical reasoning.
The heart of the Madison Collaborative is Eight Key Questions that form a framework on which students will learn to probe and understand myriad situations they encounter. These questions and the practice of applying them will be deeply embedded throughout the university's fabric.
The Pressing Need
Uncivil discourse is rampant in the modern public square. Scandals in corporations, academia, government and nonprofits dominate headlines. Add to this, complex questions arising from modern life: How does one allocate limited resources for health care or food? How does one equitably select candidates for lifesaving transplant lists? What is a corporation's responsibility to its workers in developing nations? How does one balance human need with human want?
Few would argue with the pressing need for ethical reasoning.
A 2013 study published by the Association of American Colleges and Universities clearly defines the challenge for educators. Based on a survey of top level executives, 93 percent agreed that a job candidate's "demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than [a candidate's] undergraduate major."
Ethical Reasoning in Action addresses that need. And the task, JMU President Jon Alger says, "goes right to the very heart of our educational mission. How do you translate ethical reasoning into decision making and effecting peoples' lives?"
The Madison Collaborative has three main objectives, says Lee Sternberger, associate provost for academic affairs, who led the large, university-broad committee to develop the program. These objectives are to elevate public discourse, to create a campus-wide framework for teaching and assessing ethical reasoning development in students, and to use it in the real world.
"We want students to take these three critical thinking skills and apply them not just to the classroom but also in their personal, professional and civic lives," Sternberger says.
The Madison Collaborative is as necessary as it is ambitious.
"We know ... that our most important function is to produce good leaders for the next generation," says Meg Mulrooney, associate professor of history and associate dean of University Studies
Ethical reasoning "has to be cultivated in a rigorous academic, intellectual environment....One of the things we [JMU] have done since the beginning is to promote civic engagement. Ethical reasoning skills are absolutely essential to citizenship," she adds.
Clearly, however, the goal of the collaborative is not about teaching morals or making moral judgments. It is rather about actively assimilating the Eight Key Questions, which, says Alger, "reflect thousands of years of philosophical development from a variety of different perspectives, different types of disciplines throughout human history. All of them together create a rich tapestry of how to think about ethics."
From their first day on campus, members of the Class of 2017 were introduced to the Madison Collaborative: Ethical Reasoning in Action, JMU's initiative to prepare students to navigate a complex world.
Promise to prepare students
In August, Alger announced that William Hawk, JMU professor of philosophy, and Lori Pyle ('94, '96M), a graduate of JMU's doctoral program in strategic leadership, will serve as chair and associate chair, respectively, of the Madison Collaborative and direct its full implementation.
With the arrival of the Class of 2017, the program began in earnest during 1787, the weeklong orientation for first-year students. More than 160 trained facilitators from all over campus led students through a fictional but realistic disaster scenario, directing probing questions that required students to apply the Eight Key Questions. (See card at right).
One of the collaborative's aims is to ensure all students benefit by targeting general education courses, major-specific courses, and by including co-curricular involvement. Ethical Reasoning in Action will permeate the Madison Experience—in residence halls, clubs and organizations, student government, faculty and staff relationships, and athletics.
"We've done some of these things before," says Josh Bacon, director of judicial affairs at JMU and a collaborative task force member, "… But never have we intentionally made sure that all 4,000 plus freshmen understand this frame of looking at ethical decision making and choices."
Also built into the program is regular assessment of the program's efficacy by JMU's highly respected Center for Research and Assessment Studies. Using data they will collect, the collaborative will continually refine the courses and associated programs.
The hope is that the Madison Collaborative will be the cynosure for the university's goal to become a national model for the engaged university. As the planners wrote in their report, the collaborative "embodies and complements the university mission as we promise to prepare students to be 'educated and enlightened citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives.'"
Bob Kolodinsky, director of the Gilliam Center for Free Enterprise and Ethical Leadership and who piloted a course last year in preparation for this fall's launch, says, "JMU needs this. Every university needs this, but it is, perhaps, a way for JMU to stand out."
Teaching students to apply ethical reasoning as "second nature" would be the best outcome of the Madison Collaborative. To send 4,000 plus graduates so trained into the world every year is the dream. Their ability to replace "reflex with reflection," as collaborative chair Hawk says, will serve them well. And it will have a ripple effect as students equipped with practiced understanding of ethical reasoning become citizens of the world.
"JMU already values and promotes integrity within its community, as is reflected in our Mission Statement, Defining Characteristics, and motto 'Be the Change,'" the task force wrote. "Yet the complex society which our graduates enter calls us to do more."
The Madison Collaborative: Ethical Reasoning in Action is JMU's more.
JMU's new College of business dean discusses developing principled business professionals
By Patricia May ('94M)
From Winter 2014 Madison
Mary A. Gowan, dean in the JMU College of Business, has extensive consulting and executive education experience with private and public organizations in the areas of leadership, human resources management and organizational behavior. Gowan is only the third female academic dean among the 15 top public undergraduate business schools nationally. Her previous research has focused on corporate reputation and career transitions. She served previously as dean and a faculty member at Elon University.
On behalf of Madison magazine, Patricia May (’94M), director of communications in the College of Business, talked with Gowan about ethics in business. Gowan also addressed JMU’s cross-disciplinary initiative — the Madison Collaborative: Ethical Reasoning in Action.
The Madison Collaborative’s coordinated curricular and co-curricular opportunities employ an eight-question ethical reasoning framework and are applied in three domains: personal, professional and civic life. The initiative’s goals include elevating the campuswide understanding and discourse on ethical reasoning as a teachable, evaluative process; and the Madison Collaborative will provide a unifying framework that aligns campus efforts to teach and assess ethical reasoning.
In the following Q&A, Gowan talks about ethics in business.
Mary Gowan, dean, College of Business, says JMU is working to develop principled business professionals.
Madison: The Madison Collaborative prepares enlightened citizens who apply ethical reasoning in their personal, professional, and civic lives. Why is this important?
Gowan: We all encounter ethical dilemmas in our lives —at work, at home and in our communities. The Madison Collaborative provides students with a framework, or set of lenses, through which they can identify and assess ethical dimensions in decision making. This approach also helps students understand that many times there is no one right answer in an ethical dilemma. What you may see as an appropriate and ethical response in a particular situation may not be the same for me. What is important is making sure you have thought through the consequences of the decision from an informed, ethical perspective.
Madison: Could the Madison Collaborative’s Eight Key Questions be easily integrated into business courses?
Gowan: Absolutely. In fact, Bob Kolodinsky, a College of Business management professor and founder of the JMU Gilliam Center for Free Enterprise and Ethical Leadership, was instrumental in the development of the Madison Collaborative.
The collaborative’s Eight Key Questions focus on evaluating the ethical dimensions of a problem and thinking about outcomes. They offer insight about using multiple lenses to see the situation and arrive at an informed and reasoned response rather than having decisions driven by one’s own biases and/or limited experience and knowledge. This framework provides a tool for studying business issues, which is extremely important for future business professionals and leaders. Businesses are largely human systems, thus decisions made often affect others in the organization. The decisions may affect the environment and the community in which the business operates as well.
These Eight Key Questions should be addressed in all of our business classes, not just the obvious ones like Business Law and Management. Doing so ensures our students understand their applicability across multiple settings and types of issues.
Madison: Should ethics be taught in a college of business? If so, what is the JMU College of Business doing in this area?
Gowan: Businesses and business schools have come under a lot of fire in recent years because of poor ethical decision making on the part of some corporate executives. Including in our curriculum conversations and exercises focused on ethical decision making gives students a greater awareness of the kinds of challenges they will face in future careers. Also, our AACSB accredited programs are required to cover ethical understanding and reasoning in the curriculum at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The goal is to ensure students can identify ethical issues and address them in a socially responsible way. Currently we are engaged in a strategic planning process in the College of Business. As part of that process we are having a conversation about how well we are addressing ethics in the curriculum and asking ourselves if we are doing enough.
Madison: Why is it important for the College of Business to have the Gilliam Center for Free Enterprise and Ethical Leadership under its umbrella?
Gowan: The presence of the center signals that we see ethics as an important part of the conversations and activities in the College of Business. The resources provided by the center enable faculty members to engage in scholarly activities related to ethics, provide funds to support student engagement in ethical conversations, and allow us to bring to campus executives who can share their experiences related to ethical decision making. The center, along with the College of Business, Madison Collaborative, and offices of the president and provost hosted Cynthia Cooper, the WorldCom whistleblower, for a presentation to our students on Nov. 13.
Madison: Tell our readers more about The Gilliam Center for Free Enterprise and Ethical Leadership — are free enterprise and ethical leadership competing concepts?
Gowan: I believe that free enterprise succeeds when business executives exercise principles-based leadership which has a strong ethical component. These leaders recognize the value of their human resources and their businesses’ role in the local and larger communities. We run into problems with free enterprise when leaders are so focused on making money that they fail to engage in ethical and socially responsible decision making. Thus, our goal in the College of Business is to develop principled business professionals and leaders who can embrace and profit in a free enterprise economy. The Madison Collaborative and activities supported by the Gilliam Center assist us in that endeavor.
Jeff Kopsick took his undergrad research to a new level with 3D printing technology
In a petri dish, they're barely visible to the naked eye, appearing more like sand grains than living creatures. Under a microscope, the 1 mm long roundworms look and move around just like typical worms.
For Jeff Kopsick, a biology major and a mathematics minor, the tiny organisms provided an opportunity to combine interests in both disciplines for a mathematics research project this summer. Kopsick wondered what could be learned about the movements of the worms by putting them in a maze filled with liquids of varying viscosities. And would it even be possible to build a maze small enough to test any mathematical theories?
Kopsick, a junior, learned that he could build a microscopic maze with a 3D printer in the math department's newly established Maker Lab, thus enabling him to further study the worm movements. He came up with the idea during classes and presentations last year, but he wasn't sure how to go about starting a research project. One thing he was certain about was that faculty would listen to his idea. "The nature of the university is just, you have that door open. There's no, 'Hey, I don't want you. ' It's, 'Let's hear what you have to say. Oh, maybe this could work,'" said Kopsick, who plans to write a journal article about his project.
His advisor, Dr. Eva Strawbridge, said she helped make the project feasible, but Kopsick made it work. "He's very independent. It was his design. He was the one who was doing the talking to the dean when the dean came to visit and he was the one who completely handled a visit from the president."
Added Kopsick, "Working in this lab has just been a great opportunity and I'm very thankful for being able to learn so many different skills, whether it be an intro to programming or an intro to fluid mechanics."
In addition to the 3D printer, Kopsick used a custom microscope built at JMU and a rheometer, a device used to measure a liquid's viscosity. Both devices are housed in the math department's Wiggling Organism Research and Modeling (WORM) Lab.
Strawbridge, an assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, said Kopsick's research has mathematical significance. "When you put objects in a fluid, it's not just an object interacting with another object, it's the object interacting with this fluid which then interacts with the object. You have a lot of interactions going on and the way Jeff has designed the environment, we can start to model the fluid interaction."
Kopsick's roundworm locomotion study was just one of 14 projects student math researchers tackled this summer at JMU. Other projects involved predicting the success of National Basketball Association teams in playoff series, exploring how a multi-legged robot could change speeds and creating a matrix population model for Monarch butterflies. The student researchers received stipends for their work, some funded by the National Science Foundation and others funded internally.
Ethnic conflict became the most destructive crisis in Europe since the end of World War II
Map shows ethnic composition of various regions of the former Yugoslavia.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, most of the countries in Eastern Europe made the transition more or less quickly and peacefully to democratic governments and market economies.
Yugoslavia, however, was different. Starting in 1991, and for most of the following decade, Yugoslavia was wracked by violence as various ethnic groups fought among themselves and the country disintegrated.
Initially the U.S. government was not deeply engaged with this problem. Officials in Washington were concerned with more strategically significant crises such as the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the reunification of Germany. The American government left the handling of the fighting in the former Yugoslavia to the European Union and the United Nations. These two international organizations provided humanitarian aid and peacekeepers, among other things, but were unable to stop the conflict.
As time went on, the fighting, especially in Bosnia, continued and became the most destructive crisis in Europe since the end of World War II. Tens of thousands died; and half of the Bosnian population—some 2,000,000 people—became displaced within Bosnia or refugees in other countries. There was also massive damage to infrastructure and private property.
Finally, in 1995, after years of only fitful involvement, the United States reversed its long-standing policy and decided to commit its resources, including possible use of military force, to stop the conflict.
In November 1995, as a result of this use of American power, the warring groups signed the Dayton Peace Accords and ended the fighting; a peace that still holds.The documents released from the archives of the Central Intelligence Agency in September 2013 show how American policy evolved from 1992 to 1996 and the role of intelligence in that process. The collection also includes materials from the Department of State and the National Security Council. These documents are especially noteworthy because it normally takes 30 years or more for sensitive intelligence documents to be declassified.
Seasonal Student Issues
There’s a seasonal ebb and flow when it comes to student issues. Here are a few things your student may be experiencing this month:
- Panic, fear, and cramming as finals and paper deadlines approach
- High temper as stress mounts
- The realization that some friends may not be returning next term
- Increased pressure to participate in sexual activity because of the approach of vacation and extended separation
- Financial strain due to holiday gifts and travel costs
- Religious conflicts, as he/she gets ready to return home after a period of gaining new perspectives
- Excitement/anxiety about returning home
- Increased use of alcohol and drugs
Supporting Students through the Final Stretch
December is an incredibly stressful time for students. From academic to social pressures, they’re likely being pulled in a number of directions. Taking a look at the list of seasonal issues listed to the left will give you a clear idea about what they may be facing. Plus, this will help prepare you for any frantic calls or texts you may receive in the next few weeks!
You can also support your student by:
- Calling to check in so your student knows you care, but not requiring him to stay on the phone for long periods of time.
- Waiting to discuss important details or have thoughtful conversations until after finals are over – when possible.
- Understanding the pressure she is facing and validating her frustrations and stress levels.
- Helping him keep things in perspective (i.e. this will all be over in just a few weeks, grades aren’t everything, etc.).
- Offering to take responsibility for the things you can (i.e. picking up gifts or running last minute errands, etc.).
- Making suggestions for eliminating stress.
- Reminding him to take care of himself – this is probably the last thing he’ll want to hear (“Sleep? Are you kidding?”), but the reminders to get adequate sleep and food are still important.
Overall, your student may just need a listening ear during these next few weeks. If that’s the case, let her vent, validate her feelings and remind her how much she is loved. More often than not, this is the most helpful thing you can do during this busy time of year.
- Step away from the computer and take a 10-minute walk
- Chat with a friend for a few minutes to get perspective
- Get a breath of fresh air
- Listen to a few favorite tunes to shake off the “study fog”
- Laugh – watch that baby panda sneezing video on YouTube or a favorite TV comedy
When Grades Arrive...
First term grades will soon arrive. What are you expecting as far as your student’s grades are concerned? Are you prepared to have the appropriate conversations with your student about her academic performance?
When grades come in, try to keep two important things in mind:
- College is about so much more than grades.
- The grades belong to your student – they are her responsibility and if she did poorly, now it’s her choice whether or not to work even harder to pull up her overall average.
This isn’t always easy to swallow, especially if you’re the one paying the bills. But, if you can remember these two things, it might make having the conversation a little bit easier.
For the student who has done well:
- Celebrate! Getting good grades in college is tough to do, especially for first-year students and those balancing coursework with athletics, a job or other co-curricular activities.
- Discuss what your student learned. Which class was most engaging and why? What was she able to apply from classes to her life outside of classes? Will she be taking any additional courses to further explore a particular subject area?
- Review study techniques and other preparation strategies that worked well. What tricks did your student discover for himself? Will he be using the same strategies next term? Will he be trying anything new?
For the student who hasn’t done so well:
- Explore the reasons for the performance. The <<why>> behind the poor grades is what is most important. Perhaps your student is struggling with a professor and needs support in handling the situation. Or, maybe your student spent too many nights goofing off and not enough nights studying. Whatever the case, get to the root of the issue and help your student address it.
- Seek to understand. What’s done is done. Rather than dwelling on the negative, it’s important to focus on fixing the issues so your student can do better academically.
- Brainstorm some strategies for improvement. It could prove very helpful to sit down and brainstorm together. See the box for some potential areas to discuss.
Take a Look at…
- Daily study habits
- Skill sets including note-taking, writing, reading and test taking
- Room study set-up
- Class schedules
- Out-of-class involvements and responsibilities
- Whether or not a learning disability might be coming into play
No matter what, let your student know that you’re on her side. While getting good grades is your student’s responsibility, being confident that she has your support will make a world of difference. You’ll be less likely to get surprised with poor grades too, as you’ll be able to maintain open lines of communication – about the As <<and>> the Ds. College is all about learning. Sometimes, it’s the flops that teach the most.
Holiday Giving with Your Student
What better way to spend time with your student than doing some good this holiday season? There are plentiful options…
- Make and deliver cookies to old teachers, along with a note about how college is going
- Help make and/or deliver holiday meals
- Donate old blankets and towels to local animal shelters
- Staff a gift-wrapping booth for an organization you believe in
- Adopt a family
- Head out with young friends, siblings, nieces/nephews to all pick out a toy to donate to Toys for Tots
- Do the same for a local book-collection drive, too
- Shovel out a neighbor
- Visit veterans at a local vet hospital
- Usher at a holiday concert
- Babysit for friends so the adults can get out to do some holiday errands
Who knows? An activity you try this year could become a lovely holiday tradition.
Care Package Ideas for Finals
Your student will likely be doing a great deal of studying this month! Consider sending a thoughtful care package to let him know you are sending love and good luck vibes his way. You could include:
- Hot cocoa or tea and a festive mug
- Homemade treats
- Vitamin C drops
- A good luck note
- New highlighters with a note: “You highlight my life!”
- A holiday decoration for the room
- A comfy pillow, slippers or sweatshirt for late-night studying
- A recorded audio clip or video offering fun tips and advice from the folks at home
How is Your Student Getting Home for the Holidays?
As your student wraps up coursework and exams on campus, she may forget an important task…making arrangements for getting home for the holiday break. Oops! You can be really helpful to your student, as long as your reminders and concerns don’t become added stress on your student’s already overflowing plate.
Here’s how you can help:
If you need to pick up your student:
- Ask your student when he is planning on coming home (keep in mind that this may change based on academic commitments; let your student know your level of flexibility up front).
- Find out when would be a good time to arrive (remind him to check the school’s policy on the time he is required to be out of the residence hall).
- Try to determine how much stuff your student plans on bringing home, so you can plan accordingly.
- Stay in touch with your student throughout finals in case plans change – on your end or his – and try to be as adjustable and understanding as possible.
If your student doesn’t need you to pick her up:
- Ask your student when she is planning on coming home and how she is planning on getting there.
- If she will be utilizing public transportation, remind her to check schedules before she leaves in case there are any last minute changes. Also, gently remind her to be safe.
- If she will be driving herself or driving with friends, remind her to be careful and make smart decisions based on weather (if this is a concern). Let her know how you can help, if you can, and remind her that safety is more important than rushing home.
No matter how your student is planning on getting home, this is a great opportunity for you to provide support as he makes these decisions for himself. He’ll learn a great deal by taking responsibility for his travels. But don’t be afraid to offer suggestions if he asks for help too.
Keeping Up the Pace
From now through the end of the term, students need to keep their stamina up so they can finish strong academically. Here are some simple ways they can do just that…
- Eat healthy meals
- Make sleep a priority
- Study some every day, rather than cramming
- Get fresh air
- Say “no” to something if they’re overwhelmed
- Spend positive time with friends
- Seek help if they’re struggling
Making academics a priority means making yourself a priority. You can help your student realize this so the remainder of the term is a healthy one.
5 Ways to Keep the Mind Primed and Ready
Yes, the holiday break is a time to relax and kick back with family and friends. That doesn’t mean your student’s brainpower needs to suffer, though! There are simple, interesting ways he can keep his mind primed and ready for the upcoming term.
For instance, you might encourage him to…
Work on Puzzles. He can do a crossword puzzle with his granddad, attempt to answer the NPR Puzzlemaster’s Sunday puzzle, or play Balderdash or Boggle with friends. Engaging in word games, logic puzzles and more is fun while also being brain-beneficial.
Talk about What He is Learning. Recalling some of the key things he learned in classes this term and sharing them with others is part of the college experience. By verbalizing what he has learned, the information is bound to stick with him even more!
Read a Book for Pleasure. Engaging with multiple characters and plot arcs will help keep the synapses firing on all cylinders! Plus, it just feels <<good.>>
Learn Something New. It might happen during a conversation with a cousin who is studying nursing, while listening to the news or when hearing about a friend’s experiences studying abroad. Soak in new information, search on the computer for more about a topic and stay curious!
Have a Fresh Experience. We tend to learn when we’re in uncertain circumstances. So, why not encourage your student to attend a concert featuring music he hasn’t heard before? Or he could attend a cultural/spiritual holiday celebration, a book reading at the local library or an Indian cooking class. There are so many interesting things happening during the holidays! And maybe you can experience some of them <<together.>>
Keeping the brain limber during the holiday break will help your student be ready to dig into the new term well-prepared.
Career Readiness During Break
When it comes to career readiness, there are certain things your student can do during break to become better prepared. Here are some tips to pass along…
Talk with Alumni. See if the campus alumni association has a network of alums in your neck of the woods. Contact one who works in a field you find interesting, and ask if you can shadow her and/or meet up for a conversation. Chances are this person will love working with a current student!
Work on a Portfolio. Gathering relevant items in one place takes doing, so what better way to wile away a winter’s day? Having a solid portfolio (either an electronic one or a physical one – gain guidance from the career office) in place now will increase confidence for the job search ahead.
Volunteer. Is there a way to gain some experience and network in a field of interest through volunteering? Check it out. It might be volunteering to help a teacher, working with a Scout troop, helping seniors with computer skills at the library and more. This is a great way to do good while also meeting connected people.
Get Ducks in a Row. Developing a draft of your resume now means you can visit the career services office to finalize it as soon as you get back to campus. Putting in requests for people to serve as references now means you’ll be ahead of the game. Get those details in place now to make the term ahead much smoother.
Putting in a bit of time now can greatly help your student’s cause.
A multidisciplinary assessment
Dr. Tim Walton, JMU professor of intelligence analysis, helps students understand the background of the Bosnian War, the role of U.S. intelligence in decision-making and the complexities of the CIA documents. Walton is coordinating the War to Peace conference at JMU.
James Madison University is inviting people from both academia and government to Intelligence and the Transition from War to Peace, A Multidisciplinary Assessment, a conference examining the CIA documents on intelligence support to U.S. decision-making on Bosnia, 1992-1996.
The conference will include scholars from the United States and abroad presenting papers exploring the role of intelligence in war and peace, and the multidimensional nature of conflict resolution, as well as eyewitness accounts from individuals who actively participated in the Bosnian War and Dayton Peace Accords.
The conference will be held on the JMU campus on March 19-20, 2014. Details on conference topics, speakers and agenda will be provided on the conference website as they become available.
Study Abroad and International Week help students engage with ideas
By Jim Heffernan ('96) and Michelle Hite ('88)
President Alger visits with Study Abroad program participants in Florence, Italy.
"JMU is serious about wanting students to be engaged with ideas and the world to learn how to be citizens, not just in the United States, but also citizens in a global community and participants in a global economy," says JMU President Jonathan R. Alger. "I really do believe that study abroad should be a necessity and not a luxury for an institution like JMU. If we're serious about wanting students to be engaged with ideas and with the world, there's no substitute for this kind of experience. Study abroad opens the door to the rest of the world for our students. At James Madison, we encourage our students to see the world and to participate actively in it. I think that is a very exciting combination for any student."
"At James Madison, we encourage our students to see the world and to participate actively in it. I think that is a very exciting combination for any student." — Jonathan R. Alger, president
In July Alger visited faculty members and students participating in JMU's Study Abroad programs in Florence, Italy; Salamanca, Spain; and London. "I am impressed with how organized our Study Abroad programs are," says Alger. "We have staff and faculty on the ground in these cities who know the local culture and have valuable contacts with local universities in these countries. Many of our Study Abroad programs have been active for more than 20 years. JMU Study Abroad programs offer something for all students; so, students from all different majors and disciplines and interests can get something wonderful out of one of these programs. JMU students gain a clearer picture of their places as citizens in an increasingly complex global community."
JMU also brings the world to campus every September.
For 16 years, JMU has sponsored International Week and celebrated cultural diversity. This year, the JMU Office of International Programs presented International Week, Sept. 23-27 with the theme "Borders and Boundaries."
International Week 2013 was designed to emphasize ideas that span countries and cultures. "At first glance, 'Borders and Boundaries' does introduce an idea that relates to barriers that exist in the world," explains Lauren Franson, assistant director of JMU Study Abroad. "The planning committee's goal was to design a week that would help participants to transcend these barriers."
International Week 2013 events explored the historical, cultural and social constructs that create barriers. Students were offered opportunities to engage in discussions related to political change, social movements and appreciation of the differences that these borders and boundaries create.
One of the community discussions, "The Ethics of National Borders," was moderated by William J. Hawk, JMU professor of philosophy and chair of the leadership team for The Madison Collaborative: Ethical Reasoning in Action, JMU's bold new effort to teach ethical reasoning skills to the entire student body.
The week kicked off with a bazaar on The Commons with street vendors, exhibits and a sampling of world cuisine. Other events included a public debate hosted by the JMU Debate Society, the annual Study Abroad fair, a concert in the Forbes Center featuring JMU faculty and student musicians, a photo contest and a world cup soccer tournament.
The Furious Flower Poetry Center hosts its national conference, “Seeding the Future of African American Poetry,” at JMU next fall, September 24–27, 2014. Presenting the best established and emerging black poets to a large and diverse audience, it will feature five poetry readings with six poets each, a lifetime achievement award banquet, and two concerts featuring collaborations between poets and musicians.
At the heart of the conference are the scholarly and critical presentations, and the poetry center has solicited proposals for papers and panels on African American and black diasporic poetry and criticism. Scholars are invited to submit a proposal of no more than 300 words by February 1, 2014.
The nation’s only center dedicated to African American poetry, Furious Flower has implemented more than 50 visionary programs since its founding by JMU’s professor of English, Dr. Joanne Gabbin, who spearheaded the first Furious Flower conference 20 years ago. These events include tributes, seminars, poetry camps, and performances. Previous Furious Flower conferences (the historic first gathering in 1994 and its successful encore in 2004) packed auditoriums with some 1,300 people interested in African American poets and poetry.
The upcoming 2014 conference will explore the significance and development of black poetic expression over the last century, assess the current conversations and controversies in the field, suggest new avenues of inquiry, and examine the impact of African American poetry on poets and scholars around the world, with an emphasis on emerging voices.
Asking “what’s next” for black poetic expression, major conference themes include
The Emerging Writer: How MFA programs, poetry workshops, and literary collectives are making way for emerging voices
The Changing Same: What the changing yet ever-prevalent influence of music and the oral tradition suggests for the future development of black poetry
Honoring the Poetic Voice: How the recognition of poetic genius has changed over the last 50 years
Queer Poetics: The ways in which the voices of black writers challenge cultural mythologies and stereotypes of sexuality and gender
The Black Avant-Garde: How poets have made homes for themselves under the banners of “experimental” writing and of “black” writing while confronting questions about authenticity and allegiance
Hard-won Freedoms: How the gains of the Black Arts Movement created spaces for aesthetic diversity
Gendered Readings: The ways in which the contested terrain of representations of black bodies is shaped by trauma and memory
Diasporic Poetry: How black poetry is crossing, expanding, and challenging borders
Like the earlier gatherings, this third decade-defining conference will bring together a range of backgrounds, generations, and creative outlooks while launching new scholarship, critical approaches, and performance strategies. Registration for the conference opens January 2014. For more information, please visit furiousflower2014.com.
When you first meet Emily Jolly and Martie Theron you’d assume that they’d been friends for years. From their inside jokes to the way they sarcastically poke fun at each other these two are the picture of college friends, which makes it hard to believe that they met only a short week prior to our interview.
In reality, Martie lives in Bloemfontein, South Africa over 8,000 miles away from Emily’s home here at JMU. Emily, an RA in White Hall, was selected to be a host for the First Years Leadership for Change program that brought Martie and seven of her fellow students from the University of the Free State (UFS) to America.
“I’ve always been interested in different cultural opportunities at JMU so I saw this program as a chance to learn more about another culture without having to be completely immersed in it,” Emily said. “I’m from a pretty conservative small town in Virginia so coming to JMU really opened my eyes to other cultures. When I learned about this opportunity only open to RAs I thought ‘why not apply for it.’”
While the selection process for Emily was fairly short, Martie had a lot more preparation and work to do in order to be selected.
“As a first year you apply to a leadership program, that is quite hard to get into, only 140 are selected out of close to 5,000 first year applicants,” said Martie. “First you are interviewed based on your merits your first year at the university, then you have to do a presentation on the programs three main topics: leadership, citizenship and diversity. Once you complete that, you are assigned a school to travel to, and I’m so glad I got JMU.”
Before she could travel to the U.S. Martie had to attend seminars focusing on ethnical diversity, ethical reasoning, leadership and what citizenship means. She also had to attend lectures that reviewed differences in education systems and government, knowledge that better prepared her for her 15-day trip.
Beyond noting that students at JMU sleep pretty late, 9 am being late in her eyes, and eating her first tater tot in D-Hall, Martie noticed other large differences between the universities.
“At my university we live in our residences for four years. You choose the residence you want to live in and they choose you, it’s a mutual thing, so you have so much residence pride. At JMU, everyone comes to JMU because of JMU, not because of Hanson or White,” Martie said. “At JMU everyone wears JMU stuff, at home we wear stuff for our residence not UFS. The first UFS labeled shirt I got is actually the one we got for this trip.”
The school pride she has seen in JMU students is one thing she hopes to take back to UFS.
Martie also pointed out another large difference that she and the other UFS students have noticed around campus. During their stay the students are encouraged to discuss these difference with each other and with their hosts in hopes of bettering both sides.
“The students do a lot for the students here. JMU has a lot of student clubs and associations. At UFS it’s difficult, you have to go through a lot of channels to organize something. Here, everyone is willing to work with you and you have a lot of resources so it seems easier and more accessible,” she said.
