Summer Update for Faculty and Staff

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Summer greetings,

I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the summer. I wanted to provide a few updates on JMU developments since commencement. 

Welcome to new BOV members

Three BOV members have been reappointed by the Governor: Mike Thomas, Mike Battle, and John Rothenberger. In addition, we welcome two new members to the BOV: JMU alums Maribeth Daley Herod of Herndon, Senior VP of Bank of America (’82), and Lara Major of Purcellville, Educational Consultant (‘92). 

JMU on the Hill

We had a full house on Capitol Hill on June 14 for the annual JMU on the Hill reception. At the event, we were joined by representatives from the State Department and other national organizations to celebrate the 20th anniversary of JMU’s Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR). As you may know, CISR is an internationally renowned center that provides management training for organizations charged with clearing land contaminated with explosive remnants of war, as well as capacity-building training for peer support and disability rights organizations. The next day we had a series of visits on Capitol Hill with members of the Virginia congressional delegation, including (among others) extensive conversations with Senators Warner and Kaine as well as with Representative Bob Goodlatte, our local representative.

JMU Abroad

I had the opportunity this month to make a brief visit to the University of Malta, our JMU partner in that island nation, and to meet with their incoming and outgoing Rectors (the equivalent of a university president in the US). During this time of transition for that institution, we are exploring new ways to work together—including possible new joint programs. JMU currently has an undergraduate summer program there focused on sustainability issues, as well as a joint International Master’s Program in Environmental Management and Sustainability. I had the chance to see our undergraduate students give their final presentations on their team projects, which all involve close collaborations with organizations in Malta and serve as wonderful examples of engaged learning and community engagement. One of the performance measures in our strategic plan is to increase the percentage of JMU students who study abroad as we continue to strive for national leadership on this important front.  

Personnel and Engagement Updates

The summer is always a time of transition for us as we welcome new faculty, staff, and students to the University. We are also continuing to implement our strategic plan through the organization and coordination of engagement-related work. Here are some key highlights for this upcoming academic year:

  • Dr. Cynthia Bauerle joins us on July 1 as the new Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. Dr. Bauerle previously served as Assistant Director, Undergraduate and Graduate Programs, at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. 

  • Dr. Melissa Lubin also joins us this summer as Associate VP for Outreach and Engagement. Melissa comes to us from Virginia Tech, where she has served as Director of the Virginia Tech Hampton Roads and Richmond Centers.

  • Dr. Angela Radford Lewis, who serves as Associate VP for Undergraduate Programs, Curricula and Service at East Tennessee State University, will join our JMU leadership for this academic year as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow, with a special interest in community engagement. The ACE Fellows program is one of the nation’s most prestigious leadership development programs in higher education, and the participants work closely with the senior leadership of their host institution. There are only 31 Fellows for this coming year, and this is the third consecutive year in which JMU has been selected as a host site. 

  • The co-chairs of the Engaged University Council met with Jerry and me to talk about next steps in our engagement-related efforts. As a result of their recommendations and our discussions, we are developing a revised structure to provide ongoing leadership and coordination for each area of engagement. Dr. Brian Charette, who currently oversees our strategic planning efforts as part of the Division of Student Affairs and University Planning, will shift to a newly configured position as Special Assistant to the President for Strategic Planning and Engagement. He will join the Senior Leadership Team and will coordinate the next iteration of our engagement leadership group. Dr. Lee Sternberger, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Executive Director of the Office of International Programs, has agreed to serve as the coordinator of engaged learning efforts. Dr. Melissa Lubin (mentioned above) will coordinate our community engagement efforts. And Drs. Meg Mulrooney (Associate Vice Provost for University Programs) and Jessica Adolino (Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Letters) will continue to coordinate our efforts in the area of civic engagement. This group will also be joined by Dr. Keston Fulcher (Director of the Center for Assessment and Research Studies) and Andy Perrine (Associate VP for Communications and Marketing). We are grateful to all who served on the Engaged University Council for their passion and commitment to the University’s vision and strategic plan. Your work has been pivotal in moving our engagement initiatives forward, and we look forward to working together in the next phase of this ongoing effort.

  • As part of JMU’s commitment to the Virginia Compact on the Service Year, our first three Service Year fellows have been appointed. They are: Xavia Gary (who will be working with the Valley Scholars Program), Madeleine Ross (who will be working with the Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services), and Claudia Salvador (who will be working with the Montpelier Estate). These individuals will form an initial cohort to share experiences regarding public service years, and will also meet with counterparts from other Virginia colleges and universities. We look forward to continuing to expand this program in the years to come.

Provost Search

The process for the provost search is under way. The search committee, under the leadership of Senior Vice President Mark Warner, has been appointed and will begin its work this fall. Click here for a list of the full search committee.

This summer, Dr. Warner and I will be meeting with the deans about the search to get their thoughts and perspectives on the position. As part of the process, finalists are brought to campus for public presentations. Faculty and staff are welcome to attend these presentations if interested. We anticipate that the process will be completed by early in the spring semester, and will provide regular updates on the progress of the search.

Updated Faculty Recruitment Training and Materials

As part of our ongoing efforts related to diversity, access and inclusion, we have revised and updated recruitment procedures and materials for instructional faculty. These materials will be used in faculty searches across the University.

Community Outreach

Community outreach continues to be a vital part of our strategic plan. On June 16, hundreds of community members gathered at the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts for the announcement of its lineup of performances for the 2016-17 season. The Forbes Center has made community outreach a priority, and a number of the performances cater to the local public schools and other community groups. The event also now features the Circle of Excellence in the Arts Award, presented this year to the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton.

On June 20, Mary Ann and I toured the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Free Clinic and met with its leadership. The Free Clinic provides an important health safety net for our area and has many important partnerships with JMU. Many JMU faculty, staff and students work with the Clinic and provide services to its clients.  

Information Security MBA

The online Information Security MBA offered by the College of Business (COB) was recently named the #1 online MBA degree in cybersecurity for 2016 by Online MBA Today. The rankings are based on tuition cost, accreditation, early career salaries, prestige, and overall graduate rates. Congratulations to our colleagues in COB for this well-deserved honor in a field of growing importance.


The old D-Hall building has been demolished to make way for its replacement. Bricks from the old building are still available for purchase by clicking here. You can watch the time-lapse construction of the new building here. In the meantime D-Hub, the new temporary dining facility, is now open for business.

As you can see, we continue to be busy here on campus! Have a great summer!

Jon Alger

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Published: Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Last Updated: Monday, May 24, 2021

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