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Learning Opportunities and Resources

Integrated Learning Resources

Dennis E. Robison, Dean

Integrated learning resources is primarily an academic support unit within the academic affairs division although many of its services are available to the entire university community. Integrated learning resources consists of Carrier Library, the Multimedia Center, the Media Resources Center and computer facilities and services.

Carrier Library

Barbara S. Miller, Acting University Librarian

Carrier Library serves as a focal point for research, study and library instruction at James Madison University. Access to information in the library's collections is provided by its on-line public access catalog, Leonardo, and to electronically retrieved information through CD-ROM and commercial on-line data bases such as Dialog and BRS. The library houses the equivalent of 600,000 volumes including books and periodicals. It currently subscribes to over 2,300 periodicals and provides quick availability service to additional journal titles through the Document Express Service of Interlibrary Loan and the CARL/UnCover 2, a national article access database. As an authorized U.S. Government Document Depository, the library receives thousands of selected documents on a regular basis throughout the year.

Carrier Library uses the computer-based library system named Leonardo. Leonardo is an on-line catalog and automated circulation system providing access to the library's collections through computer terminals located in public service areas of the main library, as well as specialized resource centers. Access outside the library is also available by microcomputers equipped with modems. Carrier Library's reference department provides computer access to numerous databases through CD-ROM based indexes and the university's Academic Computing Center.

One of the library's principle goals is the education of its users, especially students. To that end, a library instruction workbook is an integral part of the freshman English program. The library also has a liaison program which links a librarian to each academic department and school to provide a wide variety of services including COMSEARCH for on-line literature searching, reference services, library instruction for course-related instructional activities and collection development. The library is open approximately 100 hours per week during the academic year. With the exception of the current periodical service area and special collections, the library's collections are on open shelves.

Two specialized resource centers on campus are assisted by the library staff and add to the learning resources available to students: the Educational Media Laboratory in the College of Education and Psychology Building, and the Music Library in the Music Building.

Media Resources Center

Jeffrey C. Clark, Director

Located in Carrier Library the Media Resources Center provides audio-visual equipment, materials and rentals, previewing facilities, and a variety of non-print formats including an extensive video collection. In addition, the MRC is responsible for coordinating teleconferences.

Multimedia Center

John M. Woody, Director

Located in Carrier Library, the Multimedia Center is currently under development and will be assisting faculty in the use of instructional technologies for teaching, publication and research as its primary mission.

Computer Facilities and Services

The university provides computer facilities and services to support instruction, research and administration. Equipment includes two Digital Equipment Corp. VAX computers and hundreds of microcomputers for teaching and research use. Four Hewlett Packard 3000 computer systems provide automation for Carrier Library and administrative services. Microcomputers and terminals are located in clusters around the campus, including each of the residence hall complexes. Students who have their own microcomputers may access the central academic system from their residence hall rooms or from off campus through the university's digital telephone system.

The university supports a cluster composed of VAX-4000 computers. These machines operate under the VMS operating system, and have a total of 256 megabytes of real memory, 18 gigabytes of disk storage. Peripheral equipment includes plotters, high speed line and laser printers and optical mark readers. The programming languages FORTRAN, COBOL, C, Ada, Prolog and Pascal, among others, are supported. Other major software systems include the SPSS, SAS, Minitab and TSP statistical packages, and the WordPerfect word processing package. The university is a node in the BITNET and Internet networks.

Microcomputer laboratories are maintained for the use of students and faculty. Apple Macintosh and IBM compatible computers are available. Purchase programs are available to assist students in acquiring their own computers. Non-credit workshops and computer-aided instruction programs are provided for students and faculty on computing and computer-related topics. The computer science department, the mathematics department and other departments and schools provide additional computing facilities and services for their students and faculty.

Academic Advising

The role of the academic adviser is vital to the mission of James Madison University.

The primary function of the adviser is to assist students in the achievement of their educational goals and in their development as individuals. James Madison University believes that education should be more than a series of disconnected courses. Effective advisement, therefore, is needed to assist students in shaping their education to meet their specific intellectual and personal goals. Recognition of the individuality of students and of their need to seek advice beyond the process of registration is a quality of advisement that is necessary to ensure student success in college and in life after college. Advisers do not decide the student's goals or program, but counsel on ways to prevent problems and encourage maximum growth and development. They strive to help students understand themselves and to familiarize them with available university resources that may assist in meeting their educational needs, goals and aspirations.