JMU’s BeInvolved website lists over 320 groups in the Organization Directory, a number that all JMU students should be proud of. These organizations provide students with a variety of options to fit their individual interests, and if you can’t find something that fits your interests you are encouraged to develop your own.
The best advice Martie has for other students who are participating in an exchange or study abroad program is to “keep an open mind. Learn as much as you can, take in as much as you can and give what you know. I can learn so much from you but I really want to teach you stuff as well,” she said.
While she doesn’t have any concrete plans yet, Martie definitely wants to return to JMU again, maybe even as a grad student next time. “The people here are so friendly. Everything here is just awesome, there is WiFi on campus. My life is easy here, everything is accessible.” We have undoubtedly sent one more student home bleeding purple with a new friend that bleeds the same.
By Megan Martin ('11)
Working for any company for five years is something to be proud of, but finishing five years of employment as a student is a huge accomplishment.
Annamarie Frost, a Master's of Arts in Teaching student, has held a number of student positions in the Office of Residence Life. She began her ORL career as a freshman on Shenandoah Hall's Community Activities Board (CAB). She became a more permanent member of the staff as a Resident Adviser in Weaver, continuing on to be a Hall Director in White, Dingledine, and finally in Rockingham as a Graduate HD this year.
"I knew I wanted to participate in a lot of things in college, being an out of state student is a big financial commitment and takes you far from home so I wanted to find a good safe way to meet people," she said. "In my CAB Secretary/Treasure position I had to meet with Rosie in the ORL office and that exposed me to the office early on. She mentioned that I would be a great RA, so I applied for the job."
Annamarie got the position and with support from the ORL staff she decided to apply to be a Hall Director her junior year. The Hall Director application process includes submitting a formal application, 3 references, and completing 3 separate interviews.
"The application process can be a lot of work, especially for an undergrad because the process starts so early. It takes a ton of planning to get recommendation letters together and to learn how to interview," she said. "I feel like this office conditioned me for the interviews that I have coming for teaching positions."
Being a Hall Director isn't just about designing bulletin boards and planning hall events, there are parts of the job that are a lot less enjoyable for many, like addressing violations and assigning appropriate disciplinary actions. Despite her initial feelings of guilt, Annamarie has learned that the best and worst parts of her job are often the same.
"I have never liked confronting situations but I know how important it is in my position. To this day after I have to address something I still feel that little twinge of guilt" she said. "In the end, the most rewarding part of this job is seeing some of your troublemakers, and I have definitely had a few, who really start the year in a bad place, go on to make life changes and get on the right track. So my least favorite thing ends up turning into the best."
One of the most important roles of an RA/HD is to serve as an outlet for students to seek help and advice. Annamarie makes a point to reassure her RAs and the students living in her buildings that she truly cares about their well-being and success.
"I think the biggest piece of advice I can give to students living on campus is to not feel like your RA and HD are 1) unapproachable and 2) out to get you, because that is not in our job description. Our job is to help you and to help you grow, that may involve confronting a negative behavior but we are so focused on learning that sometimes when you have to do that you learn about another side of you. Don't think that we are scary and that we live in a room alone and only come out when we know that you're doing something wrong. We want to get to know you not just get you in trouble. Everyone who applies for this job will say 'I want to do this job because I want to help people, not because I want to get them in trouble.'"
Annamarie will graduate in May with a Master's of Arts in Teaching and plans to teach 2nd or 4th grade next year, fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming an elementary school teacher. While she's not exactly sure where she may end up geographically, she knows that she can always call JMU and the Office of Residence Life home.
To learn more about how to become an ORL student staff member click here.
By Megan Martin ('11)
8th Annual May Symposium- May 12-16, 2014
The Center for Faculty Innovation (CFI) welcomes session proposals for the 8th Annual May Symposium. May Symposium offers professional development opportunities for JMU faculty in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and career development. Over the past few years, the Center for Faculty Innovation has worked collaboratively with campus organizations and faculty to offer a rich array of workshops, institutes, and guest speakers. The number and quality of May Symposium offerings has increased over the past few years, reflecting creative input from many areas of the JMU community. Our open proposal format broadens and enriches the offerings available and makes May Symposium more inclusive and reflecrtive of faculty needs and ideas.
The Center for Faculty Innovation wants to help your ideas, innovations, and insights become part of the May Symposium tradition. Please consider submitting a proposal for a new May Symposium session. The May Symposium planning committee will vet proposals and the CFI will work with successful submissions to ensure session goals achieve desired outcomes. Submissions for guest speakers, plenary talks, or workshop facilitators are also welcome. Simply follow these steps:
1. Select a programming area (see May Symposium Programming Guide for detailed descriptions)
- Career Development
2. Select a programming genre (see May Symposium Programming Guide for detailed descriptions)
- Scholarly Talks
- Faculty Interest Groups
3. Articulate goals and objectives
In addition to the programming genre outcomes (listed in the May Symposium Programming Guide), please provide 3-4 additional outcomes for your session.
4. Provide relevant scheduling details
Proposal deadline: Friday, January 24 at 5pm
Acceptance Notification: Friday, Feburary 14 at 5pm
Professor, conductor and violist Amadi Azikiwe helps students build skills and careers
An interview with Madison magazine
Amadi Azikiwe, JMU professor, conductor and violist
How do you perceive your role as a professor?
I take very seriously the idea that the teacher should be a teacher and a mentor. A teacher who is, along with the rest of my colleagues, actively pursuing the very thing that we are teaching. So we serve as mentors and examples. I have seen that from my own teachers, and I am sincere when I think that it's just as important to lead by example as it is to be able to say, "You're out of tune here" or "You need to use more bow there." I think it's just as important to be able to say, "Where do you see yourself in five years, and let me call up this person, or I suggest that you contact these people and see about some summer employment or some long-term employment."
Do you feel that you are making an impact?
It's a wonderful, wonderful feeling to help a student be able to make a connection or give a student new ideas and, most importantly, help them come up with their own ideas, and to let them know that it's OK to do that. When you go to college you're enough deer-in-the-headlights anyway, but then when you start thinking about after college, that's a world that's so much bigger, so it's helpful to have a teacher who is constantly out in that world and who can bring back updated situations, if you will. I can say, 'This is how to do it now, and that is different from when I was in college.' All the teachers here realize that and embrace it. In one lesson, I talk to my students entirely about how to build a career.
Do you view teaching as a creative pursuit?
Absolutely. I consider myself a very creative person. That means that I am a diligent problem-solver. I am constantly coming up with ways that my students can improve. When you are a teacher, you are really asking your students to develop the skills to continue teaching themselves. That's the essence of teaching. So anything from doubling the number of studio classes that they have here — which means they all get together and take turns playing for one another — to a practice buddy system, where each of the students has a buddy and they take turns practicing in front of one another, so that they can get feedback on their own practice habits. Everyone can benefit from that, including me.
Is it gratifying when your students really get it?
It is amazing when you see someone dedicate himself or herself and work hard and then, often all at once, I see very rapid growth. And, from that point, you become more like a good listening friend instead of a taskmaster because then you see that they are coming up with their own ideas. When you have an exchange of ideas rather than just instruction, that is wonderful. Then, even if you don't like something that a student is doing, you can say, "Justify what makes you want to do that." It's when they start to notice stuff on their own and we start to talk about texture and climaxes and suspense and drama, that's when it gets to be the most fun for the teacher.
It sounds as if you truly love the learning process?
Even as faculty members, we are still students of life. We want to push the students and ourselves to do more and more, and every once in awhile one of us will turn around and say, "Oh, man, I took on too much, didn't I?" But that's how you grow. You don't really grow by just doing exactly what you are capable of. You grow by doing more, and then becoming more.
The Center for Faculty Innovation is holding its second annual Art & Photography Contest. This year's theme is Life's Milestone Moments. The purpose of the contest is to showcase milestone moments in our professional lives and careers as educators. This contest also provides faculty with an opportunity to showcase their photography. The photographs of the top 10 winners wiil be displayed in the CFI suite (5th Floor of Rose Library) during the remainder of the 2013-2014 academic year.
We welcome submissions from photographers of every skill level. If you are interested in entering any of your photographs, please download the Rules and Entry form and submit your work to the Center For Faculty Innovation by Friday, November 15 at 5 PM.
EXED NON-TEACHING MINOR GOES ELECTRONIC
Each year approximately one hundred students graduate with an EXED Non-Teaching minor. Currently students complete this process by meeting with the minor advisor, discussing the classes, asking questions, gathering information and completing paperwork. A system is in development right now to allow students to complete an online module to officially declare the minor.
Steps will still be completed by the EXED office and the registrar to enter students into the official registrar’s system, but the convenience should be a huge change as students will no longer have to come in for the initial declaration process, and they will have access 24/7. Tthere will always be an advisor available to answer questions and support students as they move along in the program.
The Benefits of Electronic Access
1. No Sitting in a Classroom
If you've got Internet access, the world is your classroom, and your educational goals don't depend on your location. Online education eliminates the common obstacles for potential students of not having a campus located nearby or not having a specific degree program available. No more relocating or commuting. Study from home, the office, or while traveling--it's up to you.
For those working full time, this will save time, simplify studying, and make scheduling events in their lives much easier. Students will also not have to find parking spaces, leave work early to go to class, or miss important family time.
2. Choosing Study Times
Another bonus of online education lies in the flexibility students enjoy. With asynchronous learning, students can use their computers at their own convenience to access course materials such as videotaped lectures, course notes, research materials, electronic discussion boards, chat rooms, class assignments, and exams. Students will be able to plan their study time around the rest of their day instead of the other way around. It is the student’s choice whether or not studying at nighttime or in the morning is best for them. It is recommended that students try to develop a study routine if they can. Having to work and attend classes at the same time can be very stressful. Online classes remove the stress by allowing students to learn when it is convenient for them.
3. Flexibility in Completing Assignments
Schedules may not be as strict when taking classes online. Students can work on and complete assignments when they are ready and at their own pace. As long as they complete the assignments required by the deadline, they will be fine. In addition, students usually are not penalized for turning in assignments early if they wish to work ahead to accommodate a business trip or family vacation.
4. Balance a Job and Class
Even though someone desires to go back to school, it doesn’t mean that they want to leave their current job. Online degree programs make it so that they don’t have to. Students will be able to go to work during the day and study at nighttime or vice versa. Many people go to night school after work to participate in evening classes and are exhausted by the time they get home each night. Online classes provide the same instruction without the exhaustion, commute, or unnecessary hassle.
5. Avoid Adverse Weather Conditions
During snowstorms and thunderstorms, colleges may cancel classes. When colleges cancel classes, those classes sometimes have to be made up. This may cause the semester to run longer or the class may run longer in some cases. This can hurt students who are on a tight schedule and can’t afford delays in their schooling. For those who work and have families, every second counts. People who learn online do not have to worry about cancelled classes. Even if their Internet service shuts down for the evening, they will still be able to complete their assignments on time and not have to extend their studies.
6. Build New Skill Sets
Completing an online degree takes a great deal of motivation, responsibility, and time management. Self-discipline and the ability to learn independently are assets that definitely transfer to the workplace. With coursework submitted via computer, students participating in online courses will also polish their writing skills.
These are just a few of the many advantages of taking online classes. People who enroll in online degree programs are able to manage their time, learn the materials that are presented, and complete assignments on their own schedules. While it might not be for everyone, this type of learning helps many people learn faster, retain more information, and earn a degree which otherwise would not be possible.
We provide the lunch & afternoon coffee, you provide the energy to collaborate, write or reflect. Come enjoy fellowship with colleagues in the productive and beautiful environment on the Fifth Floor of the Rose Library. Select consultation services available.
Register - Nov 22: Fourth Fridays Fifth Floor for Faculty 12-4pm
George Dippold ('13), theater major, Richmond, Va.
By Janet Smith ('81)
Dippold says his Madison Experience taught him "trust, patience and honesty."
"'All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players' applies to the universality of theatrical experiences as much as it applies to the universality of human experiences," says theater major George Dippold. The May 2013 graduate from Richmond, Va., also says his immersion in the world of theater—as it is taught at JMU—prepared him for the role of citizen more than just teaching him the skills to work as an actor.
An experience in 'plurality'
"Part of the theater and dance program's mission is preparing students for the demanding, dangerous and exhilarating theater industry within a liberal arts setting. In theory it makes sense, and in practice it is an extremely effective academic environment to work in," Dippold adds. "Part of what makes the merging of the economic and creative sides of theater so engaging and worthwhile is the surprising plurality of jobs involved in making theater."
In his four years at JMU, Dippold was an actor, director, assistant director, experimental theater deviser/collaborator, technical director, scene shop assistant, publicity manager, co-publicity manager, graphic designer, costume shop stitcher, electrics shop hand, stagehand, house manager, make-up artist, co-playwright and producer/stage manager.
'What makes the merging of the economic and creative sides of theater so engaging and worthwhile is the surprising plurality of jobs involved in making theater.'
Training collaborative professionals
JMU's Studio Theatre offers complementing courses that train artists in many areas ranging from sound design to movement for the actor. These course experiences draw the very best from students engaging in intense practical training. With the guidance of a faculty adviser, students produce an entire season of shows and gain experience in all areas of producing a play. Add the major's liberal arts-influenced practicum system of at least 35 hours of work in at least four of the available areas—scenery, lighting, costumes, management or performance—and it is clear that JMU theater students are rigorously prepared to be collaborative and well-rounded in their professional endeavors.
JMU students produce an entire season of shows and gain experience in all areas of producing a play.
Dippold recalls one of his junior-year experiences in Studio Theatre as a "gut-wrenchingly terrifying" learning experience. Two weeks before opening night, he was forced to step up from acting coach and assistant to the director into the role of director of a show lagging far behind schedule. Looking back on the experience, Dippold says he made mistakes in guiding the process and caused a sense of betrayal among the team. But he made discoveries through the painful experience. "I've learned that so much of theater and humanity boils down to trust, patience and honesty, no matter what the situation," Dippold says.
From the stage to everyday life
"In the end, the liberal arts program fits perfectly within the world of theater, especially in light of getting one's hands dirty intertwining audiences, themes and roles on the stages of theaters and of those in our everyday lives. Beyond that, however, it plants the seeds for the act of becoming a more fully aware, well-rounded human being as an artist who is in awe of his or her surroundings and lives to share with the world."
Dippold is currently in South Carolina working at Charleston Stage as a member of the resident acting company. He is acting, teaching workshops in local schools and helping in a variety of technical jobs to help prepare for the upcoming season—just what his JMU citizenship experience prepared him to do.
Want to learn more about the Madison Experience? Reserve your spot at an Open House.
Devin Buennemeyer ('16), physics major, Hamilton, Va.
By Rachel Dawson ('13)
Like other Dingledine Scholars, Buennemeyer makes community service part of her regular routine.
To call freshman physics major Devin Buennemeyer ('16) self-motivated is an understatement. On a pre-med track, Buennemeyer's physics concentration is biophysics, and she is a minoring in mathematics. Buennemeyer is one of five Class of 2016 full-ride Dingledine Scholars. "This scholarship has made my dreams become real," she says.
Academic rigor and community service
Dingledine Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement and leadership, and recipients are required to complete extra hours of community service. Dingledine Scholars meet regularly for peer support and networking, and according to Buennemeyer, strive to be involved and give back to the community. "Everyone is such a different person, but we all want to change the world," she says.
Buennemeyer plans to attend medical school after graduating from JMU and work in rehabilitation or physical medicine. She dreams to establish a hospital in a developing nation.
Even though JMU is helping her reach her dreams, ironically Buennemeyer wasn't sure that JMU was the right fit. After attending the JMU Admissions program CHOICES, Buennemeyer chose JMU she says, "Because I thought the people here could become my friends and everyone here would be invested in my success."
Professors teach problem solving
The JMU physics department is small, and the one-on-one faculty time has given Buennemeyer the opportunity to work closely with professors and upperclassmen. And, she has formed a tight-knit community among fellow students. "Professors teach us to be problem-solvers," Buennemeyer says. "In physics, getting the right answer is one thing, but if you don't understand how you got that answer, you won't be able to duplicate it." William Chris Hughes is one of Buennemeyer's physics professors and her adviser. "He's an amazing teacher," Buennemeyer says. "If I don't understand something, he'll explain it in 18 different ways until I get it. He seems really invested in each and every student's success."
Hughes appreciates the personal investment in Buennemeyer as well. "Devin is an impressive young woman who is very focused yet not overbearing," he says. "In some cases, a student with her drive and achievement can be high maintenance in that they expect to be treated differently than the students for whom the material takes more effort. Devin seems to be very within herself and self-motivated toward her achievements."
Freshman research sets foundation
During spring semester Buennemeyer completed research on protein aggregation with biochemistry professor Gina MacDonald Handal and eight students. Buennemeyer was one of two freshmen on the research team.
"In my opinion the best way to learn science and develop critical thinking skills is to do science," Handal says. "Having students perform research is the ultimate method of teaching and learning science."
While Handal supervises and coaches her students, they are doing the hands-on research, documenting results, writing papers and getting their work published.
"Devin is an absolutely outstanding student," Handal says. "She is careful, insightful, creative, enthusiastic and hard working. I look forward to working with her over the next few years."
A constant self-motivator, Buennemeyer took one of her physics classes to the next level this semester—making it an honors course. She wrote a 10-page paper on battery storage and energy efficient alternatives to meet the honors requirements.
"Honors courses take what you learn in class and your homework to a new level because you must apply your knowledge," Buennemeyer explains.
One-on-one faculty time gives JMU students the opportunity to work closely with professors. Above, Buennemeyer confers with professor Shanil Virani.
Graduates find success
Physics professor Shanil Virani is pleased that JMU physics majors find success after JMU—in the workplace and in graduate schools and medical schools. "Our students graduate with very good critical-thinking skills and problem-solving abilities. They collaborate with faculty in the lab helping us make advances in our understanding of the universe," Virani says. "That is physics. Not being afraid of problems, not being afraid of numbers, not being afraid of trying different ideas and seeing what works, and sometimes just as importantly, what does not."
Buennemeyer says physics is a hard major, but it's rewarding. "It's the problem-solving techniques and the passion everyone has for what they're learning and teaching that encourages me to pursue my dreams," she says. "I see the professors pursuing their dreams and doing what they love and it shines through in the classroom and outside the classroom."
Want to learn more about the Madison Experience? Reserve your spot at an Open House.
Matt Wallace looks through the confocal microscope in the microscopy lab in the new bioscience building.
Looking through a microscope and figuring out the mysteries is what Matt Wallace likes best about research. The research Wallace performed as an undergraduate in the JMU biology program may one day lead to advancements in treating people with hearing disorders. In the near term, one result is certain, the experience has set Wallace up to attend medical school, even if the research he does there is different from what he is doing at JMU.
The skills he has learned—microscopy work, lab techniques, learning from the literature and then applying it—are transferrable, said Wallace, a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. Wallace graduated magna cum laude in May 2012 with a bachelor's degree in biology and will continue his studies at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. The Loudoun County native is spending this year working as an NIH Outstanding Scholar at JMU for his mentor, Dr. Mark Gabriele. Wallace's position is funded by a grant he helped procure from the National Institutes of Health.
His research has focused on the development of the auditory system, specifically looking at how a family of receptor tyrosine kinase proteins called the Eph-ephrins, assist in the formation of neuronal circuitry. Wallace’s thesis, which received the Phi Beta Kappa Award for the Best Undergraduate Honors Thesis, clarified the role ephrin-B2 plays in the development of pathways between brainstem and midbrain nuclei by comparing a normal system to that of a compromised system.
Interested in using his research as a medical doctor specializing in neurology or otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), Wallace said he didn't know much about neuroscience coming out of Loudoun Valley High School, but he knew he wanted to do research as an undergraduate and felt JMU gave him the best opportunity to do that.
"I came to the spring CHOICES event and talked to the honors program and talked to the pre-med coordinator and spoke to some of the biology faculty and I really liked their message about getting undergraduates involved in research early, whereas, when I went to some other universities, bigger research schools, they really didn't feel undergraduates should be involved in research to the extent that it is here," he said.
Wallace wasn't disappointed at JMU. He started getting involved in research toward the end of his freshman year and picked up the pace his sophomore year. "I've had a lot of great opportunities with Dr. Gabriele and taking our research and presenting it at different conferences around the country," he said.
Among conferences he attended were the 2012 annual conference of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO) in San Diego, the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans in fall 2012, the 2011 annual conference of the ARO in Baltimore and the Central Virginia Chapter Society for Neuroscience in Richmond, where he won the best undergraduate presentation award.
Another highlight will be having his first paper published in a highly respected scientific journal, the Journal of Comparative Neurology, which went into print in January. The paper, Wallace's honors thesis, is based on his research with a signaling protein called ephrin B-2. The paper quantifies the anatomy and biological significance of neuronal circuitry changes that result from abnormal ephrin-B2 expression.
Wallace said his favorite part of the research is looking into a microscope and collecting data to analyze. "Forming a story. That is what really gets me excited," he said. "Actually understanding what's going on because sometimes you'll be looking through the scope and not really understand what you're looking at until the data is compiled and all of a sudden you’ve got something big."
By Eric Gorton ('86, '09), JMU Public Affairs
On October 26th, the Hospitality Management program held its 11th annual Le Gourmet event in Washington, DC. Hosted at the University Club, nearly 230 individuals enjoyed an evening of food, drink, gambling (for fun), silent and live auction, and dancing. During the awards ceremony, the Hospitality Management program honored Carol Simon (General Manager of the Stonewall Jackson Hotel) with the Corporate Citizenship Award, Nicholas DiMeglio (Vice President and General Manager of the Ritz-Carlton Aspen Highlands) with the Dolley Madison Award, and Amy McPherson (President and Managing Director of Europe for Marriott International Hotels and Resorts) was inducted into the Hospitality Management Hall of Fame. In addition, $5,000 of the night’s proceeds will be placed into the Susan J. Reid Hospitality Management Scholarship. Finally, our very own students, Maggie Goetzman and Kristen Gratton, were recognized for receiving the 2nd Annual Rick Casey Scholarship. The event raised nearly $50,000 for the Hospitality Management program. In all, the evening was a huge success and we look forward to next year’s event.
On Monday, Oct. 28, president and CEO of National Cooperative Bank (NCB) and JMU alumnus Chuck Snyder returned to JMU to speak about his experience working in community-focused social banking. Hosted by the Gilliam Center, Snyder’s presentation, “A Banker’s Musings: On Ethics, the Financial Crisis, and Running a Community Cooperative Bank,” focused on his mission to enhance cooperative values and ethical principles in the financial service industry.
During his presentation, Snyder emphasized the importance of working for an establishment that is purpose-driven and ethically responsible. He explains, “The National Cooperative Bank does well to do good. It isn’t all about making money, but instead, what you do with it. It is good business these days to care about your customers and establish an ethical high ground for yourself and your company.”
Among those in attendance included the director of the Madison Collaborative, Dr. William Hawk. In an effort to teach students ethical decision-making skills that can be applied to personal, professional, and civic life, the Madison Collaborative: Ethical Reasoning in Action is a program that offers coordinated and enhanced opportunities for students to employ an ethical reasoning framework during undergraduate student learning. By applying the eight-key questions to specific ethical scenarios, students are able to make the most enlightened decision in a given situation. Most importantly, the Madison Collaborative prepares students to utilize ethical reasoning in the future.
Snyder’s presentation coincides well with the mission of the Madison Collaborative—both encourage students to approach situations from an ethical perspective. During his visit, Snyder was introduced to the Madison Collaborative and he addressed the success of the program during his presentation. To JMU students, he advises, “Pay attention. With the Madison Collaborative, JMU is ahead of the curve in preparing students with ethical reasoning. Ethics sets the tone—so you must ask yourselves questions, and look to your inner core to decide what is right and what is wrong. It isn’t just about legality, it’s about personal accountability.”
Students attending the presentation were able to draw connections between Snyder’s presentation and the efforts of the Madison Collaborative. Following the presentation, students were given a survey in regards to the quality of the material presented as well as the major lessons gained from attending the presentation. Student responses included, “Your ethical integrity is extremely important and will serve you well in the business world, even if it’s not easy,” “Don't need to trade ethics for success,” “It pays well to focus on other things such as environmental and social responsibility rather than just profit,” and “Ethical reasoning extends beyond the classroom. The work force will cause you to define and hold true to your values.”
November 6, 2013
Compliance is an area of higher education law and policy that keeps college and university presidents and chancellors up at night--not unlike the reaction of institutional counsel. Given the many challenges facing institutions of higher education, the shortage of resources at most institutions, and increased calls for accountability on multiple fronts from external voices (e.g., federal and state policy-makers, accrediting bodies, etc.), many institutional leaders are hard-pressed to find sufficient time and energy to focus on compliance matters. Yet the growing importance of strong, effective compliance programs is becoming increasingly clear.
Here are a few thoughts from the perspective of a (relatively new) president on approaching the topic of compliance from an institutional perspective.
Institutional Model and Structure
With regard to a structure for overall compliance responsibility, I do not believe that there is a single “best” model for all institutions of higher education. Large research universities with medical schools and hospitals have very different compliance needs than small liberal arts colleges, for example. Some institutions might choose to have a chief compliance officer; others will choose to work through a compliance committee that cuts across departmental and unit lines. In choosing a model for a specific institution, factors such as the types and degrees of compliance risks for that particular institution, its history regarding compliance issues, backgrounds of personnel in compliance-related offices within the organization, and overall budget should all be considered.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel here. We can continue to learn from the models developed by other institutions of higher learning, keeping in mind our varying missions and needs. We can also utilize the resources of our national higher education organizations, like NACUA and the Higher Education Compliance Alliance (www.higheredcompliance.org)--both to develop a catalog of compliance risks that apply to our institutions and to review best practices and models nationally. In some respects, decisions regarding the development of a structure to handle compliance obligations are not unlike decisions about other challenges and priorities that cut across the entire institution (diversity, for example). Furthermore, our compliance approaches and structures must remain flexible enough to evolve over time as needs and circumstances change--in other words, as new compliance obligations and risks arise or become more prevalent.
Perfection is not the Goal
A good compliance program cannot have perfection as its goal. Risk is inherent in any institution where cutting-edge teaching and research is being done, and where there are thousands of students and employees. The goal is not to eliminate all compliance risks, but rather to identify potential risks and then to prevent or manage them to the extent reasonably possible in light of other institutional goals and priorities.
When people think about the topic of compliance in general, they can be easily overwhelmed with the vast array of laws and regulations that apply to an institution. It may be helpful to think about the subject in more manageable clusters of issues (especially when first developing compliance functions), and to set priorities in stages over time when developing new programs and policies. There will never be enough human or financial resources to do the job perfectly, especially in an era when institutions of higher education are under relentless pressure to cut “administrative” costs and positions.
Institutional leaders must make the case to governing boards, legislators, and other stakeholders that spending a certain amount of human and financial resources on compliance is essential to the sustenance of the academic mission. As regulatory burdens continue to increase (from all levels of government), this message becomes even more important. Compliance obligations are not likely to lessen anytime soon, so we need to educate a variety of constituencies about their purposes and resource implications.
Importance of Internal Coordination and Communication
One of the most important messages institutional leaders can send is the need for constant internal coordination and communication on compliance issues. While our institutions have different units or departments with specialized compliance expertise and experience, a healthy and well-functioning compliance program requires efforts that cut across the traditional silos in higher education. Virtually every unit or department will have some type of compliance-related responsibilities for which its people are the resident experts, and for which they control relevant information or have relevant authority. Accordingly, fostering a culture of regular interaction and dialogue on compliance issues is crucial.
Some institutions have established cross-cutting compliance committees to ensure that such communications take place. Offices such as institutional counsel and internal audit (among others), if they exist on campus, can be essential participants in such groups. Some institutions might also choose to focus particular efforts and attention on compliance areas that present particularly high risks (financial, legal, reputational, or otherwise), such as research, athletics, health records, or data privacy. Even if an institution has a chief compliance officer or specially designated compliance function, it will be essential for personnel in all units to understand that compliance is everyone’s responsibility.
Institutional leaders can also help to foster communications regarding compliance by holding regular meetings with personnel who have oversight for key areas of compliance, and ensuring that compliance concerns are on the agenda for discussion. Institutional leaders must convey the message that they are not afraid to hear bad news about potential compliance risks, costs, or concerns that might need attention. Discussion of compliance obligations can be explicitly included in individual performance reviews as well, since employees tend to pay attention to areas in which they know they will be evaluated and held accountable.
Staff members who have responsibility for various areas of compliance should not just identify gaps or problems for institutional leaders, but also offer potential approaches or solutions. As institutions, we should also periodically determine whether there are new or creative ways to protect ourselves from certain types of risks. For example, Virginia’s public institutions recently collectively obtained a form of cyber-security insurance.
Presidents and chancellors can also use the help of staff in identifying those compliance issues that merit particular board-level attention and oversight because of board fiduciary responsibilities, the level of risk (financial, legal, reputational or otherwise), etc. Board audit committees can be a helpful starting point for many such discussions, depending on the nature of the issue involved.
Fostering a Culture of Reporting and Response
Institutions can greatly improve their compliance programs by having in place strong policies that protect individuals who raise good-faith compliance concerns, and in particular that prohibit retaliation against such individuals. It is helpful to publicize avenues for different sources of complaints so that employees know to whom they can go with concerns. The easier it is for people to register concerns internally—-and the more they see that such concerns are treated seriously and expeditiously—-the less likely they will be to resort to external agencies when they first become aware of potential concerns. New employee orientation sessions and websites are among the tools that can be used to communicate this message.
Institutions can also strive to build good rapport with regulatory and oversight agencies with whom they must deal periodically on compliance issues. Regulators are human, too—-if they believe that an institution’s personnel are trustworthy and competent, they are far more likely to give an institution the benefit of the doubt when potential questions or problems arise.
Education and Training
Ongoing educational and training efforts are critical to successful compliance programs. Unless someone is dealing with a particular law or regulation on a regular basis, they are likely to be unaware of all of its nuances and requirements. New legal and policy developments provide good opportunities to practice preventive law, and institutional leaders can promote compliance efforts by ensuring that resources exist to support such educational programs. This is often an area that is cut during tight budget times, but education and training for compliance-related purposes need to remain high institutional priorities at all times.
Special care should be taken in creating records related to compliance. On the one hand, it is helpful to document and publicize compliance efforts. On the other hand, at public institutions, documents that are created and that identify potential institutional compliance risks or shortcomings may be subject to state open public records laws (unless a particular exemption applies), and/or used by adverse parties in litigation. Appropriate use of attorney-client communications is one strategy that might be helpful to protect certain compliance-related communications.
