Common Good Conversations

This year, the Madison Center will facilitate a variety of Common Good Conversations that address pressing issues related to our democracy and the common good. Learn More

Constitution Day

The Madison Center leads JMU’s Constitution Day programming across the university. Join us this year for our Constitution Day Lecture with Dr. Laura Edwards of Princeton University! Learn More

Governor's Fellows Program

The Governor’s Fellows Program is a prestigious opportunity for rising seniors and recent graduates to get a firsthand look at the executive branch in action. Since 1982, fellows have worked alongside the Governor’s Cabinet and staff, learning about state government and assisting in essential work for the Commonwealth.

Applications are open for the 2023 Governor’s Fellows Program. The deadline to apply is Sunday, March 5th.  More information is included on this webpage

Woodson Martin Immigration & Democracy Initiative

Through our Woodson Martin Democracy Fellow, and two undergraduate fellows, this work is dedicated to advancing the common good within themes related to immigration and refugee work. We educate the campus and broader Harrisonburg/Rockingham communities on immigration issues, help remove barriers to deeper democratic engagement, and collaborate with the local immigrant and refugee communities on civic learning and democratic engagement opportunities. Learn More

National Week of Deliberation

The National Week of Deliberation (NWOD) connects students together online in small group deliberative forums where they can work together across their differences to find common ground to act on major social, economic, and political issues. The first NWOD event was organized in 2015 as a collaborative project titled “Deliberation Day” led by Dr. Kara Dillard (then at the University of Washington, now at James Madison University) and Amy Lee with financial and organizational support provided by the Charles F. Kettering Foundation, the National Issues Forums Institute, and Every Voice Engaged Foundation (EVEF). The goal for “Deliberation Day” was to showcase how new online deliberation software can connect citizens in deliberation across a wide range of differences. The first event in 2015 was attended by 50 people – an average of 10 people in each small group online CGA forum. Each year until 2019, the event grew by 10%. The success of “Deliberation Day” marked a transition period to a full week of CGA online deliberative forums and a marketing collaboration with the annual Week of Conversation, organized by America Talks and ListenFirst.

When Lee transitioned to The Ohio State University’s Institute for Democratic Engagement and Accountability and Dillard transitioned to James Madison University, the partnership changed direction and became the National Week of Deliberation, with primary in-kind support provided by JMU and supplementary organizational and marketing support from Kettering and NIFI. The spring and fall 2020 NWOD events, marked by COVID closures and online learning, saw participation rise dramatically – 250 participants across 20 or more campuses in both spring and fall. The spring and fall 2021 events had roughly the same attendance, with some campuses and faculty choosing not to participate and many new institutions joining. In spring 2022, the NWOD rejoined the Week of Conversation as a pre-week event. Operating at this scale has substantial technological and organizational challenges. 

Civic History Exchange

A partnership between the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement and the MLK Research and Education Institute at Stanford University focused on African-American history and civil rights through student exchange and on-site civic learning. More information coming soon.

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