JMU News

Board of Visitors summary of action and discussions


The James Madison University Board of Visitors met Thursday, February 18 and Friday, February 19 virtually. 

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

Approved the November 6, 2020, Board of Visitors meeting minutes; 

Accepted committee reports from the Academics & Student Life, Advancement, Athletics, Audit and Finance & Physical Development committees; 

Received a recommendation and voted to rename three buildings on the historic Quad for Drs. Joanne V. and Alexander Gabbin; Dr. Sheary Darcus Johnson (’70, ’74M); and Doris Harper Allen (’19H) and Robert Walker Lee. 

Charlie King, senior vice president for Administration and Finance, shared a summary of the General Assembly and the implications for the university’s budget; 

Received a COVID-19 update on student life by Tim Miller, vice president for Student Affairs; academics by Heather Coltman, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs; and communications by Nick Langridge, vice president for Advancement; 

A racial equity and diversity, equity and inclusion update was provided by Rudy Molina, Vice Provost for Academic Student Success on behalf of the Task Force on Racial Equity; 

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

The JMU community experienced the loss of Professor and Director of the Gandhi Center for Global Nonviolence, Terry Beitzel; 

Discussed spring enrollment and recruitment with new strategies focusing on the personal touch, and virtual CHOICES brought 1,500 in attendance; 

The update on the Graduate School included a report on the 188 spring doctoral students (21% increase), masters enrollment is 1,427 (above the high recorded in 2019), and new high of international graduate students enrolled at 57; 

A comparison in Honors College Data was provided from 2015-2020 to include the percentage of non-white students increased from 14% to 25.4%, admissions – increased yield from 34% to 47%, National Fellowships has increased and the completion rate has risen by 7.7% for incoming first-year students; 

Efforts are underway to prepare for the transition to a National Research University, new Carnegie classification and a key focus will be for JMU to build on its identity and strengths; 

An update from the Office of Research & Scholarship was given in that the current year (FY21) funding is 7% ahead over the same period in FY20; 

Kurt Paterson, professor of Engineering, has been named a Jefferson Science Fellowship and will be placed at the U.S. State Department’s Office of Management Strategy and Solutions as a senior sustainability advisor; 

John Almarode, College of Education, was named 2021 Outstanding Faculty Award by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and is one of 12 recipients statewide; 

Representing the College of Science and Mathematics, Heather Griscom, was named with the Cinquegrana Award; 

An update on the 2020-21 Fulbright Student Scholarships was provided, with 31 semi-finalists and JMU is #3 among Master’s institutions nationally; 

International collaborations were recently conducted with covid lessons learned being exchanged with presidents of universities in Albania; and the JMU Supply Chain Club sent medical equipment and supplies to African hospitals dealing with the Ebola Crisis; 

Other recent recognitions are for Steven Davic, junior majoring in anthropology and intelligence analysis, being named a Newman Civic Fellow and Eric Nickel, director of University Recreation, being given the Honor Award by the National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association; 

An update on expanded technology use was provided in how JMU is incorporating lessons learned from the pandemic, including the innovative use of technology; 

JMU Athletics will be hosting the CAA Men’s basketball tournament this March, all sports begin in the next month and football begins tomorrow; 

Student Affairs DEI update includes the hire of Dr. Brent Lewis, who shares goals to elevate the essential work of the Center for Multicultural Student Services, Sexual Orientation Gender Identity and Expression and the Office of Disability Services; and 

The next Madison Vision Series will be presented virtually on Feb. 24 from 7-8:30 p.m. with audience Q&A to follow. This will feature five Black JMU Alumni to discuss the ways JMU has prepared them for future success.


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Published: Friday, February 19, 2021

Last Updated: Friday, February 19, 2021

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