JMU has three distinct academic advising programs: the freshman advising program, the pre-major advising program and the departmental or major-specific advising program.

During orientation, all new students are assigned to a faculty adviser who discusses with them the university's academic policies and procedures, the various programs of study, Advanced Placement/ exemption testing, and registration procedures. The students plan their schedule of courses with their advisers and register for classes.

During spring semester, freshmen who have declared a major are assigned to advisers in the departments or schools of their major. Students remaining undeclared stay with their freshman adviser through spring semester and then are transferred to a pre-major adviser prior to the fall of their sophomore year. Academic advising at JMU is an ongoing relationship between students and faculty.

Effective academic advising is based on the assumption that both parties must contribute to the advising process; if not, effective advising will not occur. Central to this assumption are two sets of responsibilities: one for the adviser and one for the advisee.

The Adviser

The adviser's role consists of several responsibilities in assisting students at JMU. Advisers at JMU assist students in defining and developing realistic goals, identify the special needs of individual students, and refer students to available resources. In addition, advisers will also assist students in planning a program consistent with their abilities and goals, follow students' progress toward educational career goals, and discuss the relationship between academic preparation and careers.

The Advisee

The responsibility of fulfilling all requirements for graduation lies with the student; therefore, familiarity of the requirements contained in this catalog is essential. In addition, all advisees are responsible for clarifying personal needs, values, goals and abilities to their advisers; for becoming knowledgeable about the policies, procedures and requirements of the university; and for making decisions concerning their own academic career.

Career Services

The Office of Career Services, located on the second floor of Sonner Hall, aids students at various stages of the career decision-making, exploration and job search process. A variety of programs and services exist to provide assistance to students in defining their career objectives, finding out about the current job market and learning how to conduct a job search. A career library augments these services and makes pertinent resources on choosing a career, employer literature, work force trends, employer directories and other employment related literature available.

The career decisions program is a series of workshops designed to help students pick a major, decide on a career direction, assess career information and resolve personal issues interfering with their ability to make career plans. Workshop topics include career assessment, values, interests, abilities and career information. A career and life planning course is also offered for freshmen and sophomores to assist them in choosing a major or career field. The course is a one-hour credit block course listed under BGS 200.

Each year business, industry, government, armed forces and educational systems conduct interviews on campus with graduating seniors. Additional job vacancies are posted in the career library and are listed on the JMU JobLine, an automated job vacancy system accessible from a touch-tone phone, 24 hours a day. Through the use of Resume Expert Plus, students may participate in the off-campus recruiting program and have their resume sent to employers seeking to fill entry-level positions. The office assists students in establishing a credential file that includes academic and work references. Upon request, the file will be mailed to prospective employers who require credential information as part of the application process.

Professional career counselors are available on an appointment basis to discuss vocational objectives relating to the educational background and experiences of the individual student. All services are intended to supplement the efforts of students as they develop their own career alternatives and do not replace the student's own personal search for employment.

Students are welcome to use any part of the services and facilities of the Office of Career Services. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Disability Services

The Office of Disability Services ensures that the university complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The coordinator arranges needed services to facilitate the academic progress of students who are registered with the office. For more information about accommodations for students with disabilities call 568-6705.

Academic Honors Program

Dr. Joanne V. Gabbin, Director

The Honors Program seeks to meet the educational needs of talented, highly motivated students by offering more opportunities for an enriched and demanding curriculum. Administered by the director of the Honors Program and the Honors Committee, this program offers students the opportunity to cultivate the habits of critical thinking, independent analysis and creative expression through small classes and independent study under the guidance of recognized teacher-scholars. The program also offers a setting in which students who share a similar enthusiasm for learning are brought together in intellectual fellowship and provides public recognition for superior academic achievement. Information concerning the Honors Program can be obtained from the director of the Honors Program. The program consists of various modes of study briefly described below.