One of the key areas in which institutions can improve compliance oversight is to develop clear guidelines for signatory authority for the approval of contracts, transactions, or other major university decisions and initiatives. When an employee knows that he or she is the responsible party for a contract or other decision, he or she is more likely to review it carefully. It also makes it easier for everyone in the process to know with whom they should be dealing. Signatory authority guidelines can be posted on websites and updated regularly with relevant delegations of authority or other changes.
Institutional Policies, Accreditation, and Other Compliance Obligations: Compliance obligations don’t begin and end with external laws and regulations. We must also pay attention to our own institutional policies and procedures. It is helpful to have easily accessible, searchable policy libraries online that are readily available to all employees.
Likewise, accreditation requirements are an increasingly important source of compliance obligations and merit special attention—-not just when an institution is facing a site visit or reaccreditation review. For all schools or programs that are accredited by an external body, therefore, it is helpful to have someone who is designated as the in-house expert on the relevant accreditation requirements.
Tone from the Top
Institutional leaders have an important role to play in conveying the message, internally and externally, that compliance responsibilities will be taken seriously—and that ethical conduct and decision-making will be recognized and rewarded. At James Madison University, a new institution-wide ethics initiative (The Madison Collaborative: Ethical Reasoning in Action) has been introduced, in which we hope faculty and staff will join with our students in discussing the importance of ethical decision-making in our professional, civic, and personal lives. Leaders can play a key role in creating safe spaces for the discussion of ethical issues, and in conveying the message that ethical or compliance shortcuts will not be permitted or encouraged.
Sometimes people feel that compliance obligations are a burden that simply gets in the way of the more fun and creative aspects of their jobs. At their best, however, compliance programs can be educational, enriching, and can be used to help individuals and units do their jobs more effectively. Compliance obligations are here to stay, so compliance efforts must be given the same respect as other institutional priorities.
Sport Club students volunteered at Booksavers of VA, where they were put to work organizing and recycling old books.
During the Fall semester of 2012, the Sport Club Council organized a day of service for sport club members, titled “FALL In Love With Harrisonburg.” The goal of the event was to bring sport club members together, allowing them to complete their community service requirement while giving back to the Harrisonburg community.
This year, the tradition continued. The second annual “FALL In Love With Harrisonburg” took place on Saturday, October 26, 2013. The SCC expanded the program, finding new volunteer sites in order to allow for more participants. Sites included:
- The Mercy House
- Harrisonburg Children's Museum
- Rockingham Daycare
- Booksavers/Gift and Thrift
- The Gus Bus
- Camp Still Meadows
- Skyline Literacy
- University Park
Students received the opportunity to go behind the scenes at several Harrisonburg organizations and help out. Volunteers were placed with members of other sport clubs in order to foster a community between teams; many participants mentioned that they enjoyed meeting new students from other clubs.
“In hindsight, I’m glad we couldn’t sign up as a team. The sport club members who I worked with were fantastic. I only knew one person of the 20 people I was working with, but everyone was extremely friendly, funny, and fun to work with.” - Jack Haeberle, Club Tae Kwon Do
Students participated in a variety of different ways. Club members worked both inside and outside, with both kids and adults. Tasks ranged from sorting books, painting, landscaping and facilitating activities for children.
The participants worked vigorously at their sites and the organizations were happy to receive the help. Wonshé, the Events and Volunteer Coordinator at Our Community Place shared thoughts about her experience: “Wow, thank you so much! It was fabulous having you folks help us out. Everyone seemed eager and ready to go on such an early cold morning. Everyone's participation went smoothly and was truly helpful to us.”
Many of the students found their organizations and tasks to be interesting and fun. The SCC heard from several sites regarding the volunteers’ positive attitudes and their receptiveness to the jobs they were assigned: “All of my volunteers were great! I had 8 kids and they all seemed to really enjoy what they were doing. The two that were sorting were really into it, they found an old yearbook from the town that one of them was from. The the students who worked with the recycling process thought that the machine was a lot of fun and did a great job of separating the paper. The few that were looking up non-isbns found a book that was worth $250, which blew their minds. All in all it was a fun day and we got a whole lot done!” - Amy Rohrer, Booksavers Team Leader, Booksavers of Virginia/Gift & Thrift
All JMU sport club members are required to complete specific community service requirements over the course of the semester or year. FALL In Love With Harrisonburg is a fun way to complete those requirements, while meeting new people and giving back to the city of Harrisonburg.
Written by: Brett Woodward, Sport Club Council Vice President
The Honors Advisory Council takes a philanthropic approach to the future, establishing the Hillcrest Scholarships
By Jan Gillis ('07)
Melinda Adams, assistant director of the honors program, (center) meets with Hillcrest Scholars Michelle Amaya (left) and Carly Starke (right). The scholarship application process "clarifies students' interests," she says.
When President Jon Alger met with members of JMU's Honors Advisory Council during his "Why Madison?" Listening Tour, he was impressed with their dedication to Madison. "The alumni and parents and friends who serve on the HAC truly are great ambassadors for JMU," he said.
Furthering exceptional academic opportunities
The Honors Advisory Council is a relatively young organization (founded in 2009), but its members, like all good ambassadors, have wasted no time advancing their multifaceted vision of providing highly motivated students exceptional academic opportunities, furthering JMU's reputation for academic excellence, and finding ways to bolster Honors Program resources.
Many HAC members are JMU Honors alumni and eagerly share the ways academic rigor is embodied in the Madison educational experience. Heather Tedesco ('94), now HAC vice chair, says Madison students are encouraged "to become engaged, passionate and self-motivated scholars who are supported by a faculty committed to developing each student to his or her highest potential."
To make good on their desire to increase financial resources for the Honors Program, they started with themselves. The HAC established the Hillcrest Scholarships, which are awarded to outstanding sophomore honors students to support off-campus enrichment experiences that complement classroom learning.
A process with a purpose
In keeping with their vision to champion the academic rigor of JMU programs, they crafted the entire scholarship experience to hone skills and provide opportunities that would place Madison students among the top undergraduates in the country.
Melinda Adams, assistant director of the honors program and JMU prestigious scholarship coordinator, mentors applicants as they prepare their scholarship proposals. "I get to see their ideas go from a "germ' to a developed project," she says. "Putting together a proposal takes time and self-reflection. The resulting discipline clarifies students' interests. ...The Hillcrest Scholarships help students figure out their future," she says.
Tedesco outlines other benefits: "Even the process of applying for the scholarships is beneficial. Students connect with faculty and other mentors, think deeply about their own scholarship contributions, and practice important written and oral communication skills."
The scholarship process provides another vital element for student success. HAC Chair Steven Brown ('84) says, "The students network with JMU alums during the proposal process and after the award. Even those not selected for the scholarship obtain the networking benefit, which can be one of the keys for post-graduate education and future employment."
"Students network with JMU alums during the proposal process and after the award. Even those not selected for the scholarship obtain the networking benefit, which can be one of the keys for post-graduate education and future employment."
Dreams to reality
For the scholarship recipients, the benefits are boundless. "[The scholarship] gives us the chance to take our research, our major, our courses, our lab work beyond JMU into the real world," says Carly Starke ('14), who received the inaugural Hillcrest Scholarship for Research. Her scholarship experience working at the Food and Drug Administration on the development of a new typhoid vaccine gave her a chance to be at the forefront of discovery, and she plans to pursue a career in government research.
As the first recipient of the Hillcrest Scholarship for Service/Leadership, Michelle Amaya ('14) traveled to La Paz, Bolivia, for a hands-on experience with Child Family Health International--a trip that affirmed her passion for global health and her plans to pursue further studies at a medical school. Amaya says, the experience "mark[ed] a milestone in my life."
There seems to be only one drawback.
"We'd love to expand the program," Adams says. "By the time applicants get to the selection process they have done so much work, they've developed intense passion for their proposals. It is very hard to say 'no,'" she says, "because, frankly, they all are deserving."
Tedesco agrees. "The HAC was so inspired by the applications the first year that we chose to fund a third Hillcrest Scholarship the second year," she says. "It is the HAC's hope that we can raise funds to continue to expand the number of Hillcrest Scholarships so that more talented students can be given the opportunity to design and execute their own extracurricular learning experience."
Starke says these scholarships and the spirit of the donors defines Madison. "I sat in on one of the HAC meetings after we had won the scholarships. ... It's the atmosphere of JMU. Everyone wants to give back and contribute to the efforts of others." Brown echoes her enthusiasm for the spirit of connection and engagement of the Madison community. "Being tied to JMU as an institution and to successful alums is the 'glue' that makes our university one of the best in the world," he says.
Honors Advisory Council members know that Hillcrest Scholars are academically gifted, engaged with the world and anxious to contribute to society. And they are looking convinced that the potential future impact of the scholarships is limitless.
Want to help more JMU honors students take their dreams into the world? Give now.
Over the week of September 23rd, representatives from Cisco delivered a presentation on opportunities available at Cisco for upcoming JMU graduates. Cisco is one of the leading developers of networking equipment that transforms the way people connect, collaborate, and communicate locally, nationally, and globally. Using Cisco’s Webex interactive meeting technology, the representatives presented at one of the Pi Sigma Epsilon Delta Rho chapter meetings, and for the Professional Selling course (MKTG 430).
Thanks to the efforts of Marketing Department Chair Dr. Val Larsen and Denise Rudolph from Career and Academic Planning, Dr. Joe Derby was able to contact Cisco to request that the presentations be given during his Professional Selling course and also for the PSE student chapter that he advises. Dr. Derby says, “We were excited to have Cisco present students with IT career information and demonstrate how technology is used to facilitate sales and marketing information exchanges. These types of activities allow our students to learn about the companies seeking their talents and provide a venue for them to ask questions about their upcoming transition to the business world. We are extraordinarily happy to work with leading companies that have the capacity to provide our students with essentially unlimited career growth opportunities.”
A variety of Cisco personnel from the Research Triangle Park in Raleigh, N.C. hosted the information sessions and walked students through the IT market, the next area of explosive growth, Cisco’s training programs, as well as future career opportunities. Through these presentations, over 100 students were able to learn about Cisco’s markets, growth plans, and demand for entry-level technical support and sales specialists. Offering first-hand experience, the Cisco presenters included JMU alumnus Drew Dudzik, and Sales and Technical Associate Program members Drew Hoffman, Derek Frimpong, Jessie Cusyck, and Louis Lowther.
Cisco fielded students’ questions about the hiring process, company culture, work life, and performance expectations, and also provided pointers for making it through Cisco’s very competitive interview process. For students in the Professional Selling course, the information provided by the Cisco associates proved invaluable. Jennifer Donovan explains, “Not only did they give insight on how to do well in Cisco's CSAP program, but the presenters also emphasized the importance of looking into a company's culture to determine if it's a right fit for you--advice that I know most of the class probably never considered before and can take with them on whatever route they choose.”
For JMU alumnus Drew Dudzik, the experience was especially rewarding. “I thoroughly enjoyed getting the opportunity to present on the Cisco CSAP program to current JMU students,” he says. “I remember being in those shoes, and I understand how it feels to be in your last year at Madison, and feeling unsure about your future path. It is always refreshing to hear from someone with first-hand experience, and I was happy to answer any questions the students had on our program and culture.”
Opportunities to help upcoming JMU graduates prepare for life after college are extremely useful for students. Senior Management major and PSE President Andrew Nicely describes, “While Drew was talking about Cisco’s excellent sales program, he also kept bringing up Cisco’s culture—that it is more than just a job, but almost like a family. As a student who is about to graduate, it is refreshing to hear that there are opportunities to work for companies that excite and challenge their employees everyday.”
Pruden Scholar Katie Schwizer paves way for future leaders
By Tyler McAvoy ('12)
Katie Schwizer ('09, '10M) says her Study Abroad teaching experience affirmed her belief in the value of an education.
As students rushed to the front of the classroom Katie Schwizer ('09, '10M) second guessed her decision. The middle-school aged students fought to get their hands on the valuables that lay before them; a pile of books, donated by JMU alumni and staff members. While teaching during her Study Abroad in South Africa, Schwizer set the books in front of the class. She didn't expect such a reaction.
"We immediately regretted our decision as our students ran to the front, pushing and shoving to get a book that was a prize possession to them," says Schwizer. "They reminded me just how valuable education is in our world."
The students' reactions fueled the passion that Schwizer already had for education. At an early age, she dreamed of becoming an educator, practicing her poise in front of an imaginary classroom with stuffed animals as students. "Over the years, my bedroom actually transformed into a high-tech classroom, equipped with an overhead projector, marker board, podium and all of the other necessities to teach my 'students,'" recalls Schwizer.
"Katie is the most outstanding young woman I think I've had the privilege of working with in 30 years," says Peggy Shaeffer, associate dean of the College of Education. "She's a young woman with a future."
Now a fourth-grade teacher at Berkeley Glenn Elementary School in Waynesboro, Va., Schwizer has taken much from her Study Abroad teaching experience in South Africa. It has affirmed the importance of an education and being an educator: "It's my responsibility to pave the way for our future leaders," she says. "My students will one day grow up and succeed in our world because of what they have learned in my classroom."
Seasonal Student Issues
There's a seasonal ebb and flow when it comes to student issues. Here are a few things your student may be experiencing this month:
- First year students begin to realize college life is not as perfect as they were expecting it to be
- Roommate problems and floor tension
- Academic pressures due to procrastination, workload and lack of ability
- Not feeling like they have the stamina to keep up the pace through finals
- Job search stress for holiday break
- Problems from increased alcohol consumption
- Lack of initiative to find new friends or activities because it seems social groups are already set up
- Concerns about going home at Thanksgiving time – whether it’s concern about seeing changes among old friends, how things will be with family members or dealing with a romantic relationship
Heading Home for the Holiday, Making the Transition
A visit during Thanksgiving break will be a time of transition as you all live under the same roof again. Here are some things to keep in mind as you lovingly make this transition work.
Discuss, Don’t Order. A student who has been living independently for the past few months will naturally balk if ordered to do something. Have discussions instead, where you <<listen>> to one another.
Consider Compromise. Where can you compromise so that you and your student can meet in the middle?
Prepare for Difference. As your student learns new things and experiences new people, chances are that some of her views will change. Be prepared for her to express different opinions and discuss varied topics.
Agree to Disagree. You and your student may not always see eye to eye. This doesn’t mean he disrespects you. It’s more about him testing his newfound knowledge and interests. So, agree to disagree on certain topics and listen to one another’s different perspectives. You’ll learn a good deal from one another!
Reintegrate Into Family Life. The student who has been away for a while may need time to reintegrate back into family life. Her sleep patterns may not jive with everyone else’s. She may take some nudging to participate in household chores. And siblings will need to get used to one another again. Just be prepared that this reintegration won’t happen automatically.
The Thanksgiving transition will be okay, as long as you prepare for changes and remain open to your student. Talk about things, make him feel welcomed and realize that this Thanksgiving test run will make the winter break even better!
When a Student Returns Home…
- She may sleep a lot initially
- He may be out, catching up with old friends
- She may talk about missing her life at school
- He may need to talk through decisions about finances and classes
- She may seem different at times
Communicate about what you’re noticing and keep yourself open.
The Stress of Heading Home
The holiday buzz has likely begun. Thanksgiving Break will be here soon and, shortly thereafter, winter holidays abound! Although there will be a lot packed into the next few weeks as students finish up assignments and take exams, it’s important not to forget that preparing to go home for the holidays can be a stressful time for your student.
What You Can Do
Consider some of the things your student might be most nervous about:
- Sharing a new or different aspect of who she is
- Seeing a parent or sibling they’ve fought with over the phone during the last few months
- Seeing old friends or an old partner
- Discussing a change of plans such as major choice, plans for upcoming breaks or wanting to go to a different school
- Coming clean about poor grades or getting in trouble at school
- Having to conform back to your rules and ways of doing things
Taking the time to talk with your student candidly and supportively during the next few weeks will help make the holiday break, whatever it may hold, more pleasant all the way around.
Looking at Next Term's Financial Picture
If your family is like many others right now, you are spending smartly and saving as much as you can. The strain of sending a student to college is tough and it’s likely that your student is feeling the financial pressure too. It’s smart to start talking about what next semester will look like financially now. Consider:
Budget Assessment. How much money is your student spending in a month? Encourage him to keep track during the month of November so you can both get an accurate assessment of what he needs for next semester. Keep in mind that students tend to do more social activities in the spring. Not only have they met more people by then, but clubs and organizations tend to be more active then too.
Winter Break Plans. Will your student be working over winter break? If so, now is the time for her to begin putting these plans in motion to ensure she’s got the job she needs. She’ll also need to factor things such as transportation.
Upcoming Expenses. Ask your student to talk with his peers to find out what expenses to anticipate for the next term. From academic responsibilities to social commitments, he can get a sense for what he’ll need from students who have been there before.
Once your student has a sense for what she’ll need for next semester, your family can determine how you can make happen. Talking now offers ample time to have conversations with financial aid officers and a reminder to your student to make smart choices about spending.
Lending Support, Even When You Don't Agree
It can be one of the most difficult aspects of your role as a family member: supporting your student’s choices, even when you don’t agree with them. You may have been down a similar road before yourself and hope to encourage your student to take a different path. Or you may have some guesses for what will happen as a result of the decision, which the student can’t yet see clearly for himself. Whatever the reason, you find yourself biting your tongue and hoping for the best.
Although part of your role is to advise your student, even though he is in college, you also know how important it is for him to make his own choices and to experience his own successes and mistakes. So, when you clearly don’t agree with your student’s choice, what can you do? Here are a few suggestions:
- Listen to your student and ask open-ended questions. As you are engaging in conversation, be sure to reflect back a summary of what your student has shared. Utilizing this technique can help your student come to his own conclusions, without you offering an opinion.
- Offer some of your life experience, by sharing personal stories. As you share the stories, try to make some parallels to your student’s experience. With some open and honest dialogue, you may be able to help your student benefit from what you are offering.
- Be honest about your concerns. But don’t get discouraged if your student doesn’t follow your advice. Ultimately, it’s his choice to make. The best you can do is offer your expertise and care.
When in doubt, ask your student to consider three questions:
- How will your decision make you feel?
- How would you feel if your family knew about your decision?
- How would you feel if your decision was printed on the front page of the newspaper?
These three values-loaded questions can help your student ensure that his decisions are in line with his values. These are the most important life lessons your student can learn from such situations.
Secondary Drinking Effects
Your student has or will likely come into contact with peer drinking behaviors. And, whether or not your student is choosing to partake, risky drinking often doesn’t just impact the students who are doing the drinking.
Consider talking with your student about this “secondary drinking effect” to make sure that he is standing up for his rights as a campus community member and keeping himself safe.
Some of the ways that students may be negatively impacted by others’ alcohol abuse are:
- Taking care of an intoxicated roommate or other student
- Experiencing an unwanted sexual advance
- Having a loud hallway on nights when intoxicated residents return
- Getting into an argument with an intoxicated individual
- Not getting enough uninterrupted sleep or study time
- Having property damaged
If your student identifies experiencing any of these situations, encourage him to talk with his residence life staff or another advocate on campus. We certainly want to know this information so we can address these behaviors and their individual impacts!
Fortunately, most students choose to drink responsibly or not at all. It’s those select few, however, who can disrupt the lives of many. Empower your student to seek assistance so his life isn’t disrupted by secondary drinking effects.
How Students Can Get to Know Faculty & Staff
When students attend faculty office hours or interact with administrators and other staff members, they may unintentionally miss a great opportunity. Sometimes students are so focused on the intent of their conversation with a faculty or staff member that they forget to take a few minutes to get to know more about that person.
To learn more about the faculty and staff in their lives, students can do things like:
- Ask about something that’s hanging on their office wall (“That mask is really interesting – where did you get it?”)
- Notice their diploma and ask what they liked about attending XYZ University
- Encourage them to talk about the scene of a photo in their office (“Where did you catch that massive fish?” or “Those mountains in the photo are beautiful – where was that taken?”)
- Ask how long they’ve been at the institution and where they’re originally from
- Comment on something mentioned in class (“In class last week you mentioned your dog – what kind do you have?” or “The story you told last week about veterans often having trouble with driving once they return from war intrigued me and I looked up more about it.”)
- Notice a book on their bookshelf
- Ask if they have a favorite kind of music or if they’ve seen any good movies lately
Sometimes a few minutes of “get-to-know-you” talk can go a long way in helping your student develop a relationship with a professor or staff member on campus. Students need these people in their lives, as educators, challengers and advocates. They are worth the time.
Supporting Sick Students
Being sick stinks, whether it’s the flu, a stomach virus or a bad cold. And the season of sniffles is now upon us. There are some things you can do to help make students’ sickbeds not quite so miserable, though…
Make Sick-Packs. Include items such as a package of tissues, a can of soup, cough drops, some teabags, a magazine and Vitamin C drops, along with anything you know helps to make your student feel better.
Be Proactive. Encourage hand washing, sneezing into the elbow, disinfecting doorknobs and light switches, keeping their room clean and more.
Encourage Academic Follow-Through. Students who are sick may wonder if they can miss class or postpone assignments as a result. Encourage them to talk with their professors and their academic advisors to find out what’s possible so they’re not putting themselves in hot water.
Push the Health Center. Sick students don’t just need to suffer – the health center is there for them to use. So, strongly suggest that they get assistance – and possibly a prescription – to help their illness go away sooner rather than later.
Keep in Touch. When we’re sick, we often crave the comforts of home. If your student is away, keep in touch and check in to let him know he’s not alone.
They may include…
- A 100 degree or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
- A cough and/or sore throat
- A runny or stuff nose
- Headaches and/or body aches
- Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea (most common in children)
Encourage your student to visit the health center if he’s not feeling well.
And, he should seek medical attention immediately if he experiences any of the following:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Purple or blue discoloration of the lips
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
The Vegan Choice
So what is this choice all about?
Vegans go one step beyond what vegetarians choose by not eating animals; they steer clear of all animal products.
What Does It Mean? Vegans avoid using or consuming animal products. This includes items such as milk, cheese, eggs, leather, fur, wool, silk, down and products tested on animals (such as chemicals or cosmetics).
Why? Veganism is viewed as the touchstone of a cruelty-free lifestyle, plus it provides benefits to the lives of animals, to the environment and to individuals’ health.
Students often choose to make a commitment to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle during their college years. The reasons for this vary – their awareness is raised, they are able to talk with more people making similar choices, they are stirred to get active – and this lifestyle choice is one part of it.
Keeping Up the Pace
From now through December, students need to keep their stamina up so they can finish strong academically. Here are some simple ways they can do just that…
- Eat healthy meals
- Make sleep a priority
- Study some every day, rather than cramming
- Get fresh air
- Say “no” to something if they’re overwhelmed
- Spend positive time with friends
- Seek help if they’re struggling
Making academics a priority means making yourself a priority. You can help your student realize this so the remainder of the term is a healthy one.
Year: Graduate student
Major/Concentration: IDLS/Elementary Education
What are your expectations for this academic year?
My main goal for this year is to solidify the true definition of a successful elementary school teacher. I hope that my classes continue to challenge me as a student, exposing me to innovative techniques and methodologies that I can use to become an exceptional educator.
What inspired you to pursue a career in Education?
From a young age I knew I was destined to be a teacher. As a high school student and undergraduate student at JMU, I have had extensive exposure working with children. It is truly amazing to see them develop so rapidly over time and become more competent in their studies.
Which class would you consider to have made the biggest impact on you as a future educator?
The two classes that have really made an impact on my experience as an IDLS major are Children and Science (ELED 432) and Classroom Management and Professional Collaboration (EXED 440). I found the information we learned in both to be very applicable for when we will design our own classroom policies and teaching techniques, as both classes related to managing students behavior.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I maintain the philosophy that every student deserves the opportunity to learn, no matter the level of their intellectual abilities or their personal background. I will make sure that all of my students individual needs are met in the classroom, ensuring that they feel like they are included and well-represented in the class.
What are your techniques in creating a safe and effective learning environment?
When creating a safe and effective learning environment, it is important that I make sure that all of my students feel not only welcomed but wanted when coming to class each day. Through continuous support and encouragement, I plan to create an atmosphere that inspires my students to participate, be inquisitive, and avoid judgment of new ideas.
How do you make learning fun?
Learning becomes fun when you are able to teach to the strengths and/or learning preferences of your students. By adhering to these standards, the students will be more likely to enjoy partaking in class activities and discussions because it suits their style. In order to uncover these behaviors and preferences, it is important for me to have the chance to create bonds with my students – bonds that allow them to feel comfortable enough to share new ideas and be themselves.
JMU students perform with Visiting Artist Patti LuPone
By Courtney Herb (’15)
JMU students get to perform with Tony Award winner Patti LuPone.
Many performers live the Shakespearean phrase that “all the world’s a stage.” For students in JMU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, JMU provides a stage full of legendary opportunity.
In Fall 2013, the Forbes Center had the honor of presenting Broadway superstar Patti LuPone. LuPone performed her new show “COULDA, WOULDA, SHOULDA … played that role,” in the Forbes Center Concert Hall on Sept. 28.
Through an arrangement with the Forbes Center, JMU’s Symphony Orchestra and eight musical theatre students accompanied LuPone during her onstage performance. Prior to her concert, these students participated in a dress rehearsal with the Tony Award winner, where they interacted and performed with the singer/actress in an up-close-and-personal setting.
“The most memorable moment for me came during the dress rehearsal when Miss LuPone was singing "Sleepy Man" from The Robber Bridegroom, and she stopped the entire number to ask us if we could learn back up vocals to accompany her,” said senior musical theatre major Katie Bianchi, a participant in LuPone’s class and performance. “She explained to us how much the musical meant to her, and there at the piano we all shared a moment of purely enjoying the music.”
She heard us play [and] told us it was so beautiful she wanted to cry...To have someone as talented and accomplished as Patti LuPone say that at this stage in our careers ...makes us feel like everything we've been taught and worked toward is really beginning to pay off.
Members of the Symphony Orchestra were also able to share in the experience, playing for LuPone both before and during her performance. Junior music industry major England McDaniels, a violinist in the symphony, recalled the feeling of sharing his music with such a legend. “The very first time she heard us play, she told us it was so beautiful she wanted to cry,” revealed McDaniels of his favorite moment of the experience. “To have someone as talented and accomplished as Patti LuPone say something like that at this stage in our careers is unbelievable. It really makes us feel like everything we've been taught and worked towards is really beginning to pay off.”
In addition to performance opportunities, Lupone’s visit also provided music, theatre and dance students with the change to ask questions during a Q&A session hosted by the actress.
Students felt the opportunity was another invaluable part of a one-of-a-kind education. “Knowing that I attend a school that cares so much about my education and overall experience means the world to me,” said Bianchi. “I will remember it for the rest of my life, and it is even more meaningful that it happened at the school I already love so much.”
It is not every day that a business student walks into the Art Studio off of Grace Street at James Madison University. In fact, you may never see a business student there! The first time I tried to walk in the building it was locked and only students and teachers with access could enter. Regardless, I found someone to let me in and that began the journey of a business student in the School of Art and Design.
Little did I know when I joined Professor Audrey Barnes’s special topics course in Industrial Design that I would have the opportunity to work with my fellow professors and advisors in the College of Business. Audrey informed me that our class is working on a project for the Center for Entrepreneurship, designing furniture for the new Ice House Complex located in downtown Harrisonburg.
When I heard about this opportunity I leapt inside, likely startling Professor Barnes with my excitement for the chance to learn about design on this unique project! I warned her that I knew nothing about design, but offered her a hungry interest in learning about the creative process that goes into designing a product. She was so gracious to allow this inexperienced, excited business student into her class, and each of my classmates have been helpful every step of the way.
We have been working as a collaborative team thus far, offering one another encouragement and feedback, so that as a class we are able to provide Carol Hamilton and the Center for Entrepreneurship only the best deliverables! We were offered the great opportunity of meeting Carol and her team in our first few weeks on the project. They came to the Art Studio and shared with our class their vision: a collaborative, energetic space in the Harrisonburg community for entrepreneurs to do hands on work with their ideas.
As a business major at JMU, I immediately saw the potential of the space for COB 300 students to work on ideas for their project. Of course it would serve the management majors in Entrepreneurship and Venture Creation even better as they brainstorm real product, service and business ideas. I got so excited while standing in our meeting that I couldn’t help but sway back and forth tapping my feet—it was finally more space for the business majors to work!
But I was wrong. I was thinking too narrowly about the space’s potential. Any good business professional knows that an idea can come from anywhere: something that will change the world. Carol helped me see that the space is uniquely designed for people across all majors, all professions, and all backgrounds.
It’s when we step out of our normal environment and into a new one that we see things differently. Taking a step out of our comfort zone doesn’t have to be so extreme either. It can be as simple as taking a class outside of our normal course work. By taking advantage of this opportunity I have surrounded myself with creative people who think outside the box. I believe it is the people who are thinking outside the box that will make a difference in the world--who will lead the charge on solving major issues. I strive to be one of those difference makers and entering this new community is certainly showing me ways to be that change. I am truly thankful for Professor Barnes and my classmates in INDU 492, and for the opportunity to work on a project with them in the realm of entrepreneurship.
Jeff has a wife and several children he wants to provide for—but, he is visually impaired, and Jeff’s disability has made it difficult for him to hold down a job for a prolonged period of time. Luckily for Jeff and his family, Friendship Industries stepped in. After determining Jeff’s skill set, his Friendship Industries job coach began working with the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired to help Jeff find a job with the right accommodations for his visual impairment. If it weren’t for the help provided by Friendship Industries, Jeff and his family might still be living on government subsidies. But thanks to Friendship Industries, Jeff now has a steady, good paying job in Harrisonburg, and is able to provide for his family. Stories like these demonstrate that the local social enterprises in Harrisonburg have impact. And JMU is taking notice in a big way.
The United Way Tour
On Thursday, September 5, 2013, eight JMU faculty members embarked on a United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County tour to meet with the directors of four local social enterprises—George Homan from Friendship Industries, Ron Copeland from Our Community Place, Keith Gnagey from the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Free Clinic, and Luanne Bender Long from the Center for Marriage and Family Counseling.
