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Strategic Plan of Graduate Education



Graduate Education at James Madison University serves the public good by providing graduate students with high-quality academic experiences and professional development through its diverse, collaborative, and engaged community.


Graduate Education at James Madison University will be recognized nationally and internationally for exceptional programs, engaged experiences, and regional responsiveness.

We value:

Scholarship - Dedication to the development and advancement of creative scholarly activities and endeavors through instruction, research, public service, and engagement in order to foster graduate student learning, discovery and innovation, and advancement for the university, local, regional, state, national, and global communities.

Investment – Allocation of resources such as administrative support, student support, faculty time, student involvement, space, and equipment to an academic program or a program of scholarship is a critical commitment of the university.

Collaboration - A culture that promotes university-wide interactions, connections with other academic institutions and with external stakeholders to advance shared interests, strengths, and resources on behalf of faculty, students, and programs.

Diversity - Commitment to affirming a culture of diversity that enriches our communities of learning. We celebrate the range of human differences while working to address gaps, remove barriers, enhance accessibility, and cultivate cultural exchange.

Global Engagement - Graduate education that integrates global perspectives, promotes global experiences and fosters a sense of global responsibility.

Graduate Student Advocacy - Commitment to actively advancing initiatives that improves the academic success, professional development, and personal well being of graduate students.

Supportive Community - Commitment to cultivating a diverse, engaged, and supportive community of students, faculty, and staff, where individual community members are respected, valued, assisted, and prepared to succeed.

Key Goals

Goal 1: Strengthen the visibility and reputation of graduate programs

1.1: Position graduate education prominently in the university’s strategic plan and major communications.

1.2: Increase support, including additional personnel when necessary, to develop and implement effective communication strategies within each of the academic colleges.

1.3: Raise the external profile of graduate programs within academic and professional disciplines.

1.4: Highlight graduate involvement and accomplishments throughout the state, nationally, and internationally.

1.5: Increase participation of students at academic and professional conferences.

1.6: Publicize alumni placements and successes in JMU external communications.

1.7: Improve programs’ national and international rankings.

1.8: Enhance faculty prominence.

1.8.1: Encourage and support faculty in pursuing external funding that includes graduate student support.

1.8.2: Adopt recruitment and retention strategies for faculty with potential for national and international reputations and enhance existing and implement new faculty recruitment and retention strategies.

1.8.3: Provide greater support for faculty participation in national and international conferences.

Goal 2: Enhance the quality of graduate programs

2.1: Pursue and/or reallocate financial and faculty resources needed to accomplish and maintain best practices in our existing programs.

2.2: Pursue and/or reallocate resources to programs that have the potential to become nationally and internationally recognized.

2.3: Identify best practices and benchmarks for assessing graduate education and for assessing the academic support services necessary for graduate student success.

2.4: Value accomplishments and trends in community engagement, civic engagement, and engaged learning in graduate programs.

2.5: Pursue university-wide infrastructural support for on-campus, off-campus, online, and international graduate education (Student Success, Libraries and Educational Technologies, Outreach and Engagement, OIP, CFI, etc.).

Goal 3: Provide competitive support for graduate students

3.1: Strengthen financial support for graduate students including growth in competitive graduate assistantships and out-of-state graduate assistantships.

3.2: Develop campus-wide professional development programs for graduate students including career guidance and support.

3.3: Enhance programming and services that address graduate student health and wellness.

3.4: Enhance the visibility and accessibility of student services for graduate students.

3.5: Improve strategies to enable faculty with Sponsored Programs to include graduate support and assistantships in their budgets.

3.6: Identify high profile donors and foundations to support graduate education at JMU.

3.7: Develop competitive graduate tuition and fee policies.

3.8: Provide support tailored to international graduate students.

3.9: Identify year-round student services needs of graduate students and work to address them.

Goal 4: Increase the variety of graduate programs

4.1: Identify priorities in program development and program continuance based on:

4.1.1: Marketable new directions in graduate education that would fill societal needs (including, but not limited to Professional Master’s Programs).

4.1.2: Cutting-edge disciplinary and interdisciplinary trends.

4.1.3: Data regarding student and employer demand.

4.1.4: JMU’s vision and SCHEV priorities.

4.1.5: Faculty strengths.

4.1.6: Sustainable financial viability and potential to create revenue.

4.2: Develop infrastructure that enables interdisciplinary and interprofessional graduate programs.

4.3: Develop new graduate programs, concentrations and certificates that meet university mission and vision, and SCHEV priorities.

Goal 5: Review and provide appropriate support for graduate faculty and graduate program administration

5.1: Provide graduate program directors the funding, time, resources, and support necessary to produce excellent graduate programs including student mentoring/advising.

5.2: Balancing all faculty roles and responsibilities, provide graduate faculty the time, resources, and support necessary to produce excellent graduate programs including student mentoring/advising.

5.3: Provide year-round programmatic support as needed.

5.4: Enhance faculty prominence (see Goal #1).

Goal 6: Grow and diversify graduate enrollment

(Accomplishment of this goal is dependent on the accomplishment of goals 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.)

6.1: Pursue and/or reallocate financial resources and faculty lines of programs targeted for growth.

6.2: Build infrastructure to accommodate university-wide growth in number of applications and to improve the efficiency of the admissions process.

6.3: Ensure that admission requirements permit the flexibility to identify prospective students with diverse backgrounds who have good potential for success in their program.

6.4: Develop a resource-sharing model that considers the impact of growth on shared curricula.

6.5: Develop and implement strategies to recruit graduate students nationally and internationally to diversify graduate enrollment and operate most programs at capacity with highly qualified students.

6.6: Increase support for non-traditional and underrepresented groups of students.

6.7: Enhance student retention.

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