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Engagement Fellows Program

In keeping with its mission to produce educated and enlightened citizens, JMU is proud to announce its inaugural Engagement Fellows Program.

Three outstanding graduates from 2015 and May 2016 will have the opportunity to experience a transformational year of public service. Each fellow is commited to a full-time, ten month position for which he or she receives a stipend and housing on university property. Fellows are placed with agencies where they work on projects designed to advance their capacity for engaged learning, community engagement or civic engagement. Fellows also participate in self- and group reflections intended to promote their personal and professional development.

JMU Engagement Fellowship with IIHHS

The Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services engages students in career preparation by promoting scholarship, providing interprofessional learning experiences and connecting our campus with communities through innovative programs that advance quality of life.  With over two dozen programs established in response to community needs and in collaboration with community organizations, IIHHS offers a dynamic and versatile environment for a year of service.  Notable strengths include services for children and youth, for rural families, for foreign-born populations, intergenerational services, and training and development for community health work. A focus for the year will be determined by assessment of current needs but also influenced by strengths and interests of the selected Fellow. This position reports primarily to the Director of IIHHS who is also Associate Dean for the College of Health and Behavioral Studies

JMU Engagement Fellowship with Montpelier

Montpelier is the historic home of President James and Dolley Madison, as well as multiple generations of slaves and workers who toiled on the Orange, VA plantation. Montpelier was where James Madison shaped the ideas that would become the U.S. Constitution as he meticulously studied past forms of governments and organized his thoughts into what he believed were the ideal principles for a representative democracy.  Madison’s ideas would become the “Virginia Plan,” and later the framework for the Constitution. The Montpelier estate, which is open to the public, features the restored Madison home, gardens and cemeteries, archaeological sites, and more than three miles of forest trails.

Montpelier is also home to the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution, which offers world-class on-site and web-enabled educational programming. The Center’s goal is to inspire participation in civic dialogue, improve the public’s understanding of the founding principles of the United States and enable citizens to deepen their informed participation in democracy. Visit https://www.montpelier.org/ for additional information.

JMU Engagement Fellowship with Valley Scholars

The Valley Scholars program at James Madison University partners with seven school districts in the Shenandoah Valley to identify and provide access and opportunity for students who have the desire and potential to attend college but face barriers in pursuit of their goal.  Valley Scholars provides academic and social supports to students and families beginning in 8th grade with the goal of preparing scholars to be admitted to a competitive college or university.  The program is comprehensive, with weekly mentor meetings and programs, each designed to expose students to a culture of life-long learning.  The Engagement Fellow works with program staff to enhance existing programs through the expansion of service to new students while also working to identify critical needs leading to greater success and positive outcomes for students progressing to high school graduation.

Learning Outcomes for JMU’s Year of Service

JMU Engagement Fellows will:

  • Demonstrate a sense of responsibility and obligation within the community and organization they serve.
  • Anticipate how policies, decisions and issues impact community relationships and proactively attempt to maintain mutually beneficial partnerships through constructive dialogue.
  • Approach complex problems through the practice of interpersonal skills that promote teamwork and acceptance of diversity of thought regarding goals and priorities. 
  • Cultivate continued interest in public policies that promote community investments, connections, and improvements.
  • Perform responsibilities with growing attention to principles of social justice, ethical decision-making, and empathy. 
  • Uphold meaningful and productive connections between the university and community, and be alert to possibilities for expansion. 
  • Explore personal strengths and improve upon weaknesses, with particular emphasis on developing career options and exploring life plan goals through experiential learning.
  • Display an understanding of organizational communication and interconnectedness and how entities work together to solve larger community-based problems. 
  • Recognize how personal and career goals can include responsiveness to community needs and be rewarding to self and others.


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