Led by United Way Executive Director Betsy Hay and Associate Vice Provost for Outreach and Engagement Jim Shaeffer, the group consisted of Jennifer Coffman, the Associate Executive Director for the Office of International Programs; Barry Falk, the Director of the JMU Honors Program; Scott Gallagher, head of the Management Department; Walt Ghant from the office of Community Service Learning; Bob Kolodinsky, Director of the Gilliam Center; Marshall Pattie, Management professor at JMU; Hunter Swanson, Exchange Visitor Coordinator in the Office of International Programs; and the College of Business Dean Dr. Mary Gowan.
The Social Enterprises
Friendship Industries is dedicated to developing and maintaining employment and training opportunities for persons with disabilities in integrated work environments. Over 75 percent of the employees at Friendship Industries are persons with physical or developmental disabilities. But because of their employee training and integrated work environment, Friendship Industries generates millions of dollars each year. Truthfully, this organization proves that all employees bring abilities that are valuable in the workplace and beyond.
Our Community Place is a community center that aims to help marginalized persons rediscover true community. For five days each week, Our Community Place offers cooperative community meals, shared activities, and work to help promote community growth and personal well-being. Each Tuesday, Our Community Place opens specifically for work projects to help maintain the beauty of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.
The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Free Clinic (HRFC) offers medical care to uninsured eligible residents of Harrisonburg and Rockingham Country, improving their lifestyles and health by promoting good health practices. The HRFC is dedicated to providing quality outpatient health care and services through the help of their qualified volunteers and staff members.
The Center for Marriage and Family Counseling is a private, nonprofit organization that has been offering affordable counseling services since 1972. All staff members are licensed and dedicated to providing quality, compassionate counseling to any resident living in the Central Shenandoah Valley, regardless of socioeconomic status.
Goals of the Tour
The tour marked JMU’s most recent opportunity for increased engagement and collaboration with the community and our local social enterprises. These types of organizations are often, though not always, nonprofit organizations that are more concerned with helping society rather than generating large revenue.
The purpose of the United Way tour was to gain useful information about the needs of each of the four local social enterprises. With the knowledge gained from the tour, the College of Business plans to collaborate with these local organizations and offer opportunities for partnership with JMU stakeholders, faculty, staff, and students.
In the spring, the College of Business will launch a new service-learning course in Social Entrepreneurship that gives students the opportunity to participate in projects that will help to enhance and aid our local social enterprises. These projects are going to be based on the particular needs of the social enterprise, and can include anything from strategic planning, surveying employees and clients, marketing, or even fundraising. Dr. Bob Kolodinsky, the professor of the Social Entrepreneurship course, explains, “I have a heartfelt call to have more social impact—I want to do more than just teach. This new course aims to cultivate the collaborative relationships that are needed to accomplish meaningful projects for our local social enterprises. Students will be making an impact while also gaining valuable learning experiences.”
In recent years, JMU has become increasingly more engaged with the local community, offering collaboration with countless organizations. For the College of Business, the United Way tour was a gateway to connect these organizations with trained students ready to apply their knowledge from the classroom to real world applications. “United Way is pleased to facilitate mutually beneficial collaboration between JMU and our community nonprofit enterprise,” says United Way tour leader Betsy Hay. “United Way agencies bring a wealth of nonprofit experience and are open to creative engagement with JMU faculty, staff and students that leads to excellence in business management. The shared learning opportunities for both JMU and our local social enterprises are limitless.”
In the coming weeks, faculty from the College of Business plan to reconnect with the local social enterprises to pitch project ideas that students enrolled in the Social Enterpreneurship course will begin working on in the spring semester. These collaborative efforts are opportunities for students in the College of Business to engage in outreach and develop as individuals. “As a business school focused on preparing students to be engaged, principled business professionals and leaders, we understand the value of partnerships with our local community,” says College of Business Dean Dr. Mary Gowan.
Entrepreneur establishes award-winning event planning company
By Hali Chiet ('07)
Orginially published in Fall 2012 Madison magazine.
Ebony Sparkes (’98) is founder and managing director of the award-winning Sparkling Events & Designs LLC, an event planning and stationery design company.
Ebony Sparkes (’98) is the epitome of a successful entrepreneur. In addition to working full-time as an account quality manager for a nonprofit IT firm in Northern Virginia, Sparkes is the founder and managing director of Sparkling Events & Designs LLC, an event planning and stationery design company. “We help clients plan everything from a dinner party to a wedding,” says Sparkes, who notes that she especially enjoys planning smaller, more intimate occasions because she can put a lot of “special touches” into these events.
Sparkes always had a passion for design and event planning, but the idea to start her own business didn’t come until she planned her own 2004 wedding to her college sweetheart, fellow Duke Jamel Sparkes (’00). “Jamel has been my biggest cheerleader. He’s always known about my passion for design and encouraged me to follow my dreams.” Although she was excited about the prospect of starting a company, Sparkes realized it would be a lot of work and wanted to devote time to perfecting her skills and doing research on starting a business. “Even though it wasn’t the best timing because of the condition that our economy is in, it was time for Ebony to move forward with her dream,” says Jamel, who helps with the marketing and finance aspects of the business. “It’s been a challenge, but no one ever gets to a level of success without taking some risks,” he says.
The couple worked together on a business plan and website, and in 2009, Sparkling Events & Designs was born. “The initial challenge was getting my name out there,” says Sparkes, who relies mainly on word-of-mouth for securing clients. “I do invest in advertising, but I find that most of my clients come from referrals.” Her favorite aspect of the job is meeting new people. “I feel honored because it means people trust me enough to develop their vision for an event.”
Sparkes does the planning and design work from her home office in Loudoun County, Va. “My challenge is always figuring out what clients need. Everyone is different, so I try to create a unique, custom event that suits each client’s needs.” Sparkes often solicits the help of a close group of friends — fellow Dukes — who do everything from serving as event assistants to brainstorming ideas for the company. “My friends are amazing and supportive, and they always offer to help me out when I need it.”
In just two years, Sparkes has seen the fruits of her labor pay off. Sparkling
Events & Designs has more than 5,800 Facebook fans and received WeddingWire magazine’s 2011 Bride’s Choice Award, which recognizes the top 5 percent of the site’s 200,000 wedding vendors. Sparkes serves as membership director for the Virginia branch of the Association of Bridal Consultants and was a contributor and the first “events guru” for I Am Modern, a women’s lifestyle publication in the Washington, D.C., area.
For Sparkes, one of the most exciting honors was appearing on celebrity event planner Preston Bailey’s blog after submitting photos of one of her events. “When I found out that I was selected to appear on his website, my mouth just kind of fell open in shock,” she says. “I still get client referrals from that feature.”
Sparkes attributes her success to her Madison Experience. “The JMU College of Business helped lay the foundation for how I operate my business.” As a member of the Black Student Alliance, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and a student employee at the Center for Multicultural Student Services, Sparkes met people from numerous backgrounds. “Those experiences were really great because they helped me build my confidence and come out of my shell. I never could have imagined that our company would reach such a high level of success!”
Sparkes enjoys spending time with her family. “Because I work a tremendous amount of hours, any free time is all about family — my husband and my daughters — Sadaia, who is 5, and Marley, who is 2.”
✱ Learn more about Sparkes.
Dr. Carol Geary Schneider and President Alger, Madison Vision Series
On October 16th, Dr. Carol Geary Schneider joined the efforts of the Madison Vision Series in reflecting on James Madison’s ideals in the 21st century. As president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, Schneider’s goal is to advance and strengthen the roots of a liberal education for undergraduate students.
President Alger is a long-time friend and colleague of Schneider. In introducing her, Alger expressed the gratitude he felt that Schneider would be speaking on “Liberal Education and Student Success: Making the Connections, Mapping the Pathways.” Enthusiastically, he remarked that it was wonderful to be joined by such a great thinker and leader in higher education—and one that would be discussing the foundations of liberal education that JMU promotes fervently.
Following Schneider’s presentation, she and President Alger joined JMU faculty, administrators, special guests, and generous donors to the university at a reception. The event served as an opportunity for some of the minds behind JMU’s framework to come together and reflect on the significance of Schneider’s presentation. Professors, administrators, and donors spoke about the culmination of their collective efforts in establishing JMU’s strong roots in liberal arts education and how it will continue to move forward and grow in the 21st century.
Senior Jacob Mosser, Student Representative to JMU’s Board of Visitors, spoke with several attendees about one vision he has for student engagement at JMU. His vision is for students of all disciplines to complete extensive research-based and practical projects that combine many elements of liberal education. From there, he suggested that JMU invest in some of the top projects, assisting students in taking their work to the next level by converting them into real non-profit organizations, start-up companies, advocacy groups, and more.
Dr. David Brakke, Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, shared his enthusiasm about Schneider’s presentation. As Schneider and President Alger agree, “Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics do not have to compete with a liberal education,” Brakke said. In fact, they are very much complementary. He discussed the importance of all students framing their science and math degrees around writing, creativity, critical thinking, ethics, and problem solving.
The reception also gave President Alger the opportunity to express his gratitude toward the many donors and supporters whose gifts to the Madison Vision Fund sponsored the event. With the support of donors, faculty, and administrators, James Madison’s and President Alger’s visions for higher education are able to come to life. Schneider praised JMU for its General Education program and for serving as a pioneer in what liberal education should look like in the undergraduate experience. She thanked President Alger for his vision to keep JMU at the forefront of the liberal education ideal.
Dr. Schneider’s presentation was the second of many lectures in the Madison Vision Series. The series is funded by donors to the Madison Vision Fund and sponsored by the JMU Office of the President and JMU Outreach and Engagement’s Madison Institutes.
The next lecture will be held on Wednesday, November 13, from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in Grafton-Stovall Theatre. It will feature WorldCom Corporate whistleblower and internationally recognized expert on ethics and leadership, Cynthia Cooper.
President Alger and Dr. A.E. Dick Howard celebrate the launch of the Madison Vision Series
On the 226th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution’s signing, the Madison Vision Series presented the first of several lectures to be given on “Contemporary Issues in an Engaged Society.” As an institution that values civic discourse and an engaged citizenry, JMU presents this lecture series as an opportunity to revisit and continue studying many of James Madison’s principles and apply them to our modern world.
First in the lecture series was Dr. A.E. Dick Howard, a professor of law at the University of Virginia. Among countless other credentials, Howard has played a role in drafting other nations’ constitutions, has been counsel to the General Assembly of Virginia, served as a consultant to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and worked as the executive director of the commission that wrote the state of Virginia’s current constitution.
In introducing Dr. Howard, President Alger marked the event as a new tradition in the JMU community. The inauguration of this lecture series supports JMU’s mission in “preparing students to be engaged citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives.” And yet, President Alger also described the initiative as an adherence to tradition as well. The lecture series seeks to highlight the values and fundamental principles of “Madison the man.”
(Related: View Dr. Howard's lecture in its entirety.)
“Public discourse is a long-standing tradition here at Madison,” Alger reminded the audience. “It plays a key role in shaping us as individuals and as an institution of higher learning.”
Dr. Howard spoke extensively about the U.S. Constitution’s influence on international law, and provided “snapshots” of history in order for audiences to visualize American law’s role worldwide.
After the lecture, both President Alger and Dr. Howard attended a reception that hosted donors to the Madison Vision Fund—the people who made the lecture, as well as countless other Madison experiences, possible. President Alger was able to speak to many of these donors in attendance and express his gratitude for their support of the university. Attendees were also able to discuss their thoughts on the first presentation in the lecture series. One guest remarked to his colleague, “I had no idea that the Japanese constitution that the U.S. assisted with still stands. I learned a lot of things about our Constitution’s global influence.”
President Alger made a toast to those in attendance for their generosity toward the Vision Fund, and said: “Here’s to Dr. Howard, to the Constitution, and to JMU and its future.”
The next Madison Vision Series presentation will feature Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. She will speak Oct. 16 at 5 p.m. in the Concert Hall of the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts.
The JMU Army ROTC (Duke Battalion) Ranger Challenge Team placed first at the 4th Brigade’s Ranger Challenge competition, besting ROTC programs from 40-some other colleges and universities comprising the U.S. Army 4th Brigade. Held this past weekend at Fort Pickett, this is an extraordinarily grueling competition that taxes cadets’ bodies, minds, and spirits over a trying three-day period. No mean feat this; our cadet men and women, cadre, and commander LTC Rick Showalter did our college and ‘JMU Nation’ proud. By placing first, the Duke Battalion earned an invitation to compete nationally/internationally in the prestigious Sandhurst competition in Spring 2014.
“Ask purposeful questions. Why are you doing what you are doing?” For Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management professor Dr. James Williams, life changed when he began asking purposeful questions.
Life was not always easy for James. Growing up in Massachusetts and later in North Carolina, James began engaging in dangerous behavior at an early age. For James, adolescence involved sex, drugs, and street fighting. James recalls, “I realized that if you got in trouble, you were recognized. People liked you. In my town, it was the drug dealers who lived in impoverished neighborhoods that got all of the attention. So, I continued to adopt this tough guy persona so that people would like me. I wanted to be recognized.”
School became a nesting ground for bad behavior and illegal activity. Drugs and gangs were prevalent in the area, and James found himself swept away by the thug mentality. He admits, “Even when I was doing wrong, I always knew it wasn’t of God. I knew right, but I did wrong because I wanted to fit in with my peers.”
At the age of 16, James had his first child, and by age 17, he had a second child. Throughout all the tumult with gangs, sex, and violence, the one constant in James’s life was his passion for football. Unfortunately, James did not qualify for any scholarships because of low SA T scores and a low grade point average. Instead, James attended a small Methodist college—an opportunity that James planned to embrace. He explains, “I felt like I had the opportunity to change who I was—but the problem was that I came in with the mindset that I just wanted to play football and go pro. I wasn’t there for school.”
Disinterest in courses led James to begin engaging in dangerous activity again. Involvement with a gang that almost resulted in near deadly violence forced James to realize that he needed to make a drastic change. “I left college, and immediately enlisted. That was the start of my transformation,” he says. “When I entered the military, I went in with the mindset that I was no longer a thug or a football player, I went in knowing that I needed to find who James Williams is.”
While in the military, James was encouraged to go back to school and earn a degree, which he did. James began taking courses at Park University in January 2001, and graduated cum laude in May 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in management and computer information systems—earning 80 credits in two and a half years.
After graduating from Park University in 2003, James began working as an adjunct professor at a community college while also pursuing his Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University.
After completing his Master’s program, James realized he still had a passion for football, and wanted to play professionally. After a few disappointments at local combines, James signed a two-year contract with the Raleigh Rebels arena football team in North Carolina.
During his time playing with the Raleigh Rebels, James began working on his doctorate in Management and Organizational Leadership from the University of Phoenix. He says, “During the pursuit of my doctorate, I was focused on climbing the corporate ladder, which I eventually realized I did not want to do forever. So, I began working at a middle school. It was there that I discovered my passion for teaching."
Determined to become a professor at a traditional brick and mortar, James enrolled in a Ph.D program in Hospitality Management at Iowa State University. “I just decided to bottle up all my fear—and luckily my wife was supportive. As a family, my wife and I decided we needed to move our family to Iowa so that I could pursue my dream of becoming a professor.”
Now, working as an Associate Professor in the School of Hospitality, Sport, and Recreation Management, James’s dream has become a reality. He admits, “Initially, I thought corporate America was the place for me. But as I continued to climb that ladder, I realized I was not pursuing my real dream. I wanted to inspire and motivate people. And educate them. In order to find true happiness, my paradigm had to shift.”
In addition to his professorship, James is also in the process of publishing a book called From Thug to Scholar: An Odyssey to Unmask my True Potential. Set to be released on October 31, 2013, the book details James’s transformative journey, and encourages others to seek true happiness in life. When asked about the subject of the book, James describes the concept of masking, or hiding your true identity behind a façade—an idea that he battled in young adulthood but has successfully overcome. Through his book, James wants to share his message, and help motivate others to unmask themselves. He advises, “Do not be afraid to continue to work towards that final goal, even if people think it is crazy. Because you have to be happy and you have to stay motivated every day of your life in order to meet your true potential and find happiness.”
By Martha Bell Graham
Originally published in Fall 2013 Magazine.
Jenn Bailey (‘12, ‘13M) (above) says being a teacher has always been her “dream job.” Before she graduated from JMU, she had already changed the lives of hundreds of students.
Mulalo wasn’t sure he had anything to write on his freshly-cut-out paper star.
“Write your hope, dream, desire or wish,” Jennifer Bailey (’12, ’13M) instructed her South African students. “Then we’ll hang the stars from the ceiling.”
“They were so excited” Bailey says of the students she taught as a JMU senior during a short-term Study Abroad with Teresa Harris, Fulbright Scholar and JMU professor of elementary and early childhood education.
“They had never worked with colored paper before,” Bailey recalls. Her students’ excitement was one part of a rich educational experience for Bailey.
One student wrote “doctor.” One wrote “teacher.” Another student wrote a wish — to pass the matricular, South Africa’s test to become a teacher. By Western standards, the children had little, yet they had dreams.
Bailey and a fellow JMU student talked to Mulalo. They persuaded him that yes, he could dream. He could succeed. “By the time we left Mulalo was saying, ‘I know I can do this.’”
On the morning of their group’s departure, Mulalo appeared at 7 a.m. He pleaded with them not to go.
“As we drove away, he got on his bicycle and followed us. I was in tears,” Bailey says. “That is why I teach.”
"This year changed my life. I learned so much from him. By the end of the year, we were finishing each other's sentences." — Jenn Bailey ('12, '13M)
Bailey returned to the states and JMU where she earned a B.S., magna cum laude, in interdisciplinary liberal studies with math and science in 2012, and a Masters in Teaching with certification in algebra in May 2013.
“My dream job has always been to be a teacher,” she says, calling herself one of the lucky ones who has always known what she wanted to do. “I used to teach my little sister.” Her sister Katelyn (’14) is a rising senior at JMU.
Since middle school in Midlothian, Va., Bailey has volunteered in her community, worked with the homeless population and taught low-income students to read. “My ‘I want to teach moment’ came,” she says “while I was working for Partners in Education,” an organization that Bailey and her best high-school friend, Samantha Karnes (’12) brought to the newly-opened Cosby High School when they were redistricted.
Through PIE, Bailey worked in a low-income area with students who couldn’t read. When she arrived, the teacher in charge identified one child: “He’s the naughty kid. You’re wasting your time.”
So Bailey asked to work with him, and by the end of her term, he was reading.
“I love helping people,” Bailey says. “I love to inspire people to do something for themselves. Not to do it for them, but to help them achieve.” It is a surprising confession for the Cosby senior voted “shyest.”
“Yep,” she admits, “Shyest. But JMU completely changed that for me.”
When Bailey first came to JMU, she followed the conventional wisdom: She studied and stayed focused. “I didn’t get involved,” she says. By the middle of her freshman year, JMU wasn’t working for her. Yet, she ventured out enough to apply to be a Freshman Orientation Guide or FROG. When she was chosen, she decided to fulfill that duty — and then transfer.
But everything changed when she got involved.
During her work as a FROG, she met Archie Duncan (’13), who became her best friend. Bailey also became a TEACH ambassador. Teach Education Ambassadors Cultivating High Achievers is a student-to-student mentoring program started by Margaret Kyger, JMU professor of exceptional education and assistant dean of the College of Education.
“I didn’t know what I had signed up for. I went in not expecting anything,” Bailey says.
TEACH had several projects on the horizon. One was a book drive for Patrick Country, Va., based Meadows of Dan Elementary School that had burned.
“I can do a book drive,” Bailey thought. So she signed on. “I constructed this artwork in the shape of an apple.” The apple, displayed in Memorial Hall, features suggested book titles. Bailey was amazed at the results. “I always knew JMU was a giving community,” Bailey says, “but it really opened my eyes as to how giving.”
JMU professors donated 50 books. Custodians and building and grounds employees donated books. Students bought brand new books to donate. In the end, the drive collected 2,200 books.
Bailey next organized the innovative program Raising an Organization of Trained Educators. The four-year program places JMU education students in the same school, two hours a week, throughout their undergraduate experience. “Students get to see what and who it takes to run a school. So many people do so many things that you have no idea about.”
For instance, Bailey says, students confined to a classroom don’t see the important role of a school nurse or administrator. “When you do your practicum, you only get to see one thing — the classroom,” she says.
Through ROTE, students see every facet of a school’s operation. As freshman, students spend time with individuals like librarians, nurses and cafeteria workers — “with hair nets,” she says. This helps give students a universal view of the school. As sophomores, students work in the classrooms as teacher’s aides. The key to ROTE is giving students the time and depth to get to know an entire school community, not just one grade, one teacher and one classroom.
The first placements — 15 to 30 students — occurred in fall 2012 at two Harrisonburg schools, Skyline Middle School and Smithland Elementary School. “But other schools have asked for JMU students,” she says.
As the first director — and with graduation looming — Bailey realized last year that she wanted to make sure ROTE continued. “I knew I was leaving and had to pass it down.”
Two current education students now run the program. Jesse Humphries (’14) of Leesburg, Va., oversees the elementary portion, and Allie Daczkowski (’15) of Sterling, Va., runs the middle-school program. And Bailey is confident they’ll do a good job. “I have never been so proud of two ladies,” she says. “This project was my baby.”
Bailey adds, “Kids don’t care how much they know until they know how much you care.” And, Bailey has also received her own measure of caring. During her master’s year, she student-taught at Smithland Elementary under Norris Bunn (’95). Bailey says, “This year changed my life. I learned so much from him. By the end of the year, we were finishing each other’s sentences.”
Together they taught a dual-language class of 40 students, separated into halves. One half was taught in the students’ native language, the other in English.
Not too long ago, Bailey ran into a friend she hadn’t seen since high school. “You have changed so much!” the friend told her. Bailey was the shyest girl was no longer.
“JMU completely changed that for me.” The difference was getting involved. “The best thing about JMU,” Bailey says, “is the people. We’re a big school of 20,000, but once you start getting involved, this goes from 20,000 to a family.
Visit to Montpelier,
the home of James Madison
Remarks to the faculty and staff of Montpelier and James Madison University
Nov. 6, 2012
President Alger speaking to JMU faculty and staff at Montpelier, the home of James Madison
Good morning. What an exciting day. And thank you for the wonderful tour of Montpelier this morning. One of the things that I really appreciate and am excited about today—when I think about the faculty that we brought here from JMU and the kind of expertise that you all have at Montpelier—is the interdisciplinary nature of the conversation. We have people who understand the science and the archaeology and anthropology and political science and history. All those different aspects are being combined in our conversations about how we can work together to enrich and expand knowledge going forward. I think that’s a really exciting component of what’s happening today. I hope we can think about that interdisciplinary kind of discussion as we go forward.
One of the themes I’ve talked about for JMU and one that I think would relate directly to our partnership going forward with Montpelier is the idea of being the Engaged University. As we talk about James Madison University, we talk about being engaged with ideas—absolutely, learning the theory. I was thinking about this, envisioning being in that room [at Montpelier] where James Madison himself was reading all of those books and absorbing so much knowledge. But, of course, he was also applying that knowledge in a very real way to the problems around him of his time. And that’s what the university does as well, that idea of being the Engaged University, being engaged with those great ideas from the past and the present but also thinking about how can we apply this knowledge to the challenges that we face as a society.
So I think translating that very Madisonian experience to all of us today is something I’d like us to think about together. For us at the university, we talk about producing educated and enlightened citizens and the importance of citizens who are going to be active participants in a democratic society. Our students talk about, as you probably know, making a difference in the world. Using the motto of Be the Change, they are learning not just for the sake of learning, but so they can do something to be of service in whatever discipline, whatever field they’re engaged in. There’s a very strong sense of community and of civic engagement at JMU. I can tell you, having been at other universities, it’s really palpable and immediately noticeable at JMU—throughout the faculty, throughout the staff and throughout the student body.
So what does that idea of engagement and reflecting our legacy as James Madison University mean as we think about citizenship in the 21st century? We talked earlier about the importance of having educated citizens to keep a democracy thriving and the importance of having all the different institutions, organizations, corporations, non-profit organizations play a role as people come together in communities. Those are themes that I think we can explore together. One other thing I would add to that is the importance of education. There are teachers here today, which is very fitting, on Election Day. At JMU we produce, as you probably all know, lots of K-12 teachers. So for JMU the higher education component is important—our faculty, our students, the research they’re engaged in. But we’re producing that next generation of teachers for around the commonwealth and around the country. Those linkages of K-12 education, higher education and continuing lifelong education as reflected by a the home of James Madison really is living history. I think it would be really valuable to explore those linkages and what we can do together on the educational continuum front. I hope what we can do in this conversation is to think about how our organizations, our institutions work together and envision a new kind of partnership given our unique roles in the United States.
I do think that JMU has a special opportunity and obligation as James Madison University to make people aware of that legacy. Who was James Madison? What were those ideas and ideals that he stood for? What do they mean today? How do we wrestle with those questions today? How do we help other people think about that? There’s a national and international component to that as we think about the idea of democracy as it spreads around the world. So I believe it is very valuable to have those conversations about how James Madison University and Montpelier can work together—about how we can collaborate on particular projects or initiatives that we might develop taking advantage of those unique strengths of our organizations.
I am excited that today we are exploring some important ideas—and this is just the beginning—about how our institutions can collaborate in three important areas. What are some new opportunities for learners? What are new opportunities for research and faculty engagement? And what are some new opportunities to bring greater attention to the legacy of James Madison and the importance of enlightened citizenship in a democracy?
Since 2009, Computer Information Systems (CIS) and Business Analytics professor Dr. Susan Kruck has been the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Information Systems Education (JISE)—a position that has proved to be rewarding.
The JISE is an academic journal that focuses on education in the field of Information Systems. The journal publishes articles based on a wide variety of content, including topics such as curriculum development, pedagogy, software design, industry relations, and information systems research.
Kruck first began working for the publication as an author and a member of the editorial review board in the early 2000s. In her previous position on the editorial board, Kruck was responsible for reviewing 3-4 papers a year. Needless to say, her responsibilities have grown immensely since accepting her current position as editor-in-chief. Now her duties include receiving submissions, sending out submissions for blind review, making publishing decisions, and formatting the content of the journal. Kruck is also responsible for managing journal subscriptions, maintaining the JISE website, and distributing the publication—a task that involves mailing over 500 copies of JISE to subscribers from all over the world. But according to Kruck, her commitment to increasing the quality of education in the CIS discipline is worthwhile. She describes, "Journals dedicated to education are sometimes not as valued as several of the other, top-tier journals, but I feel that we must emphasize the importance of educational research so that we can better instruct our students. That way, students will be better prepared to enter the workplace and contribute to the field."
As a completely service based position, Kruck's dedication to this publication is immense. "It is a big commitment. For 52 weeks a year, I am the editor-in-chief of JISE—there are no vacations. But I find solace in the fact that this journal is a major resource for educators within the Information Systems discipline. So instead of participating in 12 different committees with a minimal role in each, I am able to make an large impact by contributing to one of the main facets of Information Systems education," she says.
Having been a part of the journal for over a decade, Kruck is content in her current position and enjoys the satisfaction that comes from managing a publication dedicated to education. Thanks to her work with the publication, she is able to continually develop as an instructor of Computer Information Systems. She says, "I am constantly reading about other people's research, so I am learning a lot. And I am able to share that knowledge with my classes. If it weren't for my position with JISE, I may not have encountered some of the rich, interesting research being conducted in the field."
By Jamie Marsh
Originally published in the Fall 2011 Madison magazine.
Katie Sensabaugh (’12) first met JMU professor David Owusu-Ansah at Mad-RUSH, an undergraduate research conference hosted by JMU’s College of Arts and Letters. Sensabaugh was one of 100 students from across the East Coast who presented papers on specialized research topics. After Sensabaugh’s 20-minute presentation about the harmful consequences of media publicity during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, (“The Media, the World Cup, and Apartheid”), Owusu-Ansah, professor of history and special assistant to the president for faculty diversity, challenged her findings and took her thinking to a “new level,” Sensabaugh says. “I learned as much from a 15-minute conversation with Dr. Owusu-Ansah as spending a semester in research on the same topic.”
Jamie Marsh caught up with professor and student, on behalf of Madison magazine, and the conversation continued. And as Sensabaugh shares, the exchange has had a long-term impact on her Madison Experience.
Madison: How did you choose your Mad-RUSH research topic?
Katie Sensabaugh (’12): I wrote my paper for my Media and Politics class. I had visited South Africa and was considering declaring a minor in African studies, but I couldn’t find room in my schedule since I already had a double major. I was trying to make my coursework focus on Africa whenever possible.
Madison: And what was the main thing you learned?
Sensabaugh: Basically, I looked at contemporary news accounts arguing that the World Cup had a negative impact on South Africa. Not only were the local people displaced to make way for massive stadium projects, but most of the money went to international corporations rather than local entrepreneurs. South Africa could have spent money on improving low-income housing, for example, rather than building infrastructure for the event. As for media coverage, the only taste of African culture that the everyday tourist or television viewer received was the sound of the vuvuzela, and even that was limited.
Madison: Were you expecting feedback at Mad-RUSH?
Sensabaugh: Yes, that’s part of the conference program, but I didn’t know an African history expert was in the room! I called my mom right after the conference because Dr. Owusu-Ansah really made me think about my work. While he commended many of my thoughts, I realized that I hadn’t grasped the full picture in my research. He said my findings may be true, but argued the World Cup was still a huge step forward.
Madison: Professor Owusu-Ansah, can you expand on that?
David Owusu-Ansah: First, let me say Katie did a great job and her findings are valid. My comments focused on why the authorities in South Africa saw the successful conduct of the game to be important. Psychologically, it proved two things: that Africa was capable of conduct and planning usually reserved for advanced economies. They said, ‘We can do what Brazil and the United Emirates have done. We can make an air-conditioned stadium in a desert.’ Second, it showed that black political leaders were as able as the white minority government in managing large-scale events. Everyone expected the project to explode, but that didn’t happen. It did a lot for the psychology of South Africans.
Sensabaugh: Those comments made me think more long term. All the literature I read was so negative, but Professor Owusu-Ansah cited future benefits from the increase in nationalism and pride.
Owusu-Ansah: Exactly! Even though people were forced out of their homes to build a stadium, I questioned whether it was a total waste of national resources. The poor also got many miles of roads, temporary construction jobs, opportunities to sell goods, and the psychological relief of accomplishing what they said they could do. For the poor, maybe the long-term benefits will outweigh the immediate.