Honors Scholars Program

Approximately 80 entering freshmen who graduated in the upper 15 percent of their high school classes and who attained Scholastic Aptitude Test scores totaling 1,200 or above are invited to apply for the Honors Scholars program. They must also submit an essay (or goal statement) and letters of recommendation from teachers and counselors attesting to their ability to participate in a rigorous academic program. Honors Scholars are expected to take liberal studies courses designated "Honors," maintain a 3.25 grade point average, take several upper-level honors courses (honors option work, honors seminars and honors colloquia) and complete an honors project during their senior year. They are expected to take at least 33 credit hours (including six hours for the honors project). Designation as an Honors Scholar and graduation with distinction will appear on the students' records when they complete the program.

Subject-Area Honors

Candidates for Subject-Area Honors complete at least 24 credit hours, including a six-hour senior honors project and at least 18 credit hours in honors courses. Students may receive honors credit for work in honors sections of regular courses, independent honors option work with the permission and under the guidance of a cooperating teacher, and/or honors seminars. The program is flexible and affords an opportunity for students, regardless of major, to participate in honors work. The Subject-Area Honors program is open to students with a 3.25 grade point average. Students must also submit an essay in which they give their reason for wanting to participate in the Honors Program. Students who complete the program will graduate with honors in their particular discipline (Honors in history, Honors in English, Honors in physics, etc.) and graduation with distinction will appear on the students' records.

Specific titles of the current courses offered in both programs are listed in the Schedule of Classes. Several of the honors seminars may be taken for liberal studies credit. A current list includes the following:

HON 200F. The Avant-garde Arts in Paris
(Fine Arts/Aesthetics)
HON 300C. Democracy and Its Discontents
(History/Civilization or Philosophy/Religion)
HON 300G. Divine Comedy and Paradise Lost
(Literature)
HON 300L. Aesthetic Values in American Society
(Philosophy/Religion)
HON 300M. Living Female in America
(Social Science)
HON 300T. Mythologies of Crime and Violence
(Literature)

Senior Honors Project

Departments and schools offer eligible students a special opportunity in the senior year to pursue an independent research topic in their major field. Successful completion of this project results in the awarding of the degree with distinction at commencement (see below). Students are invited to apply through their department head or school director during their junior year. Admission to the Senior Honors Project program is limited to juniors with at least a 3.25 average who give sufficient evidence of initiative, originality and intellectual maturity to warrant the expectation of distinction in the program. Acceptance for participation is determined by the director of the Honors Program and the Honors Committee.

Interested students are invited to obtain information regarding these programs from the director of the Honors Program.

Honors Courses

The university offers honors sections in different departments and schools which set the criteria for admission to, and the requirements for, these honors sections. Information concerning these courses can be obtained from individual departments, schools or the Honors Program.

Graduation with Distinction

A degree with distinction is awarded in several departments and schools to students who successfully undertake a program of independent studies and an honors project for six credit hours during the senior year. Applications to work for distinction are limited to juniors who have achieved at least a 3.25 grade point average and have initiative, originality and intellectual maturity.

Applications shall be made to the director of the Honors Program by mid-term of the second semester of the junior year. Acceptance for participation is determined by the director and the Honors Committee who must also approve the faculty committee to direct the study. A thesis or creative project is expected as the culmination of the study. Instructions for Senior Honors are obtained from either the department head, school director or the director of the Honors Program.

Honorary Societies

The following honorary and professional societies recognized by the Association of College Honor Societies maintain active chapters on the JMU campus.
  • Alpha Epsilon Delta (pre-medicine)
  • Kappa Delta Pi (education)
  • Omicron Delta Epsilon (economics)
  • Omicron Delta Kappa (scholarship and leadership)
  • Percy H. Warren Chapter of Mortar Board Honor Society
  • Phi Alpha Theta (history)
  • Phi Sigma Tau (philosophy)
  • Pi Sigma Alpha (political science)
  • Psi Chi (psychology)
  • Sigma Pi Sigma (physics)
  • Sigma Tau Delta (honorary)
  • Other honorary and professional societies at JMU:

  • Alpha Epsilon Rho (broadcasting)
  • Beta Alpha Psi (accounting)
  • Beta Beta Beta (biology)
  • Beta Gamma Sigma (business and administration)
  • Delta Sigma Pi (business professional society)
  • Dobro Slovo (Russian studies)
  • Epsilon Chi Omicron (international business)
  • Eta Sigma Delta (hotel-restaurant management)
  • Eta Sigma Gamma (honorary)
  • Kappa Pi (art)
  • Order of Omega (Greek leadership)
  • Phi Chi Theta (business administration and economics)
  • Phi Epsilon Kappa (honorary)
  • Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (music)
  • Phi Omicron Tau (home economics)
  • Pi Mu Epsilon (mathematics)
  • Sigma Alpha Iota (music)
  • Sigma Phi Lambda (honorary)
  • Society for Collegiate Journalists
  • Tau Beta Sigma (band)
  • International Education

