Board of Visitors summary of actions and discussions

JMU News

The James Madison University Board of Visitors met Friday, September 15, 2023 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 April 21, 2023 Board of Visitors meeting minutes, the April 22, 2023 retreat minutes, and the September 5, 2023 Executive Committee minutes. 

Accepted committee reports from Academic Excellence; Advancement and Engagement; Athletics; Audit/Risk and Compliance; Governance; Finance and Physical Development; and Student Affairs. 

Jon Alger, President; Donna Harper, Vice President for Access and Enrollment Management; Healther Coltman, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs; and Towana Moore, Vice President for Administration and Finance, presented the university’s six-year plan. 

Tim Miller, Vice President for Student Affairs, gave an overview of the new JMU VALOR military-centered resource center for students and faculty and staff. 

An overview of the university’s “Big Ideas” was provided by Chris Orem, Executive Director, Planning, Analytics and Institutional Research, and Sheila Smith, Associate Vice President of Planning and Operations. 

Myles Surrett, Associate Vice President of Career, Experiential Learning and Training, and Libby Westley, Director of the University Career Center, provided an overview of the university’s recent career outcomes data. 

JMU Board of Visitors voted to approve the Six-Year Plan and the Personnel Action Report. 

President Alger shared during his President’s Report:

  • An enrollment update was provided and the university set a record for applications with more than 37,000 at the undergraduate level, which is a 17% increase over last year;
  • JMU has joined a voluntary national effort to increase transparency in financial aid offers;
  • JMU is participating in the “earned admissions pathway,” which allows people who may be unsure about college and not able to relocate to Harrisonburg to take online JMU courses as non-degree-seeking and non-residential students to see if college is right for them;
  • Over the summer, JMU partnered with the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired to host visually impaired students on campus and a number of these campers are now JMU students;
  • The university will begin piloting the early student success system, which is the Salesforce CRM and a holistic and asset-based data analytics system aiding student support;
  • JMU is meeting workforce needs through the Work-Based Learning Task Force. This group is studying internships and similar experiences, with the goal to have all students complete at least one experience before graduation. In addition, this task force is working with the Commonwealth to prepare more teachers and nurses;
  • The current first-year class is at 4,954 with 3,567 in-state and 1,387 out-of-state, 24% underrepresented minorities, and 16% first generation, representing 39 states and 46 countries;
  • 1% of bachelor’s degree recipients and 97.2% of advanced degree recipients from JMU had career outcomes in a most recent survey;
  • A construction update was provided to include: the Carrier Library renovation, the Village Housing renovation and expansion, and the renovated Convocation Center;
  • An update on the state budget was provided to include that the General Assembly met this week and agreed upon the proposed amendments, JMU received more money for financial aid, a 2% salary increase will be provided for all faculty and staff, and funding was received for nursing faculty;
  • JMU faculty won more than $34 million in external research funding for FY23, which represents a 7.5% increase over 2022 and a 92% increase compared to 2019. This year JMU also won the largest single-year grant in its entire history at $3.6 million for early childhood education;
  • JMU’s research portfolio includes $23M/$34M in public service and outreach activities. These awards impact communities and businesses by enhancing educational opportunities, health, and well-being, transportation infrastructure and environmental sustainability.
  • X-Labs has created a Trailblazer Course Model, where an industry expert mentor engages in the development of a signature X-Labs learning experience;
  • An Artificial Intelligence Task Force has been developed to include faculty, staff, students and alumni. This task force will look at opportunities and challenges and study emerging practices;
  • A first-of-its-kind Innovation Center for Youth Justice is a new partnership with Justice Studies and Social Work to increase positive youth experiences, strengthen accountability, and enhance community safety;
  • JMU has been invited to participate as an academic partner with the Northern Virginia Technology Council;
  • A new academic partnership is the Project Paradigm, which works to create momentum and funding renovations across campus;
  • As an R2 national university, JMU continues to focus on global engagement by participating in the Global University Leaders Council (Germany) and the International Network of Universities (Hiroshima, Japan);
  • The university is hosting a remarkable lineup of speakers to present on civic engagement and free expression. Kay Coles James spoke just last week; Carly Fiorina will speak on Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. and Senator Tim Kaine will join us on Sept. 22;
  • Madison Trust has raised seed funding for over $1 million for 87 different projects over the past decade and Women for Madison has 77 founders and 123 members, who raised almost $1.4 million; and
  • It was announced that Athletic Director Jeff Bourne will retire from JMU at the end of this academic year after serving the university for 25 years. Jeff’s impact on JMU throughout his career is difficult to put into words. Fortunately, there are numerous examples that shine a bright light on his achievements and contributions, from the sustained success of our teams in athletic competition to the accolades our student-athletes regularly receive for their prowess in the classroom. Jeff’s commitment to JMU Athletics for the past 25 years has been felt on campus and across the nation. On behalf of the entire university, I congratulate Jeff on his upcoming retirement and the wonderful career he has had at JMU.

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Published: Friday, September 15, 2023

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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