Madison: Katie, how has this conversation affected your studies?
Sensabaugh: It helped confirm that I am really passionate about South Africa, so I’ve continued seeking ways to study the nation. After graduation, I hope to work at South Africa’s famous Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Madison: Is this type of intellectual exchange common for undergrads at JMU?
Sensabaugh: Oh yes. I’ve had the chance to have conversations with many experts where I’m treated on an equal playing field. If you come prepared, most professors will have one-on-one conversations with you, anytime.
Owusu-Ansah: Even though JMU is a big university, operation-wise, we don’t think of ourselves that way. We look for students to work with side-by-side, to have graduate-level kinds of interactions. This is the kind of student whom I, as a professor, always want to nurture.
Professor inspires community children, parents and tomorrow’s teachers
By Colleen Dixon
Kinesiology professor Tom Moran has created several community outreach programs that inspire children with different learning abilities and their parents, all the while showing JMU students how to be incredible, well-prepared future teachers. Mark Casstevens ('09, '10M) (above) gets valuable student-teaching experience.
Originally published in the Winter 2011 Madison magazine.
Godwin Hall Gymnasium is alive with colors, motion and children’s gleeful squeals. Delight is evident on each face — children, their parents and JMU students. Is this a pickup game of dodge ball, or a party? Actually, it is part of an adapted physical education class for JMU students who want to become teachers.
Welcome to Project CLIMB — Children Learning to Improve Movement Behaviors — a 10-week program giving children with disabilities the opportunity to learn through play and physical activity. Tom Moran, professor of kinesiology, had the vision for Project CLIMB before he arrived at JMU in 2008. “I really wanted to create an outreach program associated with my adapted physical education class,” he says. “I came up with the CLIMB acronym once I got here.”
His experience in an undergrad teacher prep program showed Moran that hands-on experience is essential to gaining confidence to work with children with disabilities. Moran is also part of JMU’s physical and health education teacher education faculty. He says that creating an interest in and passion for working with children with disabilities are key elements in truly preparing tomorrow’s teachers. Without interaction with children with disabilities teacher training is not meaningful.
Back in Godwin, the noise and excitement echo off the walls. Five-year-old Brody is playing swords using foam noodles. Emma is reluctant to join the group and pulls away from her mother. Kinesiology major Mark Casstevens (’09, ’10M) plops down in front of Emma and signs “play with me” repeatedly. Emma eventually relents and joins Casstevens to play.
Hands-on teacher training
Each child is paired with a JMU student for individual attention. The main activity begins with the children and students huddling around Moran as he gives instruction about the day’s activities. They do each activity as quickly as possible, and after each is complete, children run back to Moran to receive a small foam figure as a reward. Impatient to begin, the kids explode with noise and motion once Moran signals the start.
Super-energetic Donnie loves the “wrestling” pit. Brody likes to chase and catch people. Brandy is working on smooth movement in a specific direction. Emma is crawling through a small tunnel toward Casstevens.
The quick pace and fun games make this seem like a play session rather than serious work, but serious work is what is happening. Each child concentrates on activities suited to his or her learning or physical challenges. Moran’s kinesiology students have developed individualized programs of learning for their child that focus on developing motor skills.
The individual interaction not only benefits the children by giving them a chance for socialization, physical activity and skill development, but it also benefits the kinesiology students. Moran says, “It’s nice when I’m lecturing on autism and a student says, ‘Oh, is that what my student has, is that why he starts getting overwhelmed when we’re in a certain situation?’ It makes the content that much richer for my teacher education students. Not to mention that we’re now able to provide a service in the community. Children who unfortunately didn’t have a program when everyone else was joining Little League or Youth Soccer now have their own program, at least for 10 weeks, that they can call their own.”
Breaking down teaching barriers
Moran developed Project CLIMB by putting together parts of other adapted learning programs he observed. “The year prior to my coming to JMU, I was able to observe similar programs and blend my ideas to develop Project CLIMB. Some programs offer just one-on-one interactions the whole 10 weeks. Other universities don’t assign teachers to a specific child; they work with somebody different throughout the hour they’re there. I liked the idea of one on one, because students get to see the growth of a child across the program. At the same time, I don’t want them to only gain experience with a child with Down syndrome, or a child with cerebral palsy. I want to create an environment where they get multiple experiences. That’s where I came up with the progression of one-on-one interactions, then pairs, then small groups. By the end of the 10 weeks the students have opportunities across different settings, and also work with different students. It’s really the best of both worlds.”
Children who have been through Project CLIMB go from thinking, ‘I can’t do these things,’ to asking, ‘What can I do next?’
— Tom Moran,
professor of kinesiology and
Project CLIMB founder
John Parks (’09) enjoyed working in Project CLIMB for the instant feedback, which helped improve his teaching abilities. “Dr. Moran impressed me with the way he was able to get us comfortable with working with kids with disabilities, something a lot of us had never done before,” he explains. “It can be intimidating, but he gave us the tools to break down barriers. We’re able to give these kids a quality experience.”
Parents are equally excited about the opportunities opening for their children in Project CLIMB. “I get a lot of good feedback from parents not only about improving the skill levels of their kids, but also about how it improves their self-confidence and self-esteem,” says Moran. “Some of the kids have gone on to join other community programs. Parents return and say, ‘I didn’t even think they would join Project CLIMB,’ and now my child is saying, ‘Can I join a baseball team? Can I get involved in a different program?’ We’re starting to see some self-actualization and some improved self-image. Children who have been through Project CLIMB go from thinking, ‘I can’t do these things,’ to asking, ‘What can I do next?’”
Parents have told Moran that they want their children to learn how to ride a bike or how to swim, or continue to work on their motor skills so they can throw and catch in the backyard. “The spinoff of this program we created is a community-based adapted physical education program that, hopefully, we’ll be able to bring under the JMU academic umbrella,” says Moran. “We’re able to provide either one-on-one or small group instruction for children with disabilities through the academic year, and some during the summer.”
On a donation basis, parents can sign up for various programs. “We have a mechanism where we can continue to provide services year-round,” adds Moran. “In 2009 we created, as an offshoot to Project CLIMB, the Helping Hands program, where instructors assist community children and adults with disabilities.”
Helping Hands can assist an adult who wants to go to a local gym and work out or a child who wants to sign up for a self-defense class at Boys and Girls Club.
“Now parents can sign up for those community programs, and we’ll provide an instructor who can accompany them and provide one-on-one support within the larger group setting. This is a great mechanism to get the kids out into other community programs,” says Moran.
Beyond Project CLIMB and Helping Hands, Moran desires to provide even more outreach programming. He’s always asking, “What can we do, within our resources, to continue to provide services? We just need financial support to keep it going,” he adds.
Shannon Dougherty ('10, '11M), a kinesiology major in physical and health education teacher education, has been involved in several programs Moran coordinates. “Dr. Moran has really helped me get into working with children with disabilities. … All the kids are so loving and appreciative, and their parents are the same way,” says the future teacher. “They are grateful that there is something the kids can do other than just going to school and coming home.”
Because there have been limited programs in the Shenandoah Valley for children with disabilities to participate in physical activities, parents are excited by Moran’s outreach and the students’ mentoring.
“Our JMU students embrace these opportunities. They really want to work with the kids and take them to the next level,” says Moran. “I think even the parents realize that it’s more than ‘I just bring my kid here and they have some fun for an hour.’ They realize there are some real goals behind our programs. Each of my students takes that mission personally.” The students want to make sure they are improving upon something, whether it’s a child’s skill levels, self-confidence or self-esteem.
Growing community opportunities
This year, Moran received funding to implement an Overcoming Barriers Project through the I Can Do It You Can Do It Program Grant. JMU was selected as one of eight sites nationally to receive the grant of $15,000 to conduct a physical activity and nutrition mentoring program for individuals with disabilities.
In addition to Project CLIMB, JMU now offers a Physical Activity and Nutrition Mentoring Program, and local parents are able to enroll their children in an aquatics class or an individual sports/recreational activities program. The pool at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community is the venue for the aquatics activities. The sports/recreational activities program allows individuals to choose from several outdoor activities: golf, personal training, bike riding, hiking and tennis.
To sustain the impact of the Overcoming Barriers Project, Moran has offered specialized training and support to six community organizations to train their staff members to better meet the needs of all participants.
Moran says these programs are a good part of reaching out to the community. “We are always serving two purposes,” he says. “I’m meeting the needs of my students by giving them hands-on experience in education, but we’re also filling a need for these programs in the community.”
Once the noise has died down at Godwin, it’s time for Moran’s students to discuss how things went during that session — the good and bad. Struggling for composure, one student relates that things did not go well with her child. She is immediately surrounded by classmates offering encouraging words and hugs. Another asks her peers, “How do I get through to Faith? How do I get her to participate?”
Another student says, “The reward system worked; he wasn’t screaming.” Another: “I was amazed at the energy and smiles.”
The students’ comments will join other information about the children and form the basis of new methods in succeeding weeks of the program, according to Moran.
The young children were not the only ones learning and growing on this day.
Charged up about sports performance and passionate about students
By Darian Parker (’01, ’03M)
Originally published in Fall 2011 Madison magazine
Professor Emeritus of Kinesiology Challace McMillin was named an honorary JMU alumnus in 2003. As JMU’s first football coach, McMillin recruited his original 1972 team from class registration lines and other varsity teams. He led JMU to its first national ranking (No. 9) in 1978 and went on to coach three future NFL All-Pro players. Former JMU Athletics Director Dean Ehlers called McMillin “an exceptional individual and an outstanding Christian.”
When I came to JMU in the fall of 1996, I had already traveled the world as part of a military family. Naturally, I thought JMU would be just another stop, another notch on my belt of worldly experiences. Instead, I found a place I could call home for the first time in my life, and much of that has to do with one man in particular.
During my sophomore year, as I was sketching out my class schedule for the upcoming junior year, I overheard some students talking about a professor who was passionate about sports performance. That’s all I needed to hear, because I decided to major in kinesiology because of my own passion for teaching others how to be physically active and my own wonder at how my body worked.
I enrolled in Challace McMillin’s class, Coaching Principles, and almost immediately connected to his old-school teaching style. He loved using the overhead projector when everyone else seemed to use PowerPoint.
I sat in the front during all of his classes and enjoyed watching him get fired up about pretty much every issue related to coaching sports. He was tough but kind; straight-forward but completely professional.
I decided in his class that I wanted to be like him — as a teacher, mentor and coach — so I took several of his classes while getting my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. While serving as his graduate assistant during my master’s studies, I got to know Coach McMillin as more than a teacher; I learned that he is a wonderfully kind man.
He taught me so much about himself but even more about myself. I learned how to become a more respectful, diligent and determined person. Every weekday when I went to his office to help grade papers and write notes for his classes, I admired the degrees on his wall. I was particularly fascinated with his doctoral degree, hanging there all huge on his wall. All I could think about was how I would never be able to attain something like that because I was not smart enough. Dr. McMillin helped to change that poor attitude.
After seven wonderful years in Harrisonburg, I physically moved on from JMU, but my mind and spirit continue to think back to all the special people who helped shape me. Now, I’m general manager of a thriving high-end and exclusive fitness facility in Las Vegas. Like Dr. McMillin, I have my degrees hanging on my office wall. In addition to my JMU degrees is my Ph.D. from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Yes, UNLV was another journey that added to my life experiences. I had some good professors and some great times. Yet, nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to my Madison Experience and my time with Dr. McMillin. Thank you, Dr. McMillin, for changing my life forever.
History professor Shah Mahmoud Hanifi teaches students to think critically.
Originally published in Fall 2010 Madison Magazine.
Author and renowned scholar Shah Mahmoud Hanifi is one of the nation’s few experts on Afghanistan. He is influencing global political discourse and bringing it directly to JMU classrooms.
Madison: You spent a spring 2010 sabbatical working on your second book about Afghanistan. How will this experience enhance relationships with your students?
Shah Mahmoud Hanifi: I enjoyed giving some talks this year that I am organizing around my forthcoming book Knowing Afghanistan: The Epistemology of a Global Colonial Frontier. In addition to preparing a few chapters and essays to appear in edited books and journals I have contracted with Stanford University Press for a paperback print version of my first book, Connecting Histories in Afghanistan and with I. B. Tauris for an edited volume, Power Hierarchies and Hegemony in Afghanistan: State Building, Ethnic Minorities and Identity in Central Asia. Through my research and publication efforts, I’m developing new ways of thinking about subject matters, which I’m anxious to convey to students who will in turn surely help me refine my thinking and writing about the things I’m trying to learn better.
Madison: You are an assiduous researcher and scholar. You could teach anywhere. What do you like about JMU’s teaching environment and direct contact with undergrads?
Hanifi: As a historian with transnational and global orientations, the most appealing, and challenging, aspects of teaching at JMU are the geographical breadth and chronological depth I push my students and myself to explore. My duties at JMU have prompted me to creatively use and branch out from my core interests in the economic impact of British Indian colonialism on 19th-century Afghanistan to engage a variety of issues including printing, literacy and bureaucracies in the region of the world between Casablanca and Calcutta since the rise of Islam. I appreciate the institutional space for comparative and interdisciplinary teaching at JMU, and my students help me think about material that in some instances I am learning afresh right along with them.
Madison: How do you transform the innate curiosity of JMU history students into disciplined, in-sightful and analytical investigation?
Hanifi: For understanding the Middle East, South Asia and the Islamic world more broadly it is first and foremost necessary to de-exoticize and humanize the people there. The next task is to expose students to the social and cultural complexity in this part of the world. The subsequent need is to address the ongoing interaction and changing relations between the multiple communities that interact across this wide zone. The final goal is for students to situate the Middle East, South Asia and the Islamic world in relation to the rest of the world.
Madison: How do you take someone from curious student to novice researcher to practiced historian?
Hanifi: That is the true reward of teaching. Students mature at different rates. However, one pattern that emerges among them is a moment when after exposure to considerable doses of local, regional and world history it dawns on students that knowledge is partial and full of inconsistencies and contradictions. This prompts them to realize that practical organization of information and careful interpretation of limited data are the keys to practicing history. The beauty of this maturation moment is that it renders the historian’s craft tangible and manageable for rapidly growing young minds. The period of this intellectual conjuncture can vary from a few weeks to a full semester. It entails students metaphorically “looking themselves in the mirror” and coming to terms with their own short-term limitations while also helping to frame their longer-term aspirations.
Madison: Talk about a time when you were able to engage with a student who has become an “expert” in a particular topic and feel that you have been enlightened.
Hanifi: The first student fitting this mold is John Adair Miller (’06, ’09M). John is one of the many undergraduate history majors who have returned to JMU for graduate school, in his case a master’s degree in our emerging graduate program concentration in global history. He produced a first-rate thesis on Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan that taught me a lot about a place I thought I knew well. John is now pursuing a Ph.D. in history, focusing on Afghanistan, at Ohio State University. I also want to mention Claire Metcalfe (’08), whom I first encountered on a Study Abroad program in London. She wrote an award-winning senior honors thesis about the history of cholera in British Colonial India under my direction in the anthropology department. Claire returned to Europe for graduate work and earned an M.A. with honors in bioarchaeology at the University of London. She is now considering Ph.D. programs in paleontology and paleoecology in England and Germany. I’ve learned quite a bit about the history of colonial medicine, physical anthropology and archaeology from Claire.
Madison: What first inspired you to your field? Do you see that same excitement in your students?
Hanifi: In some ways I was born into my field through an Afghan father and a Lebanese mother. However, in other ways my excitement about the history of the Middle East was triggered just as it is with my students. My commitment to history took shape over the course of a revolutionary few weeks as an undergraduate, when I started thinking critically about my particular niche as a burgeoning historian, career goals and my overall life aspirations.
‘I appreciate the institutional space for comparative and interdisciplinary teaching at JMU, and my
students help me think about material that in some instances I am learning afresh right along with them.’
— Shah Mahmoud Hanifi
Madison: By coordinating the minor in Middle Eastern communities and migrations, you get to collaborate across the university. What is attracting students to this minor?
Hanifi: I’m sure global events are attracting students to the minor, but one thing history teaches us is that times change and wars end. My long-term goal is to leave structures in place for academic knowledge to continue to flourish and remain in demand in a far less militarized context that I hope, perhaps against all odds, will develop domestically and globally sooner rather than later.
Madison: Describe the educated and enlightened citizen you see graduate from the history department.
Hanifi: One who is able to critically examine his or herself and the structures that make that thinking possible, and one who uses that critical self-awareness to more fully understand other cultures.
✱ Learn more about Hanifi’s research here.
Foursome honors friendships, D-Hall staffer and JMU
By Michael Navarrete (’03)
Originally published in Fall 2012 Madison magazine.
< br/>Betty brotherhood members with Betty in D-Hall.
This story is about “Betty” and the Betty brotherhood —four members of the Class of 2003, David Urso (’05M), Frank Smith, Stephen Biscotte and myself, Michael Navarrete.
Our lives crossed paths as freshmen, but it was not until our junior year that we randomly all met at D-Hall on a Monday for lunch. We had such a good time that day we made a point to meet every Monday for the rest of the semester and for the rest of our Madison Experience.
As our friendships grew, so did our zest for our weekly meetings. Soon we assigned ourselves officer positions, created formal agendas and instituted our own version of Robert’s Rules of Order. We spent every Monday’s lunch discussing everything from class to pranks to how to improve our beloved James Madison University.
Over time, our meetings gained notoriety from our friends and soon we were collectively referred to as “Betty,” the name of the legendary D-Hall services greeter/JACard swiper.
Fast forward to graduation year, every member of Betty signed a contract that stipulated that we would get together at least once a year for what has become known as “Bettystock.” Despite living in different states, and at times different countries, we have still managed to get together every year to reflect, grow and honor the Madison friendships that formed many years ago.
Last year was our 10th Betty anniversary. We unanimously chose to celebrate it in no other place than the birthright of our friendship and Betty Brotherhood, JMU. Arriving in the ’Burg on a Friday night, our weekend was filled with great memories, deep laughs, and visits to culinary institutions like Dave’s Taverna and Kline’s.
‘JMU still remains a huge part of our lives. Not a day goes by where we are not thankful for the relationships that we formed and the lessons that our Madison Experience taught us about leadership, community and service.’
— Michael Navarrete (’03)
During our time at JMU, the members of Betty served the larger university community. We also were very involved in many facets of student life, including Student Ambassadors, Orientation Week, the national service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, club basketball, the Student Duke Club, and One in Four. During our senior year, we were all recognized in different ways: Dave Urso (’03, ’05M) was the recipient of the Carrier Award for Student Leadership, and Stephen Biscotte (’03) was selected as the student commencement speaker. Frank Smith was recognized by the Madison IN8 Reticent Order for his contributions to JMU, and I was voted Mr. Madison.
Since our graduation in 2003 many things have changed. Three weddings, four babies, two Peace Corps tours, three master’s degrees, two Ph.D. programs and four new homes later, Madison remains a constant part of our lives. Not a day goes by where we are not thankful for the relationships that we formed and the lessons that our Madison Experience taught us about leadership, community and service. These experiences helped define and shape the people we are today.
Although the details of 2012 Bettystock have not been revealed, I am sure it will involve several smiles, some shenanigans and a few toasts to that fateful Monday in D-Hall.
As I share this Betty Brotherhood story, I am completing my M.B.A. at Oxford University. Frank Smith is working in Thailand. Stephen Biscotte and Dave Urso live in Virginia, and both are completing Ph.D. programs.
Here’s to you, Betty. Thank you for everything!
Community building at home and abroad
By Jennifer Coffman
Originally published in Fall 2010 Madison magazine.
(Above center): Jennifer Coffman founded and directs the successful Field School in Kenya. Students live with and learn from local families, while also exploring sustainable projects with their community hosts.
Each of us has the ability to contribute positively at home and/or abroad, although how best to do so may not be immediately obvious. When I was a junior in college, I didn’t know that my travels to East Africa would open a lifelong commitment to Kenya. Likewise, when I moved to the Shenandoah Valley a dozen years later, I had little idea that I would be so involved in issues of local food production and land use. How these opportunities unfolded for me underscores the fact that we need not set out with grand plans to have our lives changed, nor must we outline in advance our specific contributions to the lives of others. Being aware of and open to possibilities enables us to discover paths worth following. When we do, great things can happen.
In both Kenya and our local valley, I examine the politics of land access and ownership, sustainable food production, and resource distribution, and I share these experiences with my students and other people who have greatly enriched my life. I merge many interests and duties through the JMU Field School in Kenya, which I created in 2003 and direct. It is an intensive summer program focusing on Kenya’s history, cultures and environments. The program’s founding values include a strong commitment to social responsibility, and it is designed to ensure that the majority of in-country costs directly benefit our host communities in Kenya.
For part of the program, students stay with Kenyan families and immerse themselves in their daily lives. “Not only was this the happiest time in my life, but it was also the most interesting and broadening experience,” says Ben Wilson (’08) about his 2007 trip.
The students’ experiences have long-term impacts. Katie Imbriglia (’10), who participated in 2009, says, “Kenya continues to be one of the most amazing experiences. I constantly think about what we learned.”
Through the Kenya program, and with independent fundraising, my students and I contribute to school and community projects, including school scholarships based on merit and need, supplementary food programs for three primary schools (we purchase and supply Kenyan-grown beans and maize to under-resourced schools), academic and sports supplies for at least four primary schools, and other community-based projects in our homestay areas. We strive to buy locally produced goods (desks, food, uniforms, books from East African publishers), hire local laborers to construct things like community wells, and patronize local, family-owned shops. By favoring local goods and labor, our investments provide even more benefits. Further, students reflect on their own practices, and often some significant changes result. One student wrote on her program evaluation: “My experience in Kenya has certainly made me more conscious of my daily consumption and daily activities I take for granted like turning on the tap and knowing there will be water. I encourage more students to embark on this program.”
The Kenya Field School has also led to grant-funded work. With support from a 2006 Fulbright-Hays Award, I took 15 K-12 teachers and three JMU teachers-in-training to Kenya to study pedagogic practices. We learned how to teach with minimal resources, lived with host families, learned about student and community relationships within the educational system, and expanded our own knowledge base while producing specific projects and curricula to benefit students and teachers in Virginia and Kenya.
Many of the Virginia teachers continue to support the Kenyan schools, connect students and teachers in Virginia and Kenya, and help Kenyan communities achieve more educational goals. A current grant from Project GO provides opportunities for ROTC students to participate in the Kenya program and carry skills that enrich their cultural understandings into their military careers.
Closer to home, my students and I pursue environmental work mainly through collaborative research on local food production in the Shenandoah Valley. I am a member of the Staunton/Augusta Farmers’ Market Board of Directors, and I participate in the Local Food and Farm Work Group, hosted by the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office. I’ve learned an incredible amount about the local agriculture scene — rules, regulations and the woes and triumphs of various small-scale farmers. In collaboration with these groups, I created a farm internship program for JMU students, sponsored by the JMU Office of International Programs and ISAT. Students work on local farms and earn academic credits while learning about the ecology and politics of farming. With a variety of partners, I’m working to expand collaborations focusing on sustainable food systems, and thus further greening Virginia farms.
Those who choose to study abroad or volunteer already have empathic tendencies. A willingness to remain open to this empathy keeps us connected to our former hosts and mentors and sheds light on new paths and exciting engagements at home and abroad. Volunteerism succeeds when relationships are good and we practice loyalty to those who do much for us. Our support contributes to changes greater than we can imagine.
Pre-medicine, Health Bites volunteer
"Service learning projects allow you to help others with their health."
When you talk to Kimberly Okafor ('14), you can tell she's passionate about everything she does—especially her future goals as a doctor.
"I've always aspired to be a doctor and I saw how excited professional health students were about the Huber Learning Community. I love that it's such a small community and how the service-learning projects allow you to help others with their health."
Okafor's service project was volunteering for Health Bites, a collaboration between JMU's Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children under the Virginia Department of Health. The Health Bites website provides easy-to-understand nutrition information designed to inspire behavioral changes in families with babies and young children to achieve positive steps in nutrition, physical activity and obesity prevention. Okafor worked to make the website more user-friendly, finding stats to back up information on the site, editing videos and making sure content was easy to follow.
The Huber Learning Community allowed Okafor to advance her career goals. At an information session for Huber students, she saw a video for a program at the University of Louisville that sparked her interest. She says her friends asked her why she wanted to spend six weeks of her summer vacation doing all that academic work, but it turned out, according to Okafor, "I couldn't have spent the summer doing anything more important."
The summer medical and dental education program at the University of Louisville put together a small group of undergraduate students interested in going to medical or dental school. "There were only 79 other people," says Okafor. "The small group really allowed us to bond. We all had a strong desire to do well, and I made a lot of friends who could be future colleagues."
Okafor also says she never felt like she was in a classroom. "We shadowed doctors in the field and got to use the school's medical facilities. We had so much technology at our disposal."
Before experiencing the program at Louisville, Okafor was hesitant about becoming pre-med. But afterwards she was confident that she was headed on the right career path. "Sometimes rigor of the courses, the criteria, the med school loans stop so many people from becoming a doctor," she explains. "It can be overwhelming. But I try and remember why I'm going through this. I keep the bigger picture in mind. Other people are relying on me."
Okafor says that her JMU professors are also an inspiration. "All the faculty have high expectations and it's something else to live up to, but it's not stressful because they're encouraging. JMU is a large school, but it has small classes and professors are passionate and always willing to help. You can go to them for anything. I don't know where I'd be if I didn't have them to lean on."
Okafor is a co-chair of Students for Minority Outreach, a group that recruits minority students in becoming part of the JMU family. She is also an American Medical Student Association legislative representative. AMSA's goal is to foster interdisciplinary health care in rural areas and to make people aware of what each discipline does. Diabetes runs on both sides of Okafor's family, so she is dedicated to educate people on the types, prevention methods and common myths through AMSA's projects.
Okafor wants to one day become a pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases. It will take a lot of school and a lot of work, but she says it never feels like work. "A JMU professor told me to make sure not to do things to enhance a med-school application, but to do things to enhance myself as a person."
By Jacquelyn Walsh ('09)
Originally published in Fall 2010 Madison magazine.
Staying at JMU one more year to earn her master’s degree, Shannon Dougherty (’10, ’11M) is focusing on her future as an elementary school physical education teacher. “Being a teacher at an elementary school is a lot of work. I want to create some additional programs for kids — like a morning PE class or an afterschool program where they can learn to be fit. It’s about really focusing on living a lifestyle that students can continue to adulthood.”
Staying at JMU one more year to earn her master’s degree, Shannon Dougherty (’10, ’11M) is focusing on her future as an elementary school physical education teacher. “Being a teacher at an elementary school is a lot of work. I want to create some additional programs for kids — like a morning PE class or an afterschool program where they can learn to be fit. It’s about really focusing on living a lifestyle that students can continue to adulthood.”
Shannon Dougherty did not spend her Spring Break like most college students. She wasn’t on a beach in Cancun or visiting old high-school friends, but she still had a great time. During the first part of spring semester, Dougherty worked as a student teacher at Thomas Harrison Middle School in Harrisonburg teaching physical education to almost 400 children. It was the first week of her last eight weeks as a senior at JMU. For the rest of the semester she taught PE full time.
Dougherty, a kinesiology major in physical and health education teacher education, came to JMU from Baltimore, Md., where she graduated in a class of just 59 students from Maryville Preparatory High School, an all-girls Catholic school.
Coming to JMU was an easy choice for Dougherty, who heard about the university from friends who had graduated before her. While visiting her friends at JMU, Dougherty became interested in the Madison Experience. “One of the first things that really drew me in was how friendly everybody is,” says Dougherty, who, as a freshman, declared athletics training as a major. “I looked at other schools, but I decided to come here, and I’m glad I made that choice.”
Dougherty soon discovered the athletics training major wasn’t the best fit for her. After taking a career assessment test at the JMU Career Center, she found an interest in being a physical education teacher.
“After I thought about it more, I said, ‘Alright, let’s do it.’ I had always known that I wanted to work with kids, and I want to help people,” says Dougherty. “I’ve always been somebody who got involved.”
As an avid Special Olympics volunteer throughout high school, Dougherty discovered that she could continue her volunteer work by joining the JMU chapter of the national service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega. “I loved being able to get off campus and do things in the community,” says Dougherty, who participated in a rebuild in New Orleans with the group. “It was great to be around other people who want to help out.”
‘You don’t have to be in sports; you don’t have to be in a sorority; you don’t have to do anything that a typical college student does. JMU professors and students let you be who you are.’
— Shannon Dougherty (’10, ’11M)
Dougherty got involved in every aspect of the Madison Experience including becoming a First Year Orientation Guide, known affectionately by JMU students as FROGs. “I loved being a FROG because I wanted to get other people involved in the JMU experience and to get them as excited about JMU as I am,” she says. “You can try anything and do anything at JMU. You’re going to be accepted no matter what you do. You don’t have to be in sports; you don’t have to be in a sorority; you don’t have to do anything that a typical college student does. JMU professors, students and administrators let you be who you are. You get to know what you want to do.”
Because of her passion for helping children with disabilities, Dougherty also picked up a minor in special education. With the help of kinesiology professor Tom Moran, Dougherty has put together various outreach programs geared specifically to local children with disabilities — a parks and recreation program, a training program for community organizations, and an aquatics program to teach children with disabilities how to swim. She also helps with Just for Kicks, Helping Hands and Project CLIMB (Children Learning to Improve Movement Behaviors), all programs that Moran coordinates.
“Dr. Moran has really helped me get into working with children with disabilities, and I came to him after getting into the program and told him that I wanted to do more,” says Dougherty.
Geared with individualized lesson plans from Project CLIMB, Dougherty helped students learn basic skills like throwing, catching and working in groups, which she says enhanced her teaching skills.
“Shannon just relished leadership opportunities and ran with them for no other glory than her own professional development and the feeling she gets from working with kids,” says Moran. “Her willingness to further herself as a teacher sets her apart from her peers.”
Dougherty agrees that seeing her work touch the lives of children and their parents provides a motivation that is unrivaled. “The kids are so loving and appreciative and all their parents are the same way,” says Dougherty. “They are grateful that there is something their kids can do other than just going to school and coming home. These parents go above and beyond for their kids.”
