The Graduate School anticipates vigorous year

by Janet Smith


The Graduate School at James Madison University is entering the new academic year with new leadership, several emerging programs and an approaching major anniversary.

Interim Dean Melissa W. Aleman, a professor of communication studies, and interim Associate Dean Michael L. Stoloff, a professor of psychology, are continuing and expanding the efforts of Dr. Reid J. Linn, who retired after serving as dean of The Graduate School since 2006 and teaching special education at JMU since 1985.

Nearly 1,800 students are enrolled in 60 programs leading to master’s, educational specialist and doctoral degrees that are part of The Graduate School. Graduate education at the university is embarking on strategic program growth grounded in societal and market needs and faculty expertise, according to Aleman. “We also see a need to continue to foster and identify global experiences for our graduate students,” she said. “We want to offer meaningful international experiences that help students build global competencies.”

Since 1954, when the State Board of Education authorized then Madison College to offer programs leading to the master of science in education degree, graduate education at JMU has endeavored to provide the education and credentials individuals need to meet career goals and to meet societal needs in many fields – education, health, the arts, humanities, business and more.

Among the newest programs offered this year are:

  • The Master of Education in Mathematics Education, is now offered as a completely online degree program, showcasing what can develop when faculty work together to create an innovative program. The new concentration meets secondary-school teachers who desire to teach Advanced Placement-level courses where they are – constrained by schedule and travel to campus limitations. The online format is delivered through JMU’s Office of Outreach and Engagement.
  • The Master of Education in Learning, Technology and Leadership with a concentration in Spanish language and cultures for educators, which uses face-to-face and distance education models. Students in the concentration complete one summer residency on the JMU campus and one summer residency on the University of Salamanca, Spain, campus in the program that illustrates how “faculty are thinking about how content is delivered,” said Aleman.
  • The Master of Education in Exceptional Education now offers a new concentration in Behavior Specialist, collaborating with Graduate Psychology to prepare future educators with the qualifications to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam and develop the necessary credentials to support Applied Behavior Analysis programs in school settings.

Aleman would like to see an increase in graduate school support of professional development opportunities critical for student success to complement the efforts of the graduate programs across campus. “At JMU, we already welcome graduate students to many of the opportunities offered through the Center for Faculty Innovation and our Graduate Student Association is focusing on professional development, cross-disciplinary relationships and community stewardship,” she said.

Another exciting venture, the Cohen Center for the Study of Technological Humanism, which Aleman described as “a catalyst for engagement,” will offer graduate students support for cross-disciplinary projects. Dr. Ralph Cohen, Provost’s Distinguished Professor of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication, and his late wife and intellectual partner, Libby, funded the center through a generous gift. The center will operate on the principle that research that bridges the cultures of humanism and technology is of utmost importance as our society becomes increasingly technological, interconnected and global.

Looking to 2015, Aleman and colleagues are anticipating the 60th anniversary of The Graduate School’s inaugural program. Ongoing planning to highlight the past and the present through interesting events will continue in 2014-15.

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Sept. 4, 2014

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Published: Thursday, September 4, 2014

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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