JMU News

Board of Visitors Summary of Actions and Discussions

April 24, 2020

by Caitlyn Read


The James Madison University Board of Visitors met by electronic communication means on Friday, April 24, 2020 at 1 p.m. to discuss with university leadership the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The following is a summary of key areas of discussion at the board meeting:

  • Received reports related to the university’s COVID-19 response:
    • Received an overview from President Jonathan Alger
    • Received a report on the transition to online during the Spring 2020 semester and academic policy adjustments from Heather Coltman, Provost and Senior Vice President, Academic Affairs
    • Received a report on student support, residence life and orientation from Tim Miller, Vice President, Student Affairs
    • Received a report on admissions, financial aid and commencement from Donna Harper, Vice President, Access and Enrollment Management
    • Received a report on fundraising and the Unleashed campaign from Nick Langridge, Vice President, University Advancement
    • Received a report on changes for athletics from Jeff Bourne, Director of Athletics
    • Received a report on the strategic plan from Brian Charette, Special Assistant to the President for Strategic Planning & Engagement
    • Received a report on fiscal impact and General Assembly updates from Charles King, Senior Vice President, Administration and Finance

These reports noted the following:

  • JMU moved 5,441 classes online during the Spring 2020 semester, with over 21,000 students and 1,403 full and part-time instructional faculty transitioning to online learning.
  • The university developed flexibility in Academic Affairs’ policies and procedures and is coordinating with state and accreditation agencies.
  • JMU Libraries and The Center for Faculty Innovation provided invaluable support in the transition to online learning.
  • Student Affairs continues to meet the needs of students virtually; some examples include the Vice President of Student Affairs offering weekly chats, and the Counseling Center and UREC now offering online services.
  • The Pop-Up Pantry is providing food to those who might need it during this time.
  • Since Jan. 24, JMU issued 25 university-level COVID-19 communications, had 174,965+ views on the university’s COVID-19 webpage, received 587 emails to, and analyzed 940 media articles on JMU’s response to COVID-19.
  • JMU Admissions continues to encourage students to attend in the Fall, and launched virtual CHOICES to bring the campus visit experience online and answer questions.
  • The College of Health and Behavioral Studies, the College of Visual and Performing Arts and the College of Science and Math donated unused medical supplies to local healthcare providers.
  • JMU partnered with Open Doors and the City of Harrisonburg to provide shelter to the local homeless population.
  • JMU X-Labs worked on a digital platform and was able to create a virtual Harrisonburg Farmers Market with drive-thru pickup.
  • The JMU Gus Bus (community reading/literacy program) moved to a virtual model. 

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Published: Friday, April 24, 2020

Last Updated: Friday, April 24, 2020

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