Dougherty has even taught her peers as a guest speaker in Melinda Burchard’s Survey of Learning Disabilities class. “I taught my peers about how kids with learning disabilities [also] have problems in PE; it’s not just English and writing and math. When you’re in a PE setting, kids can be completely confused and you might not think about that as a PE teacher,” explains Dougherty.
Burchard adds, “Shannon is great at explaining the basic rules of the games, leading students through an experience of a game and then leading students through reflection on what would be challenging about those games for students with various disabilities. Shannon is enthusiastic, articulate and well-organized.”
In March Dougherty received the Outstanding Major of the Year award at the national American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance conference in Indianapolis. Her classmates nominated her to represent JMU and the physical and health education teacher education program. “I was surprised when I got nominated, but it’s exciting,” says Dougherty. “It reassures me that I’m on the right path.”
By James Irwin ('06)
It's a form of grassroots philanthropy — sort of like political candidates who raise money through satellite headquarters — and it goes by a number of titles: crowd funding, peer-to-peer, the ground game. It is a major way to raise funds and awareness for a cause.
And it's arrived at a JMU alumni chapter near you.
The program is called the JMU Alumni Chapter Challenge. Its premise is simple: pool JMU alumni, volunteers and advocates in 20 regions worldwide into a single campaign that raises money for the university (any gift, of any amount, to any fund counts). An alum's donation is tracked based on place of residence and counts toward the chapter nearest that location (so, a JMU graduate living in Midlothian, Va. counts as a member of the Richmond Chapter).
From July 1, 2013 until May 31, 2014, JMU alumni worldwide will represent their local chapters by making gifts to the university, with prizes — and bragging rights — on the line.
"We've never really done something like this on a national level," said Amanda Leech ('09), Assistant Director in the JMU Office of Alumni Relations. "It's a natural fit that our alumni leaders would be promoting this to their alumni groups. They already are trusted providers of information to alumni in their communities."
Alumni within a 30-mile radius of the 20 participating chapters are included in the Chapter Challenge (that's more than 76,000 JMU alumni!). So, how do you participate? Simple:
1. Check out the JMU Alumni Chapter Challenge online
2. Make a gift to JMU (choose your fund)
3. Check out the monthly standings
4. Tweet about the JMU Alumni Chapter Challenge
The goal, Leech says, is to raise funds for JMU, awareness of philanthropic needs in higher education, and to increase JMU's alumni giving participation. In 2012-13, 8,509 JMU alumni made a donation to Madison — the highest total in the history of the university. A unique element of the Chapter Challenge is there are no target funds; the donor chooses the allocation. There are more than 2,000 destinations to select from, and the freedom to choose where the money goes is something that resonates with alumni, says Kristen Malzone ('07), President of the New York/New Jersey Chapter. Malzone has been using events as a platform to communicate about the Chapter Challenge, raffling off items to donors and playing up the idea of competition.
"Having an opportunity for a donor to select where the money goes has been something I've mentioned whenever I've talked about [the Chapter Challenge]," she said. "And, of course, New Yorkers are pretty competitive."
They are competitive in Richmond, too. Last year, the chapter had one of the highest alumni giving percentages in the country (10.9%).
"The bottom line here is to raise money for JMU, and get more people involved and create a better understanding of why it's important to give back," said Allison Smith ('08), giving chair for the Richmond Chapter. "There's a real buzz here around the competition this creates. And designating where the money goes really resonates with people. It makes their gift unique, knowing it goes back to something they really care about."
Ultimately, Smith said, the Chapter Challenge is designed to help private donations become a major fund source for the university, benefitting scholarships, programs and financial aid.
"JMU can't meet its financial needs on tuition alone," Smith said. "Alumni want to give back. There's an excitement here about how we can improve, because when you give back, it helps the university."
Jonathan Koves ('05) creates Iraqinews.com
By Katie O'Dowd ('07)
How many recent college graduates can say they have established a new Internet site for Iraq? Or run a Web site development and design firm that they launched from their dorm room freshman year? Or that they've worked with Fortune 500 companies and clients from all around the world?
Jonathan Koves ('05) creator of Iraqinews.com
You would be hard-pressed to find a 20-something who has accomplished just one of these endeavors. But entrepreneur Jonathan Koves ('05) has already done it all. He is even a member of American Mensa, which means he scored in the top 2 percent of the population on an IQ test.
As a freshman at JMU, Koves worked from his room in Blue Ridge Hall. While most college students look for a job in retail or on campus, Koves decided to start his own Web site development firm to pay the bills.
"It seemed to be a time when it was a fairly sought-after service," says Koves, who balanced school and work by becoming an "insomniac and a super-senior." He also became a part-time student some semesters so he could devote more time to his company -- his start-up eventually became Koves Technologies LLC.
Koves has also created Iraqinews.com, a Web site that provides streaming news about major developments in the region. Koves has hired Iraqi journalists to provide news coverage from the war-torn country. "We'll provide a way to look at this situation through Iraqi eyes," he explains.
The site operates independently, without financing from other groups, since Koves wants to keep the site "intellectually diverse" and expand the contacts and journalists in Iraq. Koves notes, "The Web site receives a tremendous amount of both hostile and favorable feedback. I want it to be the best news outlet for Iraq."
Carrie Belt ('04), assistant director for Creative Change Center, a pioneering nonprofit creative center in Richmond known as C3, says, "Jonathan is working on developing Iraqinews.com so that it can be the cnn.com of Iraq -- using Iraqi reporters."
One of the top Web design companies
Belt, who says that C3's vision is to improve the quality of life and economic vitality of Richmond through creative collaboration, has worked extensively with Koves Technologies. "Jonathan has one of the top Web design companies in the world," she says, "He created, designed and donated the C3 Web site to our center because we were a start-up nonprofit and didn't have ample funds for a really nice Web site. Koves and his colleagues have experience working with big companies and really get their hands around [a client's] goal. They consulted with us to help us really figure out what we needed."
Koves Technologies specializes in the design and development of innovative Web sites with Macromedia's Flash software. Flash technology allows for higher-quality images and more creativity in Web design.
"Jonathan has revolutionized Web design through his use of Flash," Belt says. "In fact, his Web design frequently gets stolen, and he has to go to great lengths to get it back."
With Marriot International Inc. and General Electric Co. among the company's clientele, Koves Technologies serves an array of businesses and individual patrons. Koves also assists Muslim parties in obtaining Web sites when they cannot do so on their own. Muslims cannot use credit cards to buy Web sites, Belt says.
A reputation for customer service
"One of the hardest things is really trying to manage the workflow from kickoff to delivery for clients," Koves explains. "[The company] tries to make it as seamless as possible and make sure that clients get what they want when they want it. It's always a challenge we try to strive [meet]."
Koves Technologies emphasizes the importance of customer service in a field that has a reputation for not being customer-friendly. His company offers 24-hour customer support. "Customers should always be able to get in touch with a person," Koves says.
One of the main ways the company obtains business is through referrals. "Dealing with people is my favorite part," Koves says. "We form a lot of long-term relationships. It extends far beyond business; it's more than just a customer service relationship."
The company is headquartered in Richmond and has locations in India and Romania. Koves Technologies is currently setting up an additional location in Tempe, Ariz., and is looking into possibly opening up in Europe in the future, ac
Name: Margaret “Maggie” Pilson
Year: Grad student
Major/Concentration: IDLS/Middle Education – Mathematics & Science
What are your expectations for this academic year?
Ideally, I would like to gain as much in-class experience as possible, while also developing a better understanding of different problem-solving techniques that teachers use to address difficult situations in the classroom.
What inspired you to pursue a career in Education?
I immediately knew education was the right fit for me after taking my first course, MMSE 110. This course introduced me to educational concepts and frameworks that allowed me to build a foundation of knowledge and skills. I also began tutoring 6th grade students at Skyline Middle School in math, which allowed me to utilize these concepts and skills in a real-life setting. This was a very rewarding experience, as I was able to see the children make significant progress in such a short amount of time.
Which class would you consider to have made the biggest impact on you as a future educator?
The Diversity of Education (EDUC 310) course I took my freshman year taught me a multitude of important teaching techniques and methodologies, specifically touching on how to make adjustments that meet the needs of students with different learning styles.
What is your teaching philosophy?
Every student has and deserves the right to succeed in the classroom. It’s my responsibility to provide them with the necessary skills that will allow them to open doors and explore new opportunities, becoming well-rounded scholars.
What are your techniques in creating a safe and effective learning environment?
I plan to create a safe and effective learning environment by presenting my students with unique challenges each and every day. This will provoke the students to utilize their problem-solving, decision-making and teamwork skills, all of which are critical for their future academic success. My classroom structure will adhere to a strict respect policy, encouraging the students to express new ideas in a judgment-free environment.
How do you make learning fun?
Hands-on activities and instructional games can both be effective in creating a fun, exciting learning environment that encourages the students to think creatively. Humor can also prove useful in making a learning experience more enjoyable, allowing students to relieve stress and be themselves.
Major/Concentration: IDLS/Elementary Education – Mathematics/Science
What are your expectations for this academic year?
In my last year of undergraduate coursework, I expect this year to provide me with a more substantial amount of experience, both inside the classroom and out in the field. It is critical that I continue to build upon my knowledge of educational theories in frameworks before entering graduate level classes and student teaching.
What inspired you to pursue a career in Education?
My love for children and my passion for educating tomorrow’s future leaders. I want to be able to make a difference for these children, not only in an academic-sense, but also in their personal development.
Which class would you consider to have made the biggest impact on you as a future educator?
Diversity in Elementary Education with Service Learning (ELED 310) has had the biggest impact on me and my progression toward becoming a future educator, as it taught me how to organize my classroom and tailor my management techniques to fit a variety of children from diverse academic and personal backgrounds.
What is your teaching philosophy?
It is my responsibility as an educator to see that every one of my student succeeds. I would define success as a stable development of academic and interpersonal skills, progressing from a lower to a higher level, regardless of their starting point.
What are your techniques in creating a safe and effective learning environment?
The key is to establish a sense of open communication with my students from the very beginning. By maintaining these comfortable channels, relationships can be formed, which will allow me to grasp a better understanding of their personalities, learning behaviors and learning preferences, making for a more effective learning environment.
How do you make learning fun?
After I have been able to gauge my students’ personalities and learning preferences, I am able to make their learning experience more enjoyable by tailoring my curriculum and techniques to draw their interest and maintain their engagement throughout lessons.
Major/Concentration: IDLS/ Mathematics and Science
What are your expectations for this academic year?
Throughout this year, I plan to continue to enhance my knowledge and skills as an educator through a combination of classroom and on-the-job experience. I plan to use this year as a stepping stone in preparing me for graduate level work next year.
What inspired you to pursue a career in Education?
The teachers I had when I was an elementary school student really made a lasting impact that I have managed to keep with me all these years. Their creative style and techniques they used made my learning experience an enjoyable one. I want to be able to give my students in the future the same type of experience.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that teaching should take a student-oriented approach. Teachers should focus on facilitating educational exercises and activities, allowing the children to engage in the actual learning process, or making sense of the material in a way that fits their unique learning behavior or preferences.
What are your techniques in creating a safe and effective learning environment?
I have found that setting a relatively small, yet clear set of rules for the students to follow has been effective in creating a safe and effective learning environment. This allows students to learn in a flexible environment, encouraging them to voice their ideas and opinions. Also, by having a smaller set of rules, the students will not be overwhelmed with worrying about breaking the rules, allowing them to focus more on their studies and development.
How do you make learning fun?
Educational games are extremely effective in facilitating fun lessons. They allow the students to utilize important academic and interpersonal skills, while also showing them that learning doesn’t necessarily have to be “boring.” Educational games allow them to think of learning from a different viewpoint, which could in turn encourage them to pursue extracurricular educational activities in the future.
During President Alger’s inauguration speech, he once again challenged us to “dream big”. When I think about dreams, especially during the spring, I’m reminded of an experience I had with my daughter Sarah, when she was six years old(that was 25 years ago for those keeping score). We went to Purcell Park to fly a kite. After about 30 minutes of trying toget the kite in flight, we finally succeeded. We were lying in the grass, looking up at the kite, and after several minutes ofquiet reflection, young Sarah said, “Dad, when you look at the kite, the blue sky and the white clouds, it fills your mind with dreams.” Hmm … wisdom from the mouth of a child.
We must constantly have dreams, for they propel us into future opportunities, experiences and growth. Dreaming is a perpetual activity that enriches the spirit and adds luster to your life.
We also know that dreams must be acted upon. Otherwise, they are just beautiful images painted by the mind. The action is the hard part. One critical benefit of action, is that this process also helps us refine the dream. Our dreams might take a different shape once we seriously talk about philosophy, resources or logistics. Although the dreams we actually pursue may look differently than the original idea, the process is very important and can still add great value. Oh, many dreams change, especially as we work collaboratively with others. This re-vision process is probably the norm. It is important that our dreams become bigger than we are.
Our dreams are what have enabled us to enjoy the successes we have experienced to date. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes, by Eleanor Roosevelt:
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
Our future depends on YOU!
Thanks for making a difference and touching lives.
Individual attention is key in JMU's Career and Academic Planning and Freshman Advising
By Lee Ward, director of JMU Career and Academic Planning
NACADA Outstanding Adviser
National Academic Advising Association 2013 Outstanding Adviser Carroll Ward is a nursing professor and freshman adviser. She shares more on JMU's approach to freshman advising.
Madison: At JMU, advising is more than helping a student choose a major, it's about helping them plan their future. Explain this philosophy:
Ward: JMU is committed to preparing students to be educated and enlightened citizens, who lead productive and meaningful lives. JMU advising consists of a learning-centered approach to assist students in developing an educationally purposeful college plan and to determine the tools and resources to implement that plan. JMU academic advising enables students to translate this learning into making meaningful decisions about the future and to understand the importance of engaging in their community.
Madison: What are the top two pieces of advice that you tell every freshman, no matter their choice in major?
Ward: Focus on your role as a student. Academics are a priority and you are responsible for your own academic rigor. Purchase a planner and write down all of your assignments, exams, presentations, meetings and social activities. Also, you are ultimately responsible for your decisions and choices, so think about the consequences.
College is not just about which classes to take; it's about a student's whole life. Your college experience is really about one decision—preparing you for your future. And making decisions in concert with one another, not separately as many other universities require.
That's why JMU's career and academic planning team combines the process of academic advising with the process of career development, job search and alumni networking, a distinct rarity for a school as large as JMU. This integrated model provides students with a coherent set of resources and life skills that can help them succeed.
JMU's freshman advising philosophy is incredibly more powerful than just deciding which classes to take.
It's also about the why. Our freshman advisers help students navigate what skills a class may provide them for use in a future career. We show students how to connect interests and skills and student experiences with their futures.
And many alumni help us give detailed career information and advice to our students. Our students learn what kinds of out-of-class experiences best complement their academics—from internships, community service, student organizations, leadership roles and student work experiences.
We want students' academic choices and their out-of-class experience decisions to be meaningful and intentional—meaning that they have value and that they lead to something that's important to the student. That could be the Peace Corps as opposed to a high-powered corporation.
We teach students to prepare themselves to get to where they want to go.
If you could watch our advisers and alumni work with students, you would see a very different kind of interaction than you see at a lot of universities.
Our advising is one-on-one. The National Academic Advising Association has recognized that philosophy by naming one of our freshman advisers, Carroll Ward, as a 2013 Outstanding Adviser.
In July 2013, School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management professor Dr. Michael O’Fallon was named president of the North East North American (NENA) Federation of the International Council of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE).
Since its founding in 1946, the ICHRIE has been a global advocate for improving the quality of hospitality and tourism education in schools and universities around the world. The ICHRIE functions as a networking platform for members to meet and exchange ideas, products, services, and research in areas relevant to education within the hospitality and tourism industry.
After receiving his M.B.A. and a B.A. in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Washington State University, O’Fallon worked as the district manager for two restaurants in Pullman, Wa. and Moscow, Idaho. Later, O’Fallon returned to Washington State University in order to pursue his Ph.D. in Management, which he received in 1997. In August 2006, O’Fallon began working at JMU, bringing with him the experience he gained from being a member of ICHRIE. “I joined ICHRIE when I was in graduate school. My mentor advised that I should attend the 2005 ICHRIE conference as I was on the job market. At the conference, I was able to begin networking with many individuals from various schools. I have been a member ever since—and the knowledge I have gained from the ICHRIE is immeasurable,” he says.
In the ICHRIE, federation presidencies are determined through an election process. As president, O’Fallon’s duties include representing the NENA federation on the ICHRIE Board of Directors, attending various meetings and conferences throughout the year, as well as providing support, leadership, and guidance to ICHRIE members. His term as president ends in July of next year.
As a global nonprofit professional association, the mission of ICHRIE is to unite educators with executives in the industry in order to enhance education by combining disciplinary research with professional experience. For O’Fallon, the ICHRIE is a great opportunity to collaborate with professionals and educators within the industry from around the globe. He describes, “Beyond the great professional development and research opportunities that ICHRIE provides for its members, the networking aspect is invaluable. Over the years, I have met many colleagues that I would never have met if it weren't for ICHRIE. Today, some of my good friends and most trusted colleagues are members of ICHRIE.”
Thanks to the efforts of the ICHRIE members, and Dr. O’Fallon in particular, the quality of education that students are receiving within the hospitality and tourism discipline continues to increase. As president, Dr. O’Fallon is a valuable asset to the ICHRIE and specifically to the School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management here at JMU.
By Jamie Marsh
Originally published in Winter 2011 Madison magazine
Scott Rogers (‘00, ‘02M) and Adina Bailey (‘99M) work on enhancements to their TakeThemAMeal.com website.
Morgan Stone Langley delivered her second child in January, with a 2-year-old waiting at home. Naturally, her best friend Heather’s first thought was, “What can I cook?”
Rather than whipping up a favorite casserole and dropping it off, Heather opted to throw technology into the mix by using TakeThemAMeal.com, a website created by Scott Rogers (’00, ’02M) and Adina Bailey (’99M). In just a few minutes, she customized a sophisticated meal coordination spreadsheet that all of Langley’s family and friends could access online.
Langley was so impressed by TakeThemAMeal.com that she wrote about the website on her blog, telling followers it was “an incredible gift.” She recommends the site for families with members who have had surgery, those with a death in the family or the elderly.
Testimonials like Langley’s are the best kind of advertising for the website.
‘We’re helping people in times of grief and joy. We’ve made something that was once a burden into something easily organized, so people can focus on making meals and helping loved ones.’
— Scott Rogers (’00, ’02M)
More than 25,000 people visit TakeThem AMeal.com each week, and almost all of them find out about the free service via blogs, Facebook and other social media. “One friend telling another is how we’ve grown,” says Rogers. “Word of mouth has been the best advertising.”
Since the site’s 2007 launch more than 250,000 meals have been coordinated, and people living in every state have used the site. Part of the appeal is the site’s simplicity: Participants log on using the recipient’s name and a password. Then, they sign up for a specific day and list what they’re bringing. Meal duplication is no problem, and food allergy information and driving directions are at volunteers’ fingertips.
Rogers never anticipated the site would be so helpful to so many people. “Take ThemAMeal.com was created in response to one particular family’s need,” he says. When a Harrisonburg-area mother of four was faced with a six-month medical issue, her large network of family and friends were eager to help. Adina Bailey (’99M), the mother’s close friend, was quickly overwhelmed by hundreds of people needing to know what the kids liked to eat and what day food was needed. “I asked Scott if we could put the needs online,” recalls Bailey. “I wanted more of my time to be spent with her kids and at the hospital, not on the phone.” Rogers responded with the first version of TakeThemAMeal.com.
Rogers is no stranger to the volunteer spirit. The media arts and design major served as president of the JMU Student Ambassadors and as a student member of the alumni board. He is active in the Harrisonburg Alumni Chapter and currently serves on the JMU Alumni Association Board of Directors.
The momentum of TakeThemAMeal.com has continued to grow since its initial use in Harrisonburg. “Several people from our first group of users wanted to keep using the site,” Rogers says. A church secretary organized a regular meals ministry, and small groups coordinated snack sign-ups. An 80-year-old fan posted, “Great delight in helping take care of lifelong friends.”
“It must have saved hours in phone calls for my friend,” Leah in Florida wrote on her blog after having surgery. “And they didn’t just bring some spaghetti and bread. We’re talking meat, bread, salad, drinks, dessert … the works.” TakeThemAMeal.com has been very useful for Jacqueline Dost of Atlanta, who used the free service after her husband’s cancer diagnosis. She posted on Facebook saying, “It’s a great way to coordinate meals from our friends with a little input from us.”
With the help of user feedback and testimonials, Rogers and Bailey continue to tweak the site for usability. Both founders say they will do whatever it takes to never charge for the service. “We’re helping people in times of grief and joy,” Rogers says. “We’ve made something that was once a burden into something easily organized, so people can focus on making meals and helping loved ones.”
Seasonal Student Issues
There's a seasonal ebb and flow when it comes to student issues. Here are a few things your student may be experiencing this month:
- First year students begin to realize college life is not as perfect as they were expecting it to be
- Diversity issues become very apparent as students begin interacting with others who are very different from them
- Conflicts between friends – both new and old – can occur as students settle into the rhythm of the new academic year
- Feeling behind in class work and wanting more contact with instructors
- Anticipating mid-terms and questioning their abilities
- People start to show their “true selves” – masks start to come off as students begin to feel more comfortable in their surroundings
- Job panic of mid-year graduates as the realization settles in that they will be graduating soon
"I'm SO Behind!"- Addressing that overwhelmed feeling
It’s one of the worst feelings – that you’re behind in your academic work and may never catch up. And many students feel this wash over them at one point or another. The unsuccessful ones sit still and let it drown them, while the successful ones actively reach out for help.
Encourage your student to be one of the latter, by trying some simple, yet effective academic success strategies:
Use Instructors’ Office Hours. Go meet face-to-face with an instructor, explain how you’re struggling and ask for assistance. This helps teachers see that you care and want to do well. Plus, you become more than a face in the crowd this way!
Visit Support Services. Whether it’s visiting the disability support office to address a learning concern, the writing center to get help with a paper or the counseling center to talk about test anxiety, the support is there and ready to help.
Come Up with a Study Plan. Many students are used to studying when they can and may do a lot of their work at the last minute. This won’t fly at college, so it’s important to come up with a study strategy that maps out the week ahead and what needs to get done. Figure intentional chunks of time to study and where to go to make this happen.
Don’t Just Rely on Weekends. It’s easy to put the majority of your academic work off until the weekend. Yet, that rarely works because everyone needs down time to be a successful, healthy student. So, parcel out the work throughout the week and the weekend, giving yourself time to enjoy some non-academic pursuits, too!
Seeking help, adding some intentional structure and being smart with his time can help your student get an academic leg up. Doing this now will help the remainder of the semester not feel so overwhelming.
When Homesickness Strikes
You’re all going through a transition these days, as you get used to your student being in college and he gets used to being there. And a natural part of this transition for some students is going through a bout of homesickness.
Once the initial excitement of the new academic year wears off, it’s pretty common for students to start missing home and the familiarity of their old routine. They may miss friends, family and their “old life,” especially once classes start getting harder and they have to work on social connections.
You can help your student cope with these feelings of homesickness by offering him the following suggestions:
Acknowledge Your Feelings and Worries. Once you’ve identified that what you’re experiencing is homesickness, it can be much easier to address it. Otherwise, you may be wondering what’s happening to you.
Take Advantage of Campus Resources. Residence life staff, counselors, campus ministers, peer educators and others are prepared to help students who are homesick or lonely. Don’t be afraid to tap into them as a resource – that’s why they are here!
Get Involved. If you sit and think about what you’re missing at home, you are also missing what you could be doing on campus. This is a lose-lose proposition! Trying new things and meeting new people is one of the best ways to combat loneliness.
Stay Connected to Friends & Family. Although it’s important to develop some independence, staying connected is a great way to feel supported as you grow during your collegiate journey. We all need old friends – and the promise of new ones, too.
Play to Your Strengths. Find something on campus that allows you to experience your established strengths, like playing on an intramural basketball team, getting creative with a hall council project or singing in the campus choir. Your confidence level – as well as your comfort level – will increase as a result.
When Your Student Needs Something More
How do you know if your student is experiencing a normal bout of homesickness or if she is really struggling in a way that might require some additional support? Here are some signs that could signal that your student is severely homesick:
- He Finds Reasons to Call. If your student starts contacting you much more often than normal, it could mean that he is looking for reasons to talk to you.
- He’s Not Getting Involved. If you aren’t hearing your student talk about co-curricular activities or he keeps giving excuses as to why he isn’t getting involved, he could be holing up in his room and not connecting with his peers.
- He’s Becoming More and More Dependent. Is your student asking you to handle simple tasks that he normally handles on his own or should be handling on his own now that he is in college? It’s one thing for a student to call for some advice or to talk through some possibilities, yet it’s another for a student to ask someone to handle something he should be.
- He Keeps Getting Sick. Sometimes, homesickness can manifest itself in physical symptoms such as headaches, insomnia, nausea or fatigue. If your student is experiencing these symptoms with regularity, it could mean more than poor habits.
- He’s Getting Poor Grades. Severe homesickness can make it really difficult for a student to concentrate on his schoolwork. Talk with your student about his grades, what he is learning in his classes and what he is enjoying about his academic pursuits.
If you believe your student is severely homesick, encourage him to visit the campus counseling center. A professional can help him work through his feelings and get him on the right track.
Most of all, you can help your student by reassuring him that by accepting his life in college, he’s not giving up his life at home. He can have both…it just looks different. Send him some things to remind him of home, make sure he knows you are thinking about him and help him feel confident about the months ahead.
Source: Some information adapted from Helium.com
Honor Make a Difference Day
This year, October 26th is Make a Difference Day. This annual event, held on the fourth Saturday of every October, is a time to embrace difference making. Check out the Make a Difference Day site at www.usaweekend.com/diffday/index.html for ideas and more information.
In the meantime, you can make a difference today! Consider calling or writing your student to tell him the difference he has made in your life. It may sound corny, but we bet you’ll catch your student off guard…and probably make his day!
You can also encourage your student to take a moment to drop a line to the people who’ve made a difference in his life. Chances are, he’s had teachers, coaches, family members or mentors who’ve helped him get to where he is today. Taking stock of where we’ve come from, and those who’ve provided support and direction along the way, is a humbling and meaningful experience. Plus, doing so will make your student feel really good in the process.
When Conflict is Brewing
Confronting peers can be tricky for today’s generation. Yet, as your student and his peers settle into the school year and get more comfortable with one another, it’s likely that some conflicts will occur.
When you get that phone call that a conflict is brewing, you can help your student see the many benefits of confrontation, especially when it’s done well. Consider sharing the following with your student to ensure he is as effective – and comfortable – as possible when confronting his peers:
Care. Reframe your thinking surrounding confrontation to the idea of “carefrontation.” This involves considering the individual’s feelings and role in the situation. It also involves demonstrating a level of care during the confrontation, no matter what the circumstances.
Be Sincere. Remember to be sincere during confrontations. Sincerity can be demonstrated by asking questions that can help you understand where the other person is coming from.
Use “I” Language. Get your point across about how someone’s actions have impacted you by using “I” statements. This takes away the blaming component of a confrontation to make it more of a productive conversation instead.
Keep Anger at Bay. Nothing is accomplished when anger takes over, so try to keep things as civil as possible. Write out the main points before the confrontation in order to get them out. That way, they’re less likely to explode out during the confrontation.
Think Long-Term. In the heat of the moment, it’s sometimes easy to forget that this situation could affect the way that you and the other person interact for the rest of the year. Be respectful and proud of your actions.
Move Ahead. Once the confrontation is over and you and the person have come to a resolution, move forward. Now’s the time to rebuild the relationship, not rehash the conflict time and time again.
Seek Help. If a situation feels out of control, go to a trusted campus professional like a coach, residence life staffer, counselor or advisor for assistance.
It’s our reactions to conflict that often cause the most problems. Encourage your student to try the above tips to address conflict productively and move forward.
Verbal & Non-Verbal Tips When addressing incidents, consider:
- Tone of Voice: Using a calm, soothing tone rather than sarcasm or anger
- Rate of Speech: Speak more slowly so the situation isn’t escalated
- Vocal Inflection: Speak as if you are having a conversation rather than lecturing
- Body, Hands & Face: Keep your body relaxed, arms at your side and a positive look (not a smirk or a scowl) on your face
- Eye Contact: Don't look away, yet don't stare either
Simple Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrations
From September 15-October 15, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Here are some quick and easy ways that you and your student can, too:
Food! Go to a Mexican, Cuban, Spanish or other spicy restaurant when you’re visiting during Family/Parent Weekend.
Coffee! Send some different types of coffee from Hispanic/Latino countries, such as Colombian coffee, café mexicano, shade-grown coffee from Central and South America, and more.
Words! Share a Spanish word of the day when you’re emailing or texting one another – sites like www.spanishdict.com/wordoftheday can help.
Stories! Check out the intriguing stories of people in history, such as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, at www.biography.com/hispanic-heritage/ and share links with one another.
Travel! Talk about study abroad options and how your student can learn more.
Events! There are some great Hispanic Heritage events happening on campus this month, so encourage your student to check them out.
More Food! Encourage your student to try some of the cultural cuisine offered in the dining hall – it’s delicious!
Fun! Send your student a filled piñata that she can use with her friends.
Staying Safe: Decline the Ride if the Driver Isn't Sober
Both designated drivers and those who make smart decisions about not getting in the car of an impaired driver save thousands of lives each year. Unfortunately, many more lives are needlessly lost when people make poor choices.
Help your student have the strength and knowledge to NOT get in the car with a driver under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Thinking ahead may very well help her stay safe when an actual situation occurs.
- Plan ahead by choosing a designated driver whenever you are going to socialize at an event where alcohol is in the mix.
- Collect everyone's car keys at the start of an event so there is no chance that someone will drive under the influence. Give them all to the designated driver to hold for safekeeping.
- Be sure you have the phone numbers for local cab companies and/or bus and shuttle schedules in your phone and wallet. Print them out so you always have them with you.
- Try to avoid a confrontation with the person under the influence. Just be matter-of-fact about your choice to seek alternative transportation.
- If you are hosting a party where people will be under the influence, plan ahead by having everyone stay over for the evening or only allowing them to use public transportation or a designated driver to get home.
- Don’t be afraid to call for help. Under no circumstance should you get in the car with someone under the influence. You can always call a friend or campus police if you need assistance. You’re never a bother!