    Studies Abroad Programs

    Recognizing its responsibility to encourage international perspectives for James Madison University students, the university sponsors semesters abroad in Florence, London, Martinique, Paris and Salamanca (Spain). JMU students may experience life in a different culture and gain direct access to the historical, artistic and literary riches of the environment, while at the same time pursuing an approved course of study toward the bachelor's degree.

    The program is open to all students in good academic standing (applicants should have a GPA of 2.8 or above). Language requirements vary. For the Semester in Florence, at least one semester of Italian is strongly recommended but not required. Students must have completed FR 320, Advanced Grammar, before going to Martinique. Two years of college French are required for admission to the Paris program. Students applying for the Salamanca program where courses are taught in Spanish are expected to have completed SPAN 231-232 or the equivalent of intermediate Spanish. Students are required to take six hours of Italian, French or Spanish (respectively) during their semester abroad. Most programs are available during both fall and spring semesters. Students should participate prior to the final semester of their JMU career.

    Students must select a minimum of 12-15 credit hours (at least two courses in addition to the six-credit language instruction in Florence and Paris, and at least three courses beyond the intensive Spanish in Salamanca) and may enroll in a maximum of 18 credit hours. Course offerings vary from semester to semester since one course is taught by the rotating JMU faculty members in residence and others by the international faculty. The curriculum in each program addresses a broad spectrum of academic interests but is centered around a core appropriate to the special cultural resources of the city or country. Courses are generally taught twice weekly -- once in the classroom and once "on site." Classes promote individual cognitive and affective learning through experiential methods, e.g. studying drama by reading and then attending plays, art history by viewing and discussing original works of art in museums and galleries, political science by learning political institutions and then observing parliament in action. These instructional activities are covered by the program's fees if the students are registered for academic credit in the courses.

    Courses meet the requirements of the corresponding departments and schools and may satisfy some Liberal Studies requirements at JMU. A student also may arrange an independent study project with the approval and supervision of a JMU instructor in his or her major. Independent study projects also should be approved by the program directors who can judge the topic's appropriateness to the city and the student's language level. Several programs also offer International Liberal Studies 290, a course of directed study exploring the literature and cultural life of the city usually supervised by the faculty member in residence.

    The programs' costs differ but all include tuition, housing, a basic food allowance, all course-related travel in Italy, England, Martinique, France or Spain (including extended weekend trips); instructional events such as theater, concerts, historical tours, guest lectures and some social activities. The programs' costs all exclude students' travel to and from the program site. Loans and scholarships apply, and a limited number of studies abroad scholarships and assistantships are available.

    Students live in a central, convenient part of each city and have ready access to the faculty members in residence if any health or living problems arise. Normal university or standard family health insurance covers the students in the Studies Abroad Program, and JMU retains a readily available consulting physician or provides a medical care plan in each city. Students interested in studying in Florence, London, Martinique, Paris and Salamanca should apply for both fall and spring semesters of the next academic year by Feb. 1. Priority deadlines are also established for spring and summer sessions.

    International Exchange Programs

    The university is committed to increasing the opportunities for students' global awareness. Several exchange programs with foreign schools and universities are available. New programs have been developed in Ghana, Africa, and Asia. Students interested in the culture of the Pacific Rim may study independently at the Chinese University of Hong Kong or Doshisha Women's College in Kyoto, Japan. Students interested in business areas may study at the European Business School near Frankfurt, Germany or affiliates in Dijon, France, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Language requirements and curricula vary. Students should consult the Office of International Education, Paul Street House for further information.

    Applications for exchange programs with foreign universities are due Oct. 1 for the following academic year.

    International Travel/Study Course

    During the summer, many JMU departments and schools traditionally sponsor off-campus courses and travel study tours through the Office of Continuing Education and External Programs. Specific course offerings and departments and schools vary from year to year. A typical schedule might include study tours to Germany, France, Italy, Wales, Greece/Turkey and Southeast Asia. Information regarding courses to be offered each summer can be obtained in the Office of Continuing Education and External Programs or the Office of International Education, Paul Street House.

