#EngagedJMU Fall Newsletter


SUMMARY: This is your Fall '18 update on engagement-related work at JMU. In this edition, we highlight the success of JMU's Engagement for the Public Good conference, hear from the Engagement Fellows on their experience and put a spotlight on some community engaged faculty work, Immigrant Harrisonburg.

Engagement for the Public Good Conference: #EPG18 breaks all attendance estimates

During the lunch plenary on Nov 8th, panel speakers and leading national voices on civic learning and democratic engagement (from left to right) Jen Domagal-Goldman, Timothy Shaffer and Verdis Robinson engage in discussion regarding the current state of US politics and how colleges and universities can aim towards engaging students in democratic renewal. The panel was moderated by Abe Goldberg (right), Executive Director of the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement.

JMU's inaugural Engagement for the Public Good conference at Hotel Madison and Shenandoah Valley Conference Center was an undeniable success. We thank and acknowledge JMU President Jon Alger, the entire conference planning task force, our sponsors, Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport and Engagement Scholarship Consortium, and our engagement advocates, Campus Compact and Kettering Foundation.

Scott Ingram presents on the JMU Engagement Fellows Program and his personal experience as the Fellow focusing on Ethical Reasoning and why he chose to engage in this experience at JMU. The other seven current Fellows shared their experiences as well.


Participants from JMU and other institutions engage in discussion during a President's Institute session.


Attendees reflect on how their local community views their university during a session entitled, "Neighborhood Engagement: A Two-Way Street" co-presented by Tito Luna and Michael Rackett (both from VCU) on Nov 8th.


Linda Hulton (Professor, JMU Nursing) presents "Engaging Community Partners: Healthcare for the Homeless" during the healthcare-themed Lightning Round on Nov 8th.


Roundtable co-presenter Tito Luna from VCU (left) holds dicussion with conference attendees after his session entitled, "Neighborhood Engagement: A Two-Way Street" on Nov 8th.


Timothy Eatman from Rutgers University-Newark presents the closing keynote entitled "Publicly Engaged Scholarship in Diverse Communities".


Attendees discuss ideas with keynote speaker Timothy Eatman on how to implement concepts of publicly engaged scholarship into their work.


#EPG18 on Twitter:





Engagement Fellows describe experience in just three words

At James Madison University, Engagement Fellows are recent JMU alumni who focus on promoting and fostering engaged learning, community engagement and civic engagement in and around the campus community by dedicating nine months of service to one area of university engagement. To learn more about the JMU Engagement Fellows, visit their page.

From left to right: Joshua Stick, Scott Ingram, Liv Stephens, Livvy Call, Autumn Cox, Tyler Stanley, Alexandra Conis, Nick Swartz (Engagement Fellows Program Co-Director), Shelby Taraba, Mike Davis (Engagement Fellows Program Co-Director), Justin Bullman (Project Coordinator)


We asked the 2018-2019 Engagement Fellows for three words to sum up their experience thus far:

Livvy Call, Food Access and Security – adventure, intention, depth

Alexandra Conis, Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services (IIHHS) – empathy, humility, passion

Autumn Cox, Student Connection with Engagement – growth, opportunity, engaged

Scott Ingram, Ethical Reasoning – enlightening, challenging, inspiring

Tyler Stanley, Montpelier – rewarding, exhilarating, fun

Liv Stephens, Office of the President – transformative, impactful, eye-opening

Joshua Stick, Valley Scholars – vision, opportunity, pragmatism

Shelby Taraba, James Madison Center for Civic Engagement – challenging, fulfilling, humbling


Spotlight on engaged faculty work: Immigrant Harrisonburg


Carlos Alemán (Communication Studies), Daniel Morales (History) and Kristin Wylie (Political Science) are among over a dozen JMU faculty members who, through the involvement of their students, contribute to the work of Immigrant Harrisonburg. This coordinating group for community engagement as it relates to immigrant communities is attempting to solve an organizational problem many universities face with their local communities; for faculty and community members, Immigrant Harrisonburg streamlines communication and accountability across disciplines for the benefit of the community.

Alemán said, “The question is, how do we make sure we’re not imposing or burdening on all of the different community organizations? How can we as students and faculty do better in coordinating our teaching, our research activities and our community engagement in a way that is mutually beneficial? Mutually empowering?” 

In fact, Immigrant Harrisonburg was created after conversations between JMU faculty members and Church World Service Harrisonburg about finding practical ways to streamline communication, coordinate projects and programming, and support community partners and agencies effectively.

Morales says that in the past, though there might have been 10-15 professors with some aspect of immigrant community engagement in their classes, for the most part, none of them had ever coordinated with each other. “We also wanted to make sure that agencies aren’t getting 15 requests from 15 classes every semester. We needed some sort of coordination. Something that’s sustained over time, something that’s lasting. This is all under the umbrella of Immigrant Harrisonburg.”

One way faculty connect students to Immigrant Harrisonburg is engaging students across College of Arts and Letters disciplines in research and creative work. The group’s goals are to document and celebrate the lives of immigrants in Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley, and to “inquire the social, cultural and historical contexts of their storied experiences”, according to Alemán. Students in Morales’ classes (History of Immigration and Latino History) do oral history training, then begin researching, recording and compiling oral histories that are archived on the site.

Morales explains that in a traditional 400- level class, students might do a research project that ends in a paper. Best case scenario, the paper might be presented at a conference. “But then the paper dies - as in - no one ever reads it again,” Morales says. “The research that the students did never went to anything larger. In this case, the idea is that the research component is going to be oral histories and adding to the website. Now this is publicly accessible to future generations, classes, students and community members.”

Alemán says, “This is more than just a grade. You’re part of a community here. A community of researchers…This is not immigration advocacy, this is immigrant advocacy. It’s learning to advocate for people,” Alemán said. “Those stories, those lives impacted. Immigrants are what make Harrisonburg Harrisonburg. That’s the unique defining feature of Harrisonburg. We’re the friendly city.”

Learn more about Immigrant Harrisonburg and view work here.


Stay in the know about civic engagement at JMU!

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#DukesVote: JMU students showed up to vote in the historic 2018 midterm elections. Read more about JMU's student voter turnout on "Educating4Democracy", a blog by the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement and Dukes Vote.

Shelby Taraba (center), the JMU Engagement Fellow for Civic Engagement, helps coordinate at a voter registration event for the JMU football team facilitated by the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement.


Join the engagement conversation on Twitter! Follow us @JMUEngaged. Here's what your colleagues are saying about #EngagedJMU:




Check out the Engagement section of the Talent Development Resource Collection!

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We have created an Engagement section within JMU Talent Development's Resource Collection, which is located on the third floor of Wine-Price. You'll find a great selection of topics covering civic engagement, community engagement and engaged learning. Do you know of a title that would make a great addition to this collection? Email us at engagement@jmu.edu or tweet a photo of the book to @JMUEngaged!


Are you doing engaged work related to civic engagement, community engagement or engaged learning? Share it  here to thank your colleagues, students and community partners for making that work possible.

Have ideas for the next #EngagedJMU newsletter? Email us at engagement@jmu.edu or tweet us @JMUEngaged!



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Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 6, 2022

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