Remind your student that, no matter what, he should stand firm in his decision not to get in the car of a driver who is under the influence. His life isn’t up for negotiation.
Other Impairments to Safe Driving
Two other impairments can make drivers very dangerous, too. Encourage your student not to ride with someone who is…
- Texting as they drive
Seasonal Student Issues
There's a seasonal ebb and flow when it comes to student issues. Here are a few things your student may be experiencing this month:
- Exploration and acknowledgement of personal values
- Long distance relationship strain
- Feelings of loneliness and homesickness may increase
- A desire to feel connected to campus
- Roommate adjustments
- Experimentation with alcohol and other drugs
- Getting acclimated to a new type of academics
- Figuring out how to get organized and manage their time
- Searching for a sense of belonging
Time Management Strategies for Students
As your student gets in the “school groove” this month, learning to work smartly and efficiently is a key to her success. Consider discussing time management strategies with her, such as the following…
Beware That Stuff Steals Time. It’s so true. When you have too much stuff in your living space, you spend more time looking for things. By doing a “stuff purge,” your student will be better able to get to things quickly while staying more organized.
Decompress Your Mind. A stressed, overactive mind is not as time efficient as a calm, collected one is. So, whether your students uses breathing techniques, exercise or other stress management tools, it’s important to make them a natural part of her everyday life. Not only will her time usage be more efficient, her body will be healthier!
Don’t Over Schedule. There comes a time in some students’ schedules where they just can’t fit anything else in. So, learning to say “no” is important. It’s much better to be realistic than trying to be all things to all people. The latter is bound to disappoint someone and to overwhelm your student.
Use the In-between Times. That 45-minute chunk of time between a class and a meeting can be used wisely instead of wasted. That’s several pages of reading for a class, studying for a quiz or buying a birthday card at the bookstore, writing it and mailing it out (or finding an e-card that’ll serve the same purpose). Those in-between times add up quickly!
Avoid Weekend Reliance. During the busy weekdays it’s easy to say, "I'll get to that over the weekend." However, weekends often get full, plus it’s important for students to give themselves some down time, too. So, encourage your student to try not relying on weekends as his time to get most things done. Instead, he can dose it out over the weekdays, for maximum efficiency.
Random texting, chatting endlessly due to unlimited cell phone minutes, spending hours on video games or Facebook… all are Time Stealers. Ask your student if this is how he wants to be spending his precious free time.
Fire Safety Facts
Fire safety both on and off campus requires vigilance and common sense.
So, what can students do to keep themselves fire safe? Here are some recommendations:
- Respond to every fire alarm quickly and compliantly – you never know when it's the real thing
- Know where the fire exits are – have at least two ways out of each room
- Attend fire safety programs and awareness-building events
- Keep fire doors closed instead of propping them open – these are what keep fire at bay
- Don’t tamper with fire alarms, fire extinguishers or sprinkler systems – they serve a vital purpose
- Follow the “no candles in the residence halls” rule – they often cause fires when burning unattended – and be extra careful if you choose to burn candles off campus
- Know how to use a fire extinguisher – use the PASS system: Pull the pin, Aim low at the base of the fire, Squeeze the lever and Sweep side to side slowly
- Keep an eye on your cooking and stay in the kitchen – unattended pans are the #1 reason for cooking fires
- Don’t allow your laptop to become overheated on your lap – it can start a fire
- If you’re going to smoke, do so outside, never in bed, and consider the risks when you’re drowsy or have been drinking – more people die from smoking-related fires than any other type
- Be alert – alcohol impairment greatly increases your chances of dying in a fire
For these and more tips, head to www.campusfiresafety.org/infobulletins.
The majority of fatal fires happen in off-campus housing. What do many of them have in common?
- Smoke alarms were missing or disabled
- Automatic fire sprinklers were lacking
- Smoking materials were disposed of carelessly
- Alcohol consumption impaired people's judgment
Learning Inside & Outside the Classroom
A great advantage your student has on campus this year is that he can learn both in and out of the classroom. This comprehensive take on learning will help him juggle tasks, get involved on campus and learn in a variety of ways. They include:
Classroom Knowledge. Lecture notes, class discussions, textbooks and projects will help students dig into specific subject matter. Don’t be surprised if your student is excited about anthropology or astronomy next time you talk!
You Can… Ask your student what she’s learning. It’ll be great to hear her excitement, plus by sharing the knowledge with you, it’s helping her clinch it in her own brain even more.
Service Experience. By participating in class-based service learning projects and out-of-class community service initiatives, your student is learning about giving back and engaging with the community.
You Can… Role model community involvement and the value of giving back. Also, talk with your student about the people he’s meeting through his community service.
Campus Leadership. Getting involved with the biology club, student government or the campus radio station can enhance students’ sense of belonging because they really feel a part of something. Plus, they’re learning how to follow, how to lead, how to work with a wide variety of people and how to be part of a team.
You Can… Stay in touch with your student about what her group(s) is up to. Is there a program happening this weekend? Has she been working on a particular project? Ask her about it.
Assisting a Professor. Sometimes students have an opportunity to get involved with a research project. If your student decides to do this, he’ll enhance his classroom learning through practical experience.
You Can… Try to understand the research your student is involved in, even if you feel like it’s “over your head.” By explaining things to you in layperson terms, you’re helping him be in a teaching role.
Your student is surrounded by in and out of class learning opportunities. The combination is unbeatable!
Involvement & Academics Go Hand-in-Hand
Research says that students who get involved on campus will likely do better academically, too. In and out of class involvements complement one another!
Voting While Away at College
When it comes to voter registration and absentee voting, each state has unique laws. The Harvard Institute of Politics offers a comprehensive online resource full of all the state-by-state info college students need to vote by absentee ballot when they’re away at school. It’s available at
JMU also has a voting information web site: www.jmu.edu/vote
Spreading Their Wings
Students need to express their autonomy and spread their wings when they get to school. This doesn’t mean that they’ve stopped needing you – of course not! What it may mean, though, is that your student needs a chance to:
- Make his own mistakes
- Decide how to confront challenges
- Communicate with others when there’s a problem
- Choose how to spend her time
- Take responsibility for his actions
- Struggle a bit
- Learn from experience
Be there to talk things through when your student needs that and to offer support. The actual “doing,” though, is primarily up to her. This independence is one of the main ways that she will learn, grow and develop into a strong adult.
A Healthy Breakfast
Eating a healthy breakfast is a proven way to refuel your body and start the day right. It can also help teens concentrate more effectively, have better problem-solving skills, be more alert and creative, meet daily nutrient requirements and be more physically active, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Here is what forms the core of a healthy breakfast:
Whole Grains. Include whole-grain rolls, bagels, hot or cold whole-grain cereals, low-fat bran muffins, crackers or melba toast.
Low-fat Protein. Include hard-boiled eggs, peanut butter, lean slices of meat and poultry, or fish, such as water-packed tuna or slices of salmon.
Low-fat Dairy. Include skim milk, low-fat yogurt and low-fat cheeses, such as cottage and natural cheeses.
Fruits and Vegetables. Include fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, 100 percent juice beverages without added sugar, or fruit/veggie smoothies.
They suggest choosing one or two options from each category to round out a healthy breakfast. These options are available in campus dining halls – students can get creative with what they mix and match to create good, healthy breakfasts.
Preparing for Family/Parent Weekend
It will soon be time to visit campus for this annual ritual. To make it a calm, positive occasion, here are a few questions to consider and act on ahead of time:
- Where to Sleep? Book a place to sleep, if you’re planning to stay overnight. Hotels, bed and breakfasts, and campgrounds typically book up quickly.
- What to Do? Look through the campus listing of all there is to do that weekend. You may need to make reservations for certain things.
- What Does He/She Want to Do? Check with your student to see what he’d like to do during your visit. He may have certain things he’d like to show you and people he’d like you to meet.
- How to Compromise? Express the types of things you hope to do when on campus, too, so that everyone has some input into how things will go.
- Who Will Come? Determine if siblings and other relatives will be joining you.
- Where and When to Eat? Make meal reservations in town – it’s a busy weekend! See if your student has a favorite joint she’d like to show you or if there’s a restaurant that she’s been itching to try.
- What to Bring? Ask your student if he’d like you to bring anything he needs to school and/or take anything back – that’ll help you plan your vehicle space.
We look forward to having you on campus with us!
Student Issues: The Start of the First Year
- Leaving family and friends if moving away for school
- Worrying about collegiate academics and how they’ll do
- Trying to figure out what to pack
- Figuring out how to get involved on campus
- Wondering how they'll get along with roommates
- Dealing with homesickness and feelings of loneliness
- Being anxious about perceived restrictions of campus policies
- Worrying about money matters
- Finding a sense of belonging in a new place
The Challenges Ahead
When students come to campus, they’ll face an array of good times as well as plentiful challenges. Luckily, campus is full of folks who are here to help, while encouraging your student to accept responsibility for his actions at the same time. Chances are, you’ll hear about some of these challenges as your student is facing them or after the fact. They may include:
- Acclimating to Academics. College classes are different than those your student experienced previously. Professors will expect independent work, showing up for class and academic dedication.
- Figuring Out the Social Scene. Getting to know others, finding a sense of belonging, doing things on weekends that feel right instead of just going along with the crowd… there are many social nuances that your student will be navigating along the way.
- Living with Others. Compromise, letting go of pre-established expectations and learning to communicate effectively will help students establish the necessary rhythms to live with others.
- Navigating Campus. Learning a new place takes awhile, as students determine where they can eat, how to get to their lab, what services the learning center provides and more.
- Being Smart with Free Time. When to study, when to eat, when to sleep and when to hang out with others – these are all decisions in students’ hands now as they parcel out their free time to get important tasks done.
- Forming Their Identity. As students experience new freedoms, people and responsibilities, they’ll also be exploring their own identity: who they are and who they hope to become. This can be one of the biggest - and most worthwhile - challenges of all!
Some information adapted from Skidmore College, http://cms.skidmore.edu/dean-students/parent.cfm
Help Your Student Face Challenges
- Listen well without imposing your own thoughts right away
- Ask what she has done to address an issue so far
- Encourage him to take action on his own, it's a primary way he'll grow and gain confidence
- Talk through scenarios to help her feel more comfortable
- Ask open-ended questions that require answers beyond "yes or no"
- Let him know that you love and support him, that can go a very long way!
Improve Mutual Understanding with Active Listening
Active listening is a skill that you and your student will find quite handy as you navigate the next steps of your relationship this fall. According to the Conflict Research Consortium at the University of Colorado, active listening is "a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding."
Some key elements include:
- Give Your Full Attention. Keep your eyes and focus on the person speaking to you.
- Be in the Moment. Don’t start developing your response while the speaker is still finishing her thoughts.
- Limit Advice. Sometimes people just need to process through things to figure it out on their own, while you listen affirmingly.
- Be Encouraging. Don't agree or disagree, use neutral language and show an interest in what your student is saying.
- Clarify What You're Hearing. This helps your student know you are correctly interpreting his thought process, plus it’ll help you gather more information.
- Reflect Back Feelings. Show your student that you understand how she feels, even if you don't agree. Hearing her feelings expressed by someone else will help her better evaluate their impact.
- Don't Interrupt. Interruptions make it about <<you>> rather than the person you're supposed to be listening to!
- Validate Your Student. Demonstrate how you value his issues and feelings, and show appreciation for his actions with a simple, "I'm really proud of your effort to...
- Summarize the Conversation. Restate major ideas and themes expressed, including feelings, to pull everything together. Then you can ask, "What do you want to do next?"
It may take awhile to get into the rhythm of communicating with your college student at this new stage of your relationship. Active listening is one of the keys to success. Here's to a year of good listening and communication!
Barriers to Effective Listening
Think about the following common barriers. Do any of them get in the way of a better connection with your student?
- Mind Reading: Paying little attention to words, and instead imagining meaning
- Comparing: Thinking about who is better, smarter, funnier, etc.
- Rehearsing: Focusing your attention on what you will say next, rather than on what is being said
- Filtering: Listening to some things, but not others
- Judging: Prejudging before you hear what someone has to say
- Dreaming: Half-listening and drifting into your own thoughts
- Identifying: Relating everything you hear back to your own experience
- Advising: Hearing only a few sentences and then giving advice
- Sparring: Arguing and debating every point
- Being Right: Going to any length to avoid being wrong
- Derailing: Suddenly changing the subject
Student Issues: I'm Leaving in a Few Short Weeks!
It's likely hitting your student now... s/he's heading to college in a few weeks. With that revelation will likely come some excitement and some anxiety regarding topics such as:
- Will people like me?
- Will I find friends as good as the ones I have here at home?
- How can I reinvent myself?
- Will I be able to handle college academics?
- How will I find my way around campus?
- Who will I turn to if I’m struggling?
- Will I still be as connected to my family/friends?
- What if I don’t get along with my roommate?
- Will people make fun of how I talk/dress/act?
- What's it going to be like sharing a bathroom with other students?
- How will I fit all my stuff into that campus room?
- How will I get involved?
- Will my diversity make me a target?
- Will I find a place to belong here?
Help your student address these concerns. And, if you're not sure about an answer, we're here on campus to help both you and your student!
Cars on Campus: Making a Decision
Having a car on campus is very important to some students, while others don't see the need. Everyone's family circumstances differ. If you are exploring the possibility of your student having a car on campus, consider the following pros and cons:
- Increases student's ability to get to an off-campus job or internship
- Student is able to travel home more frequently and easily
- Going into town to buy supplies or groceries is less of a hassle
- Student can get away from campus to study or take a break
- Opportunities to get involved in the community become more accessible
- Students with cars are often pressured by students who don't have cars to drive them places or loan out their car
- The availability of parking
- Cost of gas remains high
- Student may travel home too frequently and lose out on campus experiences
- Costs associated with car upkeep, including oil changes and maintenance, can eat into student’s meager funds
- College students are often considered "higher risk" drivers, therefore insurance rates may increase and strict regulations may be placed on them as drivers
If the possibility exists for your student to have a car on campus, consider this pro and con list carefully. Many, many students go through their college years without a car on campus. So much is accessible by walking or public transportation. Not having access to a car can help them learn to solve problems creatively in ways they never would have otherwise.
Staying Safe on Campus: 25 Tips
Safety is a number one concern on campus. Here are 25 tips to help students keep themselves and their community safe.
- Make it tough for someone to take you by surprise – don't wear ear buds or headphones when walking, running or studying alone.
- Head toward crowds, lights and buildings if you're being followed.
- Don't walk alone, especially after dark. Call the campus escort system or walk with friends. Stay on populated, well-lit paths.
- If someone is stalking you, report it immediately so action may be taken to keep you safe.
- Don't engage an unknown caller in conversation or give away any personal details. Keep track of when calls are made and what is said. Save voicemail messages, too. Turn everything over to staff members who can help.
- Report a lost room key/card to the appropriate staff immediately! Someone can use it to gain entrance to your room, apartment or car to hurt you or your belongings.
- Always lock your door, especially when you're inside sleeping or when you go out.
- Don't let strangers into your room. Look through a peephole, ask for ID or meet them in the hallway.
- Don't post notes on your memo board, Facebook or voicemail, saying where you are or providing personal info.
- Don't keep valuables or cash in plain sight. And don't have too many valuables or too much cash there with you in the first place!
- Don't give our your room key/card.
- Install a safety lock or tracker on your laptop.
- Don't leave your bag unattended. Use a locker or carry it around with you at all times.
- Keep your blinds pulled at night and when you're out so potential thieves can't see what's “available” to them.
- If there's a campus engraving program, register your big-ticket items like laptops, TVs, DVRs, bikes and more.
- Have your car key in hand, ready to put in the lock, as you're walking toward your car.
- Look in the backseat before entering the car to make sure no one is hiding back there.
- Always keep your car locked, whether you're in it or not.
- Try not to sit in your car in the parking lot, talking on the phone. If you do, lock the doors so no one can take you by surprise.
- If you have to work in an isolated lab, practice room or study lounge, tell someone or ask someone to come with you.
- Don't be alone with someone you just met.
- Clearly communicate your intentions: say No and mean it.
- Keep a level head. Alcohol or other drugs compromise your safety by lowering inhibitions and clouding your judgment.
- If you go somewhere with friends, make sure that everyone is accounted for before leaving.
- Trust your gut, your instincts say a lot.
Going Beyond the Comfort Zone
While it's good for students to tap into their strengths and talents at times, it's also a smart, brave thing for them to challenge themselves to go outside of their comfort zone. This can happen in little and small ways, especially at the beginning of an academic year. Here are some examples you can share with your student to help him extend himself beyond where he's most comfortable.
Comfort: Spending time with people who are interested in and involved in the same things that you are.
Challenge: Spending time with someone who has very different interests and involvements than you do.
Comfort: Talking about sports.
Challenge: Talking about music, dance or any of the other arts.
Comfort: Sitting back at meetings and taking things in.
Challenge: Forcing yourself to speak up and express your opinion on something.
It's those times when students feel uncomfortable and uncertain that they know they are likely growing and learning! Plus, now is the time for students to stretch beyond their comfort zone in preparation for working in a diverse work zone once they graduate. So, challenge your student to go beyond her comfort zone. In addition to being a better college student, she'll discover new things about herself in the process.
Your Student's Values
When students head to college, their values will be tested. Decisions about a variety of things, from alcohol to intimacy to how to spend their time, will come up daily. That's why talking about values now and throughout the term can help them feel more comfortable with their decision-making.
Ask them to consider their values on the following topics:
- Academic integrity
- How to treat others
- Ways to spend time
- Family connections
- Financial matters
- Attending religious services
- Health and wellness
- Alcohol and other drugs
You may have other items to add to the list, too. Students won't always share their values about everything with you, yet if you can help them start thinking about what they might face at college through a values filter, they'll be better prepared to make healthy, good decisions.
The Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) student chapter at JMU has done it again. Recently, the National Office of AITP honored the JMU AITP student chapter with the Student Chapter Outstanding Performance Award (SCOPA) for the third year in a row. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the students involved in AITP, our student chapter is now a finalist for the District 18 Outstanding Student Chapter Award. If successful in District competition, the members of AITP will be able to compete for the National Outstanding Student Chapter Award.
AITP is an organization focused on empowering Information Technology professionals by providing educational programs, leadership development opportunities, networking, and peer mentoring. Members of the AITP student chapter at JMU are exposed to the best consulting and IT related firms in the industry. Student Chapter Vice President John Parsons describes, “Thanks to AITP, we offer our members unparalleled networking opportunities since we have built strong relationships with recruiters from some of the top-tier, nationally recognized IT firms. “
Receiving the SCOPA is no easy venture. Each year, our AITP student chapter sets goals based on the particular requirements of SCOPA: providing education expertise to members and networking opportunities, maintaining a regular membership base, creating involvement within the organization and the community, and finally participating at a national level. Student Chapter Conference Chair Manahil Malik explains, “We spend months preparing for the National Collegiate Conference where we compete in IT competitions and attend networking events in order to improve our presence in the CIS community nationwide.”
Student Chapter President Hailey Fleming explains that preparation is not the only characteristic that accounts for the chapter’s achievements. She says, ”The success of our chapter not only results from the highly dedicated and motivated student members, but also because of our skilled and devoted faculty advisors. Dr. Dillon, Dr. Kruck, and Dr. Jewett help us forge connections with some of the best IT consulting firms in the nation. They are always there for us. Ultimately we are successful because of the people involved in our chapter—we all bring value to the organization.”
The faculty advisors who help facilitate the AITP student chapter are extremely pleased with their AITP advisees. “In the past four years, we have had some of the best student leaders in our CIS program take AITP to the next level, “ says faculty advisor Susan Kruck. “Our members are creative, professional, and dedicated to making AITP a great organization. There is stiff competition for the SCOPA award, and we are very proud of all they have accomplished.”
And while awards are tangible proof of organizational success, President Hailey Fleming describes that the value of AITP is about much more than awards. “AITP has given me so many opportunities,” she says. “One of the best aspects about our organization is that we are able to share knowledge and experience with each other in a team-oriented space. It is a good feeling to collaborate and share recipes for success with others; it is the JMU way.”
Amanda Kuhnley ('11) likes a good challenge — that's why she chose JMU
By Jamie Marsh
From Fall 2010 "Madison" magazine
Amanda Kuhnley ('11) enjoys merging her art history and integrated science and technology majors in JMU's "collaborative academic environment."
Amanda Kuhnley ('11) likes a good challenge — or four. This honors student and Dingledine Scholarship recipient has two majors — integrated science and technology, and art history — as well as two minors — studio art and classical studies — and a monster senior thesis that will meld all of these interests into one incredible project.
"Make my own challenges"
"This is why I chose JMU," she says, "because I wanted a challenge." Yet JMU was the furthest thing from her mind as a high-school senior. Kuhnley had been accepted at an older elite college, but her theater director at Bishop Sullivan Catholic High in Virginia Beach kept raving about JMU, his alma mater. "He completely transformed my outlook," Kuhnley says.
It was during her campus visit that she fell in love with the people she met and realized she would "never be a number" at JMU. "My choice was to go to [another school], where I would fall into their tradition with the pressure of hundreds of years of scholars bearing down upon my shoulders, or go to JMU where I could be part of an innovative and inspiring family and make my own challenges."
JMU offers a different approach to science
Before arriving as a freshman, she declared both art history and integrated science and technology as majors, even though she considered science her worst subject. She was attracted to JMU's "different approach" to science — a broader, more collaborative environment with lots of teamwork and hands-on learning. "The professors in the College of Integrated Science and Technology promised a chance to participate in undergraduate research. That was vital in my choice," she says. "At JMU, it's not totally about the grade; the ability to think critically and to show compassion to others is a large measure of success."
At first, because art and science didn't seem terribly related, she got "some push-back" from academic advisers. Now four years later, she is merging these fields not only to help her JMU professors but also to help future students. Each Friday, she interns in the Madison Art Collection identifying potentially fake items. If Kathryn Stevens, director of the Madison Art Collection, questions a piece, she has Kuhnley's unique expertise in materials analysis. Last semester when Stevens doubted a Babylonian cylinder seal in the collection, Kuhnley quickly verified it was not Babylonian at all after using a giant scanning electron microscope in ISAT to search for traces of lapis lazuli rock. Kuhnley believes this crossing of traditional boundaries makes her an "anti-specialist." "I want to be the person in the middle who can communicate with the scientists and the artists and the historians," she explains. This summer, she did just that while spending a month in Malta as part of an ISAT Study Abroad program. Trip adviser Paul Goodall says all 29 students on the trip completed an independent project specially designed for them. "With Amanda, we set up something where she could merge her ISAT and art history majors. The Island of Malta is in the middle of the Mediterranean, and it's been a hub for trade and pirate activity for centuries. It has lots of artifacts and art that can be analyzed and evaluated to determine their age and the identity of the culture involved in creating them. This is the kind of work Amanda hopes to pursue after graduation."
Carved out a specific interdisciplinary path
As soon as she returned this summer, Kuhnley embarked on her ultimate test — a senior thesis project that involved collaborating with German colleagues, building all of the lab experiments for ISAT's new engineering course and teaching the labs to other JMU students.
"Amanda is a perfect example of a student carving out exactly what she needs from JMU to pursue a very specific interdisciplinary career path," explains her thesis adviser ISAT professor Ron Kander. Kuhnley acknowledges the project will be intense in part because she'll be graded both on the written part and her teaching abilities.
It is extremely rare for undergraduate students to co-teach courses or serve as teaching assistants at JMU, but Kuhnley has had practice thanks to Calculus professor Paul Goodall. "I stood in front of my peers and answered questions at the chalkboard," Kuhnley says. "My leadership skills and confidence grew tremendously, and I think I was able to really help several people." Goodall concurs and adds that, "Amanda is almost too good to be true. She runs extra help sessions each Friday afternoon and she looks for every opportunity to give back. For example, normally we check over the entire homework assignment for answers and then maybe give detailed feedback on three or four problems. Amanda tries to grade every problem to help students learn more." And her extra effort paid off. When students were asked to evaluate their experience in freshman calculus, Kuhnley got the highest score. Goodall says with a chuckle: "She even scored higher than me, the professor!"
In addition to questions about calculus, her peers sometimes ask Kuhnley how she gets it all done. "I have really good time management skills and a lot of drive and ambition. Last semester, I had classes from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. but they were all completely different, so I stayed interested. I live on campus to be close to professors and other students, and I try to never turn down an opportunity."
Never turn down an opportunity
Her life outside of academia includes intramural softball, dance classes at the University Recreation Center, a private reading club led by her freshman English professor and attending JMU Theater II performances. She also volunteers for Make Your Mark on Madison — a student leadership program that pairs freshmen with junior and senior mentors. In the JMU Honors Program, Kuhnley is helping create another mentoring program that will begin in 2011.
Kuhnley is grateful to professors like Kander and Goodall because "they've experienced life and now they want to teach me about it." Her advice to new JMU students: "Take advantage of the small-school feel. Form relationships with your professors and then work hard to match their efforts. … I want my professors to know that because of them, I love JMU."
Creating a brighter future
Amanda Kuhnley ('11) chose JMU for the challenges it offered. It's one of the many reasons students love Madison — rigorous academics; one-on-one relationships with top professors; majors, minors and concentrations that cross disciplines and acdemic interests; community service that enhances academic knowledge; and an interesting mix of intramural and social student activities and organizations.
Giving students like Kuhnley the opportunity to choose a Madison Experience uniquely their own — an experience that helps JMU students find their way to Be the Change — is the foundation of JMU donors' generosity. After all, giving to scholarships provides a chance to build a brighter future by investing in the people who will shape it.
In preparing for its accreditation, JMU recently adopted a campuswide initiative to teach and assess ethical reasoning. Of course, JMU is not the first to recognize the importance of ethics. Popular business consultant and motivational speaker Randy Pennington undertook a mission to develop a statement of personal integrity and a set of principles to guide corporate managers and elected officials in practicing ethical leadership. After extensive research he found that not only had such statements and principles been articulated over a century ago, but they have been field tested over 150 million times. In his book, “On My Honor, I Will: The Journey to Integrity-Driven Leadership,” Pennington explains that the foundational aspects of integrity and leadership are superbly expressed in the Boy Scout Oath and Girl Scout Promise, together with the set of laws each scout pledges to embody. Pennington’s discovery comes as little surprise for members of my family.
The Generations of Copley Scouts
Every generation of the Copley family born after the founding of Boy Scouts (1910) or Girl Scouts (1912) has been involved in scouting. My father first became a scoutmaster at the age of 17. My mother was a den leader for the Cub Scouts while also serving as the leader for a Girl Scout Troop. She became a vice president of the Virginia Skyline Council and is a recipient of the Girl Scout “Thanks Award,” the highest recognition given to a volunteer. My sister served as a Girl Scout Leader, taking several trips to Europe with the scouts. More recently my brother retired early from PricewaterhouseCoopers to accept an unpaid position with the Boy Scouts in the Dallas area. He is one of three executives running a council with 50,000 youth and 15,000 adult volunteers.
My wife, Nancy, is the perfect addition to our family. She had been a Girl Scout and was an avid backpacker and naturalist. While attending Lynchburg College, she led Girl Scouts on backpacking trips through nearby segments of the Appalachian Trail.
When we started a family of our own, the kids joined Cub Scouts and Brownies as soon as they were old enough. I served as Den Leader for our son and Nancy as Troop Leader for our daughter. When boys reach the age of 11, they transition from Cub Scouts to a Boy Scout troop. Our den consisted of 21 boys, very large by Cub Scout standards. There was no troop in our community capable of taking 21 new scouts and the only solution was to start a new troop.
At the time, I was serving as director of the University of Georgia’s School of Accounting. Although I had a lot of responsibilities, I felt I had to serve as scoutmaster of the new troop. I explained to the boys that we would do things they would remember the rest of their lives. I was true to my promise. In my years as scoutmaster, we slept in caves and aircraft carriers, camped on a private island, canoed the Okeefenokee Swamp, toured a nuclear reactor, and collected fossils in a gypsum quarry. Although on average only 4 percent of Boy Scouts attain the rank of Eagle Scout, 14 of those original 21 scouts in the troop reached that goal.
The Copley Scouts Move to Harrisonburg
In 2004 when I accepted the offer to serve as director of the School of Accounting at JMU, I knew I wanted our family to continue to be involved with scouting. Luckily, my son was given the opportunity to interview for a counselor position at a Boy Scout Camp in Augusta. He got the job and worked six summers in the Nature Center.
With our son’s continued involvement in scouting secured, we next sought to make contact with the local Girl Scouts. This happened immediately upon arriving in Harrisonburg. We learned that our new house had previously been the meeting place of a Brownie Troop. The owner was moving to Pennsylvania and eager to provide for continuation of the troop. Before I knew what happened, we had a new house and a new scout troop. I joke that the list of things to check out when buying a home includes: has the home ever had termites, radon gas, or Girl Scouts.
With our arrival in Harrisonburg, my scouting involvement turned almost entirely to a supporting role for my wife in Girl Scouting. Nancy became the primary leader for the Brownie Troop we inherited with our house. She also served as an assistant leader for a troop of older girls, including our daughter. However her biggest job was as program director for the service unit. Girl Scouting differs from Boy Scouting in that troops are organized by age, with the result that Girl Scout troops are typically smaller and rely on the service unit for many activities. Service units (aligned with high school districts) organize monthly multi-troop events such as camporees, lock-ins and father-daughter dances. Nancy plans several of these a year with the largest being a week-long summer camp serving 130 girls. I am proud to be a registered Girl Scout, enjoy my role, and don’t mind being known as “Mr. Nancy” by many of the girls in Rockingham County.
Go for the Gold, Fly like an Eagle
The Brownies that we inherited are now high school juniors and seniors. They serve as junior leaders in service unit events (especially summer camp), but most of their efforts are directed toward earning their Gold Awards. The Girl Scout Gold Award, like the Eagle Scout, is the result of a long process of advancement, culminating in a significant service project. The girl must identify, research, plan, and execute a service activity for their community. Like a dissertation, the proposal must be approved and the final write-up defended. These accomplishments are so significant that I advise students that the Gold and Eagle Scout awards are lifetime items for their resumes.Credible academic evidence of the success of these programs in instilling Scouting’s principles may be found in a 2010 study conducted by Baylor University and the Gallup Organization. Eagle Scouts were found to have a greater connection to family, community, and co-workers. Additionally, they are committed to setting personal and professional goals and have built character traits related to work ethics, morality, tolerance, and respect for diversity. The mission of JMU’s Ethical Reasoning Collaborative is to prepare enlightened citizens who apply ethical reasoning in their personal, professional, and civic lives. I hope that this campuswide initiative is as successful as scouting in attaining this goal.