    International Internships

    In an effort to add a different sort of international dimension to higher education in Virginia, the university has established an International Internship Program for Virginia students. Students from all Virginia institutions and Virginia residents enrolled at schools elsewhere may participate.

    The program is designed primarily for third- and fourth-year students, recent graduates and graduate students. First- and second-year students are encouraged to begin planning their credit requirements and arranging finances so that they will be able to take advantage of this opportunity to work abroad for a semester. The internship positions are, for the most part, unpaid, though an increasing number of sponsors are offering some compensation to help offset living costs. Students are responsible for their own transportation, lodging, food, medical insurance and other personal expenses.

    Interested students should contact the international internship program office, Paul Street House, for application materials and descriptions of the internships.

    International Independent Study

    Students may participate in other approved programs of study abroad. The university will accept credits earned abroad at approved institutions in accordance with its policy of accepting transfer credits. Approval of proposed study programs must be obtained from the head of the department, the school director and the dean of the college. A Permission to Take Courses for Transfer Credit Form should be submitted to the registration and records office. Studies abroad guides, brochures and transfer credit forms are available in the Office of International Education, Paul Street House.

    Credit By Examination

    College degrees represent growth and maturity in certain fundamental knowledge and skills rather than a mere accumulation of credit hours. In recognition of the fact that some persons may achieve academic competence through non-traditional means such as private study, technical employment or prior instruction, JMU endorses the concept of credit by examination. By permitting a student to earn credit by school and departmental examination for knowledge already gained, highly motivated or academically advanced persons are able to accelerate their program. It is the student's responsibility to ascertain what preparation and background are necessary for taking advantage of this means of acceleration, before attempting an examination.

    General Policies

    Programs for Improving Academic Skills

    The university provides a variety of support services for students interested in improving their academic skills. These services address both academic performance and satisfaction. They are intended to assist students having academic difficulty, students wanting to improve the efficiency of their work, and students looking to learn new and different approaches to their work. Any student who wishes to take advantage of these services may do so by contacting the relevant offices. Students may also be referred to one or more of these services by faculty members, academic advisers or the Counseling and Student Development Center.

    There is no additional charge for these services.

    Educational Skills Development Program

    The Educational Skills Development Program provides students with the opportunity to assess their current study skills and to learn new strategies for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of, as well as the personal satisfaction associated with, their academic work. The program addresses such areas as: how to organize study sessions, time management, test preparation, test taking strategies, lecture listening and note taking, reading comprehension and memory skills, concentration, motivation, and stress management. A student may work with an individual counselor, participate in groups which provide an intensive introduction to a range of skills, and/or attend any of a number of workshops that address specific topics. A tutoring referral service is also available through the program. To participate in any of the services provided by the program or to learn more about the program, contact the Counseling and Student Development Center, Alumnae Hall, Room 200, 568-6552.

    Reading and Writing Support Labs

    To support the university's efforts to help students succeed academically and professionally, the Reading and Writing Support Labs offer individualized help to any students wishing to improve their reading and writing skills. Instruction is coordinated, as much as possible, with class work to meet each student's specific need.

    Freshmen may seek assistance in meeting the reading and writing requirements of any course. Upperclassmen may use the labs to increase reading speed and comprehension and to improve writing and grammar skills. Help is also available for students writing applications and letters. These labs are located in Harrison Hall, rooms A125, A131 and A133.

    Mathematics Support Laboratory

    The Mathematics Support Laboratory offers assistance to students who wish to enhance their abilities with mathematical concepts and skills taught in 100-level and some 200-level mathematics courses. The laboratory, administered by the mathematics department, is located in Burruss Hall, Room 20.

    Internships

    Internships are available with the federal government as well as other governmental agencies and private entities. Students should contact the Office of Career Services or the appropriate department or school office to obtain additional information. Credit must be arranged in advance with the appropriate department head or school director and the Office of Registration and Records.

    JMU is affiliated with the Washington Center, which provides internships in the Washington, D.C., area. Information regarding Washington Center internships can be obtained from the appropriate department or school office or the Office of Academic Affairs, Wilson Hall, Room 215.


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    Last reviewed: Sept. 10, 1994
    Information Publisher: Academic Services