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Board of Visitors Summary of Actions and Discussions


November 2020 Board of Visitors Summary of Action and Discussions 

The James Madison University Board of Visitors met Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in the Festival Conference and Student Center. 

The following is a summary of actions taken by the board and key areas of discussion at the board meeting: 

  • Approved the Sept. 18, 2020, Board of Visitors meeting minutes; 
  • Accepted committee reports from the Academics & Student Life, Advancement, Athletics, Audit and Finance & Physical Development committees; 
  • Received a COVID-19 update presented by Tim Miller, vice president for Student Affairs; Heather Coltman, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs; and Nick Langridge, vice president for Advancement; 
  • Received an access and enrollment strategies update presented by Michael Walsh, dean of Admissions; Brad Barnett, director of Financial Aid and Scholarships; Diane Strawbridge, executive director for Student Access and Inclusion; Monyette Martin, assistant director of Admissions; and Donna Harper, vice president for Access and Enrollment Management; 
  • The Task Force on Inclusion provided an update on membership and initiatives. The Task Force gathered nominations and recruited members including students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members;   
  • Charlie King, senior vice president for Administration and Finance, shared a summary of the General Assembly special session and the implications for the university’s budget. 

Was told by President Jonathan R. Alger during his President’s Report: 

  • Members of JMU’s ROTC unit displayed great heroism following an Oct. 17 explosion in Harrisonburg near the site of the U.S. Army Ten Miler race, in which cadets and cadre were participating; 
  • Faculty, Teaching and Innovation discussed overcoming challenges surrounding online laboratories. Equity, Access and Inclusion initiatives are advancing amidst the pandemic. Initiatives span dance and theatre education and performance, guest speakers and partnerships, including with the Anti-Defamation League, National Disability Theatre and Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community; 
  • The James Madison Center for Civic Engagement provided consistent and coordinated messaging before and after Election Day and numerous events for students, faculty, staff and the community; 
  • The Madison Vision Series is hosting four presentations in 2020-21, including three virtual events. “The Future of Bipartisanship” on Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. will feature alumni and Virginia legislators Rep. Kirk Cox, a Republican, and Sen. Scott Surovell, a Democrat; 
  • JMU is providing leadership across the nation and state through involvement in professional organizations, including the American Council on Education, Association of American Colleges & Universities and American Association of State College and Universities, as well as the Nov. 10 Virginia Education Summit; 
  • Much of JMU’s programming has been moved to virtual formats, including tours and open houses, Homecoming, Women for Madison and Parents Council; 
  • The Fall 2020 enrollment report shows 19,727 undergraduate students and 1,867 graduate students for a total of 21,594 students; 
  • Caitlyn Read is JMU’s director of state government relations. She previously served as director of communications and university spokesperson. Mary-Hope Vass is the interim director of communications and university spokesperson; 
  • The newest alumni chapter is the Federal Dukes, an 800-member chapter that connects alumni working in the federal government; 
  • Justice Studies Hall, currently undergoing renovation, will open in January 2021 to house the Department of Justice Studies. The hall was one of the first two campus buildings completed in 1909; 
  • The Atlantic Union Bank Center is nearing completion. Men’s and Women’s Basketball games are scheduled to start in the new arena Nov. 25; 
  • The Peter L. Via Mineral Collection, the largest gift in the history of JMU, is an estate gift containing 244 specimens valued at $16,861,215; 
  • A substantial gift from Jim and Carolyn Hartman supports the naming of the new College of Business building—Hartman Hall. The naming recognizes the Hartmans, their son, Scott, and their daughter, Jennifer Risser; 
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in decisive actions to keep the spread in check. Actions have focused on increased testing, quarantine and isolation space, safety measures and student conduct. The Spring 2021 semester calendar has been adjusted.


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Published: Friday, November 6, 2020

Last Updated: Friday, November 6, 2020

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