By Sara Riddle (’10)
Since graduating, Carrie Owen Plietz (’97) has been bettering the lives of patients. From developing skilled nursing facilities to supervising the development of a full electronic health record system, Plietz has helped raise patient satisfaction for thousands.
Plietz’s hard work and care for others was honored this year as the American College of Healthcare Executives named her the 2010 Young Healthcare Executive of the Year and presented her with the Robert S. Hudgens Memorial Award. The annual award is presented to an exceptional healthcare executive who is under 40 years old and who is the chief executive officer of a health services organization.
“It’s amazing and very humbling,” says Plietz, who received the award at the annual ACHE conference in Chicago. “Our profession is blessed with many talented individuals. To be acknowledged in such a way by my national organization, one that I respect tremendously, is just thrilling.”
As chief operating officer of the Mills-Peninsula Health Services/Sutter Health System in Burlingame, Calif., Plietz has been responsible for several major initiatives, including implementation of Sutter Health’s first acute care electronic health record system. She was the driving force behind a major “patient affordability” initiative that helped lower costs and improve patient satisfaction. Plietz brought in a team of caregivers to listen to the “voice of patients” through satisfaction survey results, letters and family comments.
Prior to her current position, Plietz served as chief administrative officer and vice president of operations for specialty services at Sutter Health’s California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. There, she developed new centers for cancer, cardiac and endoscopy treatment, achieved a 96th percentile patient satisfaction score, and developed a regional referral network for transplant services, including a Vietnam collaborative for liver transplantation.
Plietz credits much of her success to JMU’s health science faculty. “My professors taught real-life scenarios, which is extremely important in healthcare’s ever changing environment. JMU was where I first learned about and joined the student chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives.”
Plietz serves as president of the ACHE chapter for the California Association of Healthcare Leaders and serves on the ACHE Early Careerist Committee, and the Northern and Central California Regents Advisory Council. “I’m a volunteer board member for the Women’s Community Clinic, which provides free primary and reproductive care to uninsured or underinsured women,” she says.
As one of the most promising young healthcare executives in the country, Plietz dedicates herself to “guiding aspiring executives, improving the care of patients and providing healthcare services to those who need it most.”
Plietz is married to Jasen Plietz (’97), who graduated with a business degree with a concentration in computer science. He works on software development in the Bay Area, having worked in Silicon Valley on major projects such as the entire infrastructure for the California Paid Family Leave Act. The two welcomed their first child in April.
This past summer, senior Melissa Kniceley took a leap of faith—and landed hundreds of miles from home in Boston, Mass.
At a sports conference last April in Charlotte, N. C., Melissa met JMU alumnus Justin Kittredge, the only other Duke at the conference. Thanks to this chance meeting, Justin eventually offered Melissa a summer internship at his two companies—Shooting Touch and ISlideUSA.
As a Marketing and Sports and Recreation Management double major, Melissa felt this internship was the opportunity of a lifetime, so she threw her anxieties to the wind, packed up, and moved to Boston for the summer.
One of the companies, Shooting Touch, is a nonprofit that aims to elevate young adults through the power of basketball. Each year, Shooting Touch hosts a sport conference that helps raise money to fund international trips to third world countries so that representatives from Shooting Touch can use basketball as a catalyst for enhancing the lives of young people from all over the world. For this company, Melissa was responsible for inviting representatives from universities across the country to attend the sports conference in order to garner support and awareness of Shooting Touch.
The other company, a startup footwear company called ISlideUSA, markets and sells customizable athletic sandals. For ISlideUSA, Melissa was responsible for marketing the footwear and cultivating the brand identity.
Experiences in the College of Business prepared Melissa for balancing the responsibilities of working for two companies at once. She says, “Taking COB 300 gave me a basic knowledge of the subjects inherent to running a company successfully. It was extremely relevant to my internship with ISlideUSA specifically because I was able to come into the internship with a basic knowledge of operations, marketing, management, and finance. Having that knowledge really helped me make smarter decisions in both of my internship positions—regardless of the struggle and stress that results from COB 300, I felt prepared because of it.”
Thanks to these internships, Melissa is confident that she knows the field she wants to enter when she graduates in May. “My internships helped me determine my future career path,” she says. “Had I not worked for Shooting Touch or ISlideUSA, I might not have gained this experience or realized that I want to work with merchandising for the athletic apparel industry.”
The internship proved valuable in other less expected ways as well. Melissa explains, “I definitely grew professionally, but I also grew as a person. At first, I was uneasy about leaving my comfort zone and moving so far away from home—looking back, I would never change my decision. I am so glad that I did it. “
To learn more about the companies Melissa interned at, view the following links:
Adapted Sports Day gave participants a chance to play sports and experience college life.
Clinics in the adapted sports of power soccer, Paralympic soccer, and Kinball soccer were held during the recent Adapted Sports Day, at University Park.
Adapted Sports Day was a free event geared toward middle school and high school students with physical disabilities encouraging the idea that anything is possible, from involvement in sports to attaining a college education. Adapted Sports Day was actually a two-day event, thanks to a partnership with JMU Athletics.
On Friday, Sept. 27, the students had a meet-and-greet opportunity before the JMU men's soccer match, and then watched the match. During halftime, the Adapted Sports Day participants were featured on the field with a demonstration to show fans that sport is possible for people of all abilities.
On Saturday, Sept. 28, participants took part in soccer activities and had the chance to experience life as a college student during the all-day event. Power soccer was highlighted for participants who use power wheelchairs, as well as Paralympic soccer for participants who are ambulatory and walk independently or use walking aids. Additionally, Kinball soccer was featured, which is a game created for participants who use manual wheelchairs.
Participants enjoyed lunch at East Campus Dining Hall, then returned to University Park for soccer matches. The day concluded at 3 p.m. with participants having the opportunity to speak with professors, students, a FROG orientation leader, and representatives from the Office of Disability Services.
Adapted Sports Day was made possible through an Innovative Diversity Efforts Award IDEA) diversity grant from President Alger’s office. Dr. Joshua Pate (School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management) and Dr. Thomas Moran (Department of Kinesiology) collaborated to submit a proposal for the IDEA grant and were awarded funding to host a fall Adapted Sports Day and a spring Adapted Sports Day.
Dr. Pate explains, "Adapted Sports Day has two goals: (1) to show middle school and high school students with physical disabilities that college is an option, and more specifically JMU is an option for them to pursue higher education; and (2) to show that sport is an option. Sport and physical activity are powerful tools that empower individuals, and that has been proven in some of the most remote places around the world.
“Previous research has shown that physical activity enhances confidence and ability among individuals with disabilities. We hope to use adapted soccer to empower youth in making critical decisions for their future — whether it be attaining a college education or becoming more active in sport. And we can do that here on the campus of JMU. We hope that Adapted Sports Day will promote JMU as a college option for these individuals, but more holistically promote that they have choices in how their future goals can be attained."
He went on to say, "This event was a wonderful product of collaboration across disciplines and across campus. We had professors from sport management and from kinesiology. We had JMU student volunteers from those respective programs, as well as from other programs across campus. Students from the University of Maryland came down to volunteer and gain experience at the event. The Office of Disability Services was on site to speak with participants and their families. JMU Athletics was in full support of the event and offered its services to promote the event during the men's soccer match. And UREC committed its full support of the event through providing use of University Park as a host facility and pledging to work together in the future. Bringing individuals and departments together for this event can only benefit JMU and the participants who were on campus for the event."
A teacher’s first year can often be the most difficult; combine that with teaching overseas, and the prospect can seem daunting. After spending her spring break volunteering at a school in Jamaica, College of Education (CoE) alumni Caitlin Munson (’10) knew she was up for a challenge. Munson realized how difficult it would be to teach in a foreign country, but also recognized the opportunity it offered, allowing her to combine two of the things that she was most passionate about: teaching and traveling.
Munson began searching for teaching opportunities in Japan until the Tsunami hit, ultimately re-directing her search efforts. While working a temporary office job, one of her coworkers agreed to pass along her resume to a connection he had in Italy.
“I had always planned on going back to Italy one day, so I knew that this would be a great opportunity for me,” said Munson. “My contact happened to be the director of the school. I had two interviews and was then offered the job.”
In just her second year of teaching second grade at the American School of Milan, Munson has continued to embrace this once in a lifetime opportunity, teaching students from a variety of different cultural backgrounds. After traveling to seven different countries, including Switzerland, France, Czech Republic, Germany, England, Hungary and Ireland, Munson has gained considerable experience in adapting to and learning about cultural norms.
“This job is incredibly rewarding,” she admitted. “The students that attend my school are from over 50 different countries, which has allowed me to gain a better grasp of how to incorporate lessons on culture and diversity into classroom instruction.”
Munson attributes the success she has experienced thus far to her CoE undergraduate and master’s Elementary Education program, offering courses that have provided her with the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to be a well-rounded educator.
“The literacy courses I took at JMU were very helpful in making this transition,” said Munson. “Literacy is extremely important, especially at my school where some students are learning two languages. These courses taught me innovative techniques and approaches that I have used to overcome language barriers.”Aside from the language barriers, Munson noted that the most challenging part about teaching abroad is the distance from home.“It’s natural to feel homesick, especially when you start to begin new chapters in life,” she explained. “Knowing that I can’t jump in my car and drive back home to New York like I did at JMU was hard. Luckily, those moments are rare, as I often remind myself how incredibly lucky I am to be living my dream.”
With one more year left on her contract, Munson will be faced with the decision to either stay and continue teaching or move on.
“Ideally, I would only want to spend about five more years abroad max. But if the opportunity presents itself to teach in a different country next year, something tells me the journey will continue.”
Participants in the "Remembering Newtown" discussion had the chance to review historic photographs such as this one of the M & S Restaurant, North Main Street, from 1962 (photograph courtesy of Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority)
Community conversation continues in "Remembering Place" series
"Remembering Downtown," the second in a series of community conversations sponsored by JMuse Cafe, will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9 at the Memorial Hall Forum.
Established by James Madison University Libraries in fall 2011, JMuse Cafe is an informal and lively forum for students, faculty, staff and the Harrisonburg community to come together and explore topics of public interest.
Review of "Remembering Newtown" Highlights
Held on Sept. 19 at the Lucy Simms center, "Remembering Newtown" welcomed more than 200 participants from various parts of the Harrisonburg community who came to share their experiences and thoughts on this part of the city's history.
Leading the discussion was Dr. David Ehrenpreis, director of the Institute for Visual Studies and co-planner of the series, as well as a panel of local community leaders and residents. Panelists included Harrisonburg City Council member Charlie Chenault, President of the Northeast Neighborhood Association of Harrisonburg Karen Thomas, Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority Executive Director Michael Wong, and Harrisonburg residents Sarah Sampson and Doris Allen.
To accompany the conversation, the event also featured a series of photographs that captured various buildings and aerial views of the Newtown community. Held by the Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority for the past 50 years, this album was taken for value assessment purposes prior to an urban renewal project that led to the leveling of the area.
After an informative talk about the history of Newtown led by Ehrenpreis and personal accounts given by each of the panelists, attendees of the event broke out into what proved to be very lively small group discussions.
For some community members, the conversation was a time to reflect on childhood memories, remembering certain buildings and landmarks that have since disappeared. For others, like Mark Lane, Ebooks Coordinator for JMU Libraries, it was an educational experience, marking a point in history that residents and developers of modern day Harrisonburg can learn from.
"The round table discussions were very lively but respectful, positive and engaging," said Lane. "All throughout the evening the JMuse structure encouraged participants to share names, share stories, share ideas and visions. JMuse is taking very seriously President Alger's charge for JMU to be an engaged university."
Video footage of "Remembering Newtown" is now available on JMU's video channel.
Sponsored by a partnership of civic and educational groups, JMuse's "Remembering Place" is a series of discussions and events focusing on helping citizens consider how to honor Harrisonburg's past, while helping to shape its present and future.
"Remembering Downtown," follows the success and high turnout for the inaugural discussion in the "Remembering Place" public dialogue series. The first discussion, "Remembering Newtown," focused on the history of Harrisonburg's development, particularly that of Newtown, an area that, until the 1960's, served as the heart of the city's African-American community.
Focus shifts to Harrisonburg Downtown
The next of these discussions, "Remembering Downtown," will continue the conversation about place and community from the first event, shifting focus to the spaces and places that once stood in Harrisonburg's downtown, in and around Court Square. Some of the places to be mentioned include the Virginia Theater, Kavanaugh Hotel, the Municipal Building and the Purcell Home on Elizabeth and Federal Streets.
Panelists will include Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance Executive Director Eddie Bumbaugh, Virginia Department of Historic Resources Public Relations and Publications Manager Randy Jones, Remembering Downtown Harrisonburg contributor Rhonda Lentz, and Harrisonburg Community Development and Planning representative Donna Rhodes.
"Creating Our Town," Oct. 30
The third discussion in the series, "Creating Our Town," will focus on the future development of Harrisonburg, and will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 30, in the Memorial Hall Forum as well.
The fall events will culminate in "Poetry and Place," an evening of poetry and discussion about place, how we define it and how it defines us. Community members, students, and faculty will come together and share their work. This final event will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at Rose Library.
For more information on the upcoming event, visit the JMuse Cafe website.
By Rosemary Girard (’15) and Janet Smith (’81)
Constitutional law expert Dr. A.E. Dick Howard took a James Madison University audience around the world on Constitution Day 2013 to illustrate the influence of America’s foundational document on the crafting of national constitutions of many European countries, the Philippines and Japan.
Howard presented “James Madison’s Long Shadow: What Have Other Nations Gleaned from the American Constitutional Experience?” on Sept. 17, the 226th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution’s signing. His lecture was the inaugural presentation in the Madison Vision Series: Contemporary Issues in an Engaged Society. JMU President Jonathan Alger described the series as “a new tradition” at JMU, one that further encourages the university’s values of public discourse and an engaged citizenry and honors the contributions of James Madison, the father of the U.S. Constitution.
Howard, the White Burkett Miller Professor of Law and Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, was executive director of the commission that wrote Virginia’s current constitution and directed the successful referendum campaign for its ratification. His widely acknowledged expertise in constitutional law has resulted in many consultations with constitutional draftsmen in other states and abroad. Howard has worked with revisers at work on new constitutions in Brazil, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Albania, Malawi and South Africa.
When Howard took the stage, he admitted that, as an American, he never expected to “rub elbows with other nations in drafting their constitutions.” It surprised him that his expertise in American law would translate into the much larger scope of drafting international constitutions.
This realization led him to a sizable question: “What is it that the United States Constitution has to say to the world?” As it turns out, the answer is, “A lot.”
Howard led the audience through “snapshots” of history, and the U.S. Constitution’s role in it. During America’s beginnings, French governmental thought differed drastically from the ideals of our founding fathers. France saw principles like equality and civic discourse play out in America – self-government by free people was, in fact, possible.
Another snapshot encompassed America’s presence in the Philippines further down the historical line. Some felt it necessary to lead the Philippines to self-governing. Likewise, during World War I, President Woodrow Wilson claimed that declaring war was necessary to “make the world safe for democracy.” After World War II, similarly, there was a call for Japan to establish a democratic government with respect for human rights. The U.S. actually played a major role in drafting a new Japanese constitution – a constitution that still stands and has remained unchanged.
So again, Howard asked, where does the American experience belong in this? “Some people say it doesn’t,” he answered. But what Howard asserted was that “the relevance of our Constitution does not lie in the text; it exists when you put on the hat of James Madison and understand the fundamentals behind it.”
Other nations’ courts “don’t have to look like ours,” Howard said. But recognizing the underlying principles – separation of powers, checks and balances or judicial review – gets to the heart of what our framers intended.
“This brings us back to civic education and what you all stand for here at JMU,” Howard said. What does it mean to be a citizen of a constitutional democracy? “It means voting in an election, and maybe losing that election, but stepping aside knowing you can continue to fight for your beliefs.”
These fundamental principles and values, Howard asserted, are what carry our constitutional legacy into the cultures of other nations.
Howard pointed to the eloquent words of George Mason, found in the Virginia Declaration of Rights, to encourage today’s citizens to take seriously their responsibility for continuing education to preserve our republican democracy. “That no free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles,” words that influenced the U.S. Constitution, should influence people in contemporary times, Howard said.
Howard’s presentation was well received by JMU students in the audience. David DiSilvestro (’16) said that he learned a great deal throughout Howard’s presentation, especially “that so many different countries have adopted our principles.” Howard’s “snapshots” of various countries drawing from the U.S. constitutional experience was particularly effective in helping him visualize the visiting professor’s points.
“I thought it was interesting,” Reid Shandrick (’16) said. “I didn’t know that much about all the history of constitutions and how much we affected other countries. The lecture makes me interested in reading more about how we affected the constitutions of Germany and Japan in particular.”
The next Madison Vision Series presentation will feature Carol Geary Schneider, president of the American Association of Colleges and Universities. She will speak Oct. 16 at 5 p.m. in the Concert Hall of the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts.
The series is supported by the Madison Forever Vision Fund to bring prominent speakers, thinkers and leaders to JMU as a means to help students and the greater JMU community gain some mastery of the current civic landscape.
More information about the series is available at http://www.jmu.edu/president/mvs.
Imagine enrolling in an MBA program that meets 1,500 miles away from your home. For Russell Keith and Michelle Cantone, this is life in the Information Security MBA program.
Aiming to create managers who understand business fundamentals and the implications of information security, the MBA program features classes largely held online, with periodic face-to-face meetings in Reston, VA. Designed as a two-year online part-time program, the Information Security MBA is geared toward working professionals hoping to pursue further education while also remaining engaged in the workplace.
For many of the MBA students, the occasional classroom meetings require only a small amount of travel; however, for Russell and Michelle this requirement calls for babysitters, flight plans, hotel reservations, and travel itineraries.
Michelle currently works as the Technical Support Supervisor for a local county government outside of Houston. As someone dedicated to constantly developing as a professional, Michelle is enthusiastic about the program. She explains, “I cannot deny it is extremely valuable for me to have my MBA. I feel it will at least start conversations and open doors not previously available. It also carries a level of respect in any industry. I want to grow and take on more responsibility—having my MBA will help me stand out against my competition.”
Working for the American Airlines Federal Credit Union as the manager of the Enterprise Infrastructure and Data Center group, Russell also sees the potential value that an MBA in Information Security offers. He explains, “I have a BS in Network and Communications Management and an MS in Network Architecture. The Information Security MBA will give me the business knowledge to complement my technical skills and allow me to eventually move past my current middle management position and achieve my goal of CIO.”
Living in Texas and commuting to Virginia has been a challenge for Russell and Michelle. Michelle says, “Traveling certainly is not a walk in the park. It takes a lot of planning and coordination to get to DC. I am typically in town for fewer than 36 hours; and I normally hit my bed at 2 a.m. on Sunday. But I think I do better leaving town every eight weeks; it permits me to focus exclusively on the course at hand as opposed to the million other things going on in my day.”
For Russell, the meetings are the biggest challenge, but somehow he and his wife manage to find the silver linings. “Working for an airline makes travel very easy on me and my wallet,” he says. “My wife is very supportive of my career and educational goals and she is happy with my choices. She also plans to fly in with me from time to time for a little change of scenery.”
For both Michelle and Russell, the benefits of receiving a degree from JMU outweigh the challenges involved in the process. Michelle explains, “I live near a school which offers a Master’s in Information Security. Though it is a well-recognized school, I wanted to focus on managing InfoSec, not merely doing it. I found JMU and knew it was where I needed to be – even if it is 1,500 miles away. I feel that I am respected and appreciated by the school and not treated like a check coming in, but as a valuable member of the profession.”
Russell agrees that JMU is the best option for him, even though it is located thousands of miles away from his home. He admits, “I wanted to get my MBA from a real brick-and-mortar school that would be easily recognized; I didn't want to feel like people were thinking I just bought my MBA online. JMU offered the perfect marriage of my requirements.”
At the recent American Business Awards, JMU Computer Information Systems alum Christine Smith was the recipient of the Gold Stevie Award for the Technical Professional of the Year.
Each year, over 200 company executives judge nominations for the American Business Awards. The Stevie Award recognizes the contributions and achievements from some of the most influential organizations and individual professionals worldwide. To receive such recognition is one of the highest, most coveted honors in the world.
While at JMU, Christine was an active member of the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP), where she provided steady leadership. Christine was also a member of the JMU honors program, completing an honors thesis in CIS. CIS professor Dr. Tom Dillon taught Christine’s first CIS course, the introductory Computer Information Systems course, and he also served as a reader on her thesis. Tom says that Christine continues to help enhance JMU. He explains, “Christine is an active alum that regularly participates as a mentor in the fall IT Consulting course. As a mentor, she guides a three-person student team through a consulting project to help students gain practical knowledge from her expertise and experience in the field. The students often comment that her technical knowledge is outstanding and that she is a great mentor.”
Since 2009, Christine has worked for DRC—a leading company aimed at delivering solutions and services for our local, state and federal government. Christine has continually established herself as one of the top performers in the company. Currently, Christine is working as a software test engineer on the Secure Payment System (SPS)—a project for the Financial Management Service of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. As the primary disburser of federal payments, the SPS enables individual agencies to securely request payment from the Treasury. This system is one of the most highly secure systems used by the federal government, and Christine’s hard work and dedication help the SPS remain that way.
In addition to her role as a software engineer, Christine also works as an analyst and developer for DRC—she drafts and executes test cases, designs tools, maintains the environment of the lab, and analyzes current company procedure and policy.
Christine also contributes to DRC outside of the office. In addition to attending career fairs on behalf of DRC to recruit potential hires, Christine also participates in community service and outreach as one of the faces of DRC. Serving as co-chair of DRC’s volunteer focus group on improving company morale, Christine has organized the company picnic for three consecutive years. In 2012, she was named the Employee of the Year at DRC—and somehow, Christine has managed to do all of this while also completing her Master’s degree in Information Technology, which she received in 2012.
It is clear that Christine’s dedication to enhancing the corporate community at DRC, her heightened attention to detail and organization, her skills in time management and prioritization, as well as her ability to balance work and school have made her an asset to DRC—and the American Business Awards have given her the public recognition she deserves.
Christine has worked hard for this award, and the College of Business congratulates her.
As an esteemed educator for over 30 years, Dr. Donald Cooper understands the importance of preparing talented educators who will be prepared to make an impact on our schools. Dr. Cooper wants to do his part to support Madison students and honor the history of the education program at Madison. To celebrate his love for education and his desire to support future educators, he is creating the Donald G. Cooper Scholarship Endowment for College of Education. The scholarship will be awarded to students who exhibit financial need, while maintaining academic excellence. The Cooper scholar will be a student pursuing a career as a middle or secondary education teacher with plans to teach History or Economics courses. “I am creating this scholarship to help a needy student to fulfill their dream of becoming a teacher who will motivate, inspire, and encourage a future generation-we all need to do our part to support the next generation of educators” Cooper explained.
Dr. Cooper received both an undergraduate and master’s degree from Madison’s College of Education. After graduation, he began his teaching career at Longfellow Intermediate where he remained for 6 years. Donald followed this experience by obtaining his PhD from University of Southern California where he also taught in the Ethnic Studies Department. He then spent the majority of his career, 26 years, as an instructor at Langley High School primarily focusing on AP Economics, History, Psychology and Sociology courses. Dr. Cooper has developed a reputation as a teacher who provides challenging course work to his students and prepares them for college academics as well as AP exams. Donald says he chose the teaching profession because he “loved learning and wanted to impart this passion to students and show them that, through obtaining knowledge and utilizing it in their lives, they can transform society.”
"Our school celebrates teacher appreciation week with a series of themed days. As my kids walked into my classroom this morning, I noticed a theme: purple and gold! Today was 'wear your teacher's favorite color' day, and my kiddos wore JMU colors! They know me so well. I talk about JMU all the time and they always point out anything that has to do with dukes, Madison, or purple and gold proudly!"
We are well represented in Centreville, VA!
P.S...I have 26 kids in my class -- not the 11 pictured here. Only in my wildest dreams would I have a class that small ......
Donna Stocking Honeywell (’71) established a scholarship to be awarded annually to an outstanding student in recognition of his/her efforts implementing an educational outreach initiative that serves children and youth. The scholarship supports Honeywell's passion for learning and teaching. She believes that it is important for teachers to understand what students need to become successful lifelong learners and to pursue innovative strategies that foster achievement. When asked why she wanted to create this endowment, Honeywell explained, “Simply, it's my way of expressing hope for the future… sort of paying it forward. I have been fortunate in my life and I like what JMU is doing to prepare future teachers.” Applicants can apply through College of Education and must submit a plan outlining an ongoing or proposed initiative.Honeywell majored in English at JMU and received a Masters from Central Michigan University in School Counseling. She studied Educational Administration at the University of Utah. Honeywell is currently the Assistant Principal at Arlington Traditional Elementary School. She stays involved with JMU as a member of the Alumni Board. Honeywell named the scholarship in honor of her family, husband David Honeywell, two daughters and son
Ms. Marge Vorous launched her dynamic career in education as a student at Madison graduating in ‘70 with her B.S. in Elementary Education and in ’75 earned an M.S. degree in Education with a focus on Reading. Now, after over 35 years as a teacher in Virginia and West Virginia school systems, Vorous looks back on her time at Madison and fondly remembers four professors who made an impact on her learning experience and the type of teacher she became. To honor these four professors, she has created the Dr. Inez Ramsey/Miss Judith Blankenburg & Dr. F. Rita Kaslow/Dr. Harold D. Lehman Scholarship for The College of Education.
Vorous recalls that Dr. Lehman was her advisor and professor for several Education courses while Dr. Kaslow supervised her student teaching. During work to complete Library Science coursework, Vorous had the opportunity to learn from Dr. Ramsey and Blankenburg taking courses in areas like storytelling. “These four professors were awesome in their subject areas and they are the people who are responsible for my success as an elementary classroom teacher, librarian, reading specialist and storyteller. I want to make sure that these amazing people are honored and remembered at Madison.” Vorous explained. The scholarship will support students studying in Education or the Reading Specialist program to reflect both Vorous’ passion for teaching and literature as well as honor the subject areas of the four professors.
Now enjoying retirement, Vorous continues to be involved with Virginia Educational Media Association (VEMA) and serves as a member of the VEMA Scholarship Committee. In 2006, Vorous was awarded Honorary Lifetime Membership. She also regularly attends the Spring Festival of Children’s Literature at Frostburg State University where she has been a presenter and in 2008 received the Betty Roemmelmeyer Children’s Literature Advocate Award for making books come alive in her school library with storytelling, puppet shows and more! Vorous also volunteers as a storyteller for Head Start and teaches activity units about exciting places like Alaska, New Zealand and Australia to residents at Shenandoah Center.
Michelle Amaya's ('14) summer enrichment experience abroad confirms the importance of a broad world view
By Jan Gillis ('07)
Michelle Amaya says her trip to Bolivia showed her the value of educating children about the world. Here, she shares a moment with a young patient.
JMU honors student Michelle Amaya ('14) came to a full realization of the value of an expansive worldview in an unlikely place—a Bolivian orphanage.
"Since I was a child, I've dreamed of becoming a doctor who helps others abroad," she says; and her academic career has strengthened her passion for the medical field. Supported by a JMU Hillcrest Scholarship, Amaya traveled to La Paz, Bolivia, to work through Child Family Health International helping impoverished and at-risk children and adolescents.
Amaya put her fluency in Spanish to good use during her busy days in Bolivia and found herself drawn to the unreserved, outgoing nature of Bolivians. Mornings were spent accompanying doctors on their rotations. "All were very kind and willing to teach us about what they were doing. I served as a translator for other students who did not know the language." Patients were equally open, ready to share their personal lives with visitors.
Afternoons and early evenings were spent at the orphanage Hogar Jose Soria Para Los Ninos, working with orphaned children. Amaya and other student workers hailing from various places around the globe worked together to teach the children about their home countries and customs.
Educate children about the world
And the children were at the root of Amaya's epiphany. "If I had not had this experience in Bolivia, I never would have realized the importance of educating children about other countries at an early age," she says.
Amaya's father frequently traveled abroad during her childhood and shared his experiences with his family, giving her a broad worldview; but she was surprised to see children in the orphanage with a similar mindset. "They had gotten familiar with other countries and ways of living through the multicultural volunteers that came to work there."
"They know there's a world out there. They think, 'Maybe I can be a pilot and fly to that country, or maybe I can be a doctor and travel to that country.'"
In contrast, Amaya noticed that children at the hospital in La Paz, while having the advantages of living with parents, were not as familiar with the world beyond Bolivia's borders. "When I told them I got my Spanish accent from El Salvador where I came from, they did not recognize the country's name. They thought perhaps I was referring to another city in Bolivia." Yet, in similar conversations at the orphanage, kids would run to the map and show Amaya where El Salvador was located.
Knowing about the world expands goals and aspirations
The real importance of seeing beyond borders was not simply mastering geography lessons. Amaya discerned that children with a worldview beyond the boundaries of their locale could have equally expansive goals and aspirations.
Learning about other cultures allowed disadvantaged and orphaned children to have aspirations far beyond their circumstances. "They know there's a world out there. They think, 'Maybe I can be a pilot and fly to that country, or maybe I can be a doctor and travel to that country.'"
Knowledge fuels a person's dreams. "I saw the importance of teaching kids about the world," Amaya says. "Because my dad taught me about the world at an early age, I was able to develop a passion early on to be a doctor abroad. And I can see the kids in the orphanage doing the same."
Her trip to Bolivia affirmed Amaya's passion for global health. She returned to JMU determined to pursue further studies at a medical school.
And, perhaps, thanks to Amaya, a Bolivian youngster now dreams of following in the footsteps of a JMU student, donning a white coat and stethoscope, stepping beyond the confines of La Paz, and pursuing a dream far beyond the here and now.
September 23, 2013
President Alger traveled to Florence, Italy in June 2013 to meet with faculty members and students involved in the study abroad program. In this video, President Alger and Board of Visitors Rector Joe Funkhouser talk about the value of Madison's study abroad programs.