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This Council is responsible for broader economic development strategic planning and would serve as the core group of individuals at JMU who contribute the most to economic development within the university. The UEDC will be chaired by the Chief Economic Engagement Officer and be composed of two subgroups: a tactical team, which would consist of the economic development practitioners who are leading efforts across the university and community (internally and externally) and a steering committee, who would focus on the bigger picture economic development efforts at JMU and serve as strategic advisors.

While the comprehensive list of objectives and goals for the UEDC can be found in the full report, I would like to highlight several priorities for the 2020–21 academic year:

Facilitate COVID-19 discussions with community and government

As the largest employer in the region, JMU will play a vital role in convening the local stakeholders to work together in new and expanded ways to address the COVID recovery. The university can serve as a resource to gather individuals and convene business, government, and community leaders to maximize the impact of research, learning, and engagement on the regional economy and society.

Conduct a SWOT analysis

JMU’s economic development activities must be pursued from a position of strength and opportunity, while recognizing areas for improvement and maintaining an awareness of external influences. Within the upcoming year, the UEDC will perform a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis to formalize our understanding of current economic development engagements and functions, identify areas of notable strengths, mitigate/minimize areas of weakness, and inform JMU’s role as an anchor institution for the region.

Collaborate with the Shenandoah Valley Partnership and other institutions and organizations to further impact talent, place and innovation sustainability in the region 

Preparing and sustaining a modern and adaptive workforce to meet all the critical needs of employers and community members requires intentional innovation and deliberate collaboration. The UEDC can further enhance and identify public/private partnership opportunities responsive to business, industry, and state needs. 


Support JMU’s upcoming Research2 Doctoral University Carnegie Re-Classification by beginning a self-study to prepare for the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities’ (APLU) Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) designation 

APLU’s IEP University designation elevates the visibility of an institution's excellence in, and commitment to, regional economic and community development. A great value of the designation program lies in the process in which institutions earn the designation. Institutions engage on and off-campus stakeholders to collectively assess strengths and areas of needed improvement in how the university knows, measures, and tells its economic engagement impact.

Council Members
Melissa Lubin

Melissa M. Lubin, PhD

Chief Economic Engagement Officer and Dean, Professional & Continuing Education


Mary Lou Bourne

Director, Technology Innovation and Economic Development; Executive Director, James Madison Innovations, Inc.


Mike Davis

Executive Advisor to the President


Kristin Gibson

Associate Director for University Recreation Center Services


Rubén Graciani

Acting Dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts


Keith Holland

Associate Vice Provost, Research, Scholarship and Creative Endeavors


Bob Kolvoord

Chief Innovation Officer; Dean, College of Integrated Science and Engineering


Jay Langston

Executive Director, Shenandoah Valley Partnership


Val Larsen

Speaker, Faculty Senate; Professor, Marketing


John Meck

Director, Corporate Relations, Advancement


Linda Plitt Donaldson

Associate Dean, Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services, College of Health and Behavioral Studies


Katie Overfield-Zook

Operations Manager, Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship, College of Business


Nick Swartz

Associate Dean of Economic and Community Development, Professional & Continuing Education, Chair, Tactical Team


Katie Weaver

Director, Office of Procurement Services


Cliff Wood

Senior Associate Athletics Director for Development


Shonta Sellers

Director Marketing & Communication / Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Initiative

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