Cover Photo Image

JMU defines engaged learning as developing deep, purposeful and reflective learning, while uniting campus and community in the pursuit, creation, application and dissemination of knowledge.

Engaged learning requires a commitment on the part of students, faculty and the university to create practices beyond the traditional - practices that are experiential, involve exploration and guided reflection, and take place in a community. At James Madison University, engaged learning's hallmark will include, but are not limited to, high impact educational practices such as collaborative projects, internships, global education, undergraduate research and alternative learning opportunities and will be intentional and designed within and across communities and into the culture of the Madison Experience.

The Engagement Advisory Group is a key coordinating team for engagement at JMU. The leaders for engaged learning on the group are Dr. Lee Sternberger, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Executive Director of the Center for Global Engagement (CGE), Dr. Fletcher Linder, Associate Vice Provost for University Programs and Dr. Jim McConnel, Associate Vice President for Student Life and Involvement.

Share your Engaged Learning Activities

Engaged Learning at JMU
A few examples
  • JMU is proud to offer several faculty-led study abroad programs that include undergraduate student research opportunities. Students have the opportunity to conduct research in diverse regions of the world and areas of study. JMU also offers several faculty-led study abroad internship opportunities. Students have the opportunity to intern in a wide range of industries that fit with their area of study and interest.  
  • Students' undergraduate research efforts are supported by several resources including JMU Research and Scholarship (R&S), which utilizes an interdisciplinary and applied approach in order to facilitate the engagement of faculty, staff and students to develop solutions to institutional and real-world problems. Additionally, The James Madison Undergraduate Research Journal (JMURJ) invites submissions from all JMU undergraduate students in all JMU disciplines, in all their genres and media.
  • Students across disciplines at JMU engage in capstone projects. For example, The Center for Wind Energy engages undergraduates in wind-related capstone projects to increase wind energy education. Students in the ISAT program have been doing these types of projects since 1999. Another example is the Honors College capstone project, which is the culminating experience of an Honors academic career. The capstone project represents an opportunity to conduct research or engage in a creative endeavor in which students work independently, with faculty guidance, to synthesize and share a final product or handiwork related to a topic and skill sets of the student's own choosing.
  • Students who participate in a Residential Learning Community get the unique opportunity to live and take classes with a small group of students who share similar interests. Benefits of living in a Residential Learning Community include: special interaction with faculty members, community service possibilities, a smooth start that weaves connections all across JMU, and a convenient, natural study group. For example, The MadisonBiz Community provides experiences and facilities for highly motivated first-year students interested in majoring in business to live and work together to explore their mutual interests in business.
  • JMU students engage in collaborative assignments and projects in and out of the classroom. For example, Hacking for Diplomacy (H4Di) is a course designed by Stanford University in which multidisciplinary teams of students work on real-world, “wicked” problems provided by sponsor organizations. H4Di uses innovative research methods to help students unravel these problems, which defy easy solutions. In 2017, JMU offered the only H4Di course in the country at JMU X-Labs and was the first in the nation to offer it exclusively to undergraduate students. Students representing nine different majors at JMU came together in Fall 2017 to work with H4Di clients in government and industry.
  • Community Service-Learning is a method of teaching where students learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized community service. The service experience is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum of the student. Service-Learning courses provide structured time for the students to reflect on the service experience as it relates to their coursework, personal development and civic involvement. For example, Alternative Breaks challenge students to critically think and react to problems faced by members of the communities they are involved with. Being immersed in diverse environments enables participants to experience, discuss and understand social issues in a significant way. At JMU, we acknowledge and celebrate the overlap between specific areas of engagement. Alternative breaks are an example of both engaged learning and community engagement.

Back to Top