Board of Visitors summary of actions

JMU News

The James Madison University Board of Visitors met Friday, April 19, 2024 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 Feb. 16, 2024, Board of Visitors meeting minutes and the April 3, 2024, Public Comment meeting minutes; and

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

Robin Bryan, associate vice president and CIO of Information Technology; David Kirkpatrick, chief of staff; Bob Kolvoord, dean, College of Integrated Science and Engineering; and Bethany Nowviskie, dean of Libraries and chief academic technology officer, provided updates on the AI Task Force;

JY Zhou, executive director, Center for Global Engagement; Griffin Hullinger, student; Tingzhe and Jack Zhao, students, presented updates from the Center for Global Engagement;

Towana Moore, vice president of administration and finance, presented the 2024-25 proposed tuition and fees; proposed 2025 summer tuition and fees; and the proposed 2024-25 budget. All were approved as presented;

The board voted and approved the following:

  • Charlie King to serve as interim president;
  • Suzanne Obenshain to serve as rector of the Board of Visitors;
  • Teresa “Terrie” Edwards to serve as vice rector of the Board of Visitors;
  • David Kirkpatrick, chief of staff, to serve as the board secretary;
  • Honorary street names for Jeff Bourne and Donna Harper and
  • To rename Spotswood Hall, upon its renovation, to Alger Hall, in honor of JMU President Jonathan Alger.

President Alger shared during his President’s Report:

  • Introductions of Matt Roan, director of athletics; Preston Spradlin, men’s basketball coach; and Bob Chesney, football coach;
  • The Career Fair will move from Festival Ballroom to AUBC due to an increase of 110.5% from 2021-2203. The total for all career fair attendance from 2023-2024 was 6,150, with 20.6% of the student population attending all career fairs in 2023;
  • 75 students conducted sustained service with community partners using Federal Work Study or Madison Community Scholar funds. Those students provided service with 55 unique community partners and completed 9,901 hours with an average of 131 hours per student;
  • JMU has partnered with Dr. Ken Rutherford, Fulbright Scholar at the University of Foreign Languages –Hue University (HUFLIS) in Spring 2024. The partnership creates new relationships and collaboration between JMU and HUFLIS, as well as Vietnam and the United States;
  • The State Council of Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV) formally approved the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree program in Education, effective Spring 2025. The proposed program will require 60 credit hours, be delivered in a hybrid format and will not require additional state resources;
  • The FY24 Appropriations Bill included a $1 million congressionally directed spending award to JMU;
  • The Early Healthcare Workforce Pipeline Development Project (PDP) is a partnership between JMU’s AAAD, CHBS, Virginia public schools and medical districts, and African American communities. The PDP will offer community-based, experiential solutions to address disparities in representation in the profession and in health outcomes;
  • The JMU Brass Band finished in first place in the Champions Section of the North American Brass Brand Association Championships (NABBA). Many of their competitors included university faculty talent. The Massanutten Brass Band placed first in the second section of the competition;
  • The JMU Speech Team finished 16th in the nation at the American Forensic Association's National Speech Tournament at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. The 16th place finish marked their second highest placement since 2000 and their first time placing in the top 20 since 2011. For the first time ever, JMU students were named to the 16-person 2024 All-American Team, Lexie Burns and Arina Drovetskaya;
  • In April, several Latino students from JMU and Harrisonburg High School visited the White House to screen "The Long Game" film, accompanied by CAL Assistant Dean, Karina Kline-Gabel. Students met the cast and participated in a discussion at the White House event organized by Sol Ortega, the White House engagement senior advisor for public engagement;
  • On March 20th, Dr. Richard Mitchell, commissioner of Virginia Department for Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI), was the keynote speaker at the JMU Diversity Conference highlighting access and inclusion. Appointed by Governor Youngkin, Dr. Mitchell emphasized the importance of tenacity and adaptability while encouraging the audience to partner with individuals who have disabilities;
  • On April 9, Virginia Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera visited JMU for a conversation on bridging political divides and the importance of civic education. This conversation, which included audience Q&A, was facilitated by President Alger and Democracy Fellow Valeria Lopez-Postigo;
  • Chief of Staff David Kirkpatrick joined a small group of higher ed leaders at Georgetown University to discuss national efforts at improving free speech and bridging divides on college campuses;
  • The Madison Center celebrated Civics Education Week with a panel on equipping K-12 students as civic leaders, featuring HCPS board chair, RCPS and HCPS teachers, and the Director of Education from the Morven Park Center for Civic Impact;
  • President Alger spoke at the Advancing Campus Pluralism conference in D.C. on intellectual diversity and JMU's national leadership on these themes; and
  • Upon reconvening of the meeting, the Board of Visitors discussed the process of the presidential search.

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Published: Friday, April 19, 2024

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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