The Beacon – 17th Edition – November 2021

Spotlighting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at JMU

The Beacon feature logo

SUMMARY: The Beacon celebrates diversity, equity and inclusion at JMU by spotlighting upcoming engaging opportunities, highlighting campus initiatives, and featuring individuals at the forefront of creating an inclusive community at JMU.

327410_headshots_of_nick_langridge-1012_300x200.jpgThe Intersection of Generosity and Hope

The meaning of “Philanthropy” is derived from two Greek words: 1) philein – to love and 2) anthropos – humankind. 

We live in a time where “I” is outscoring “we” and “us." Philanthropy invites us to imagine victory outside the boundaries of the “what’s in it for me” mentality.

Philanthropy done right means an investment in people/humankind. When we turn our attention to the needs of others, instead of only our personal gain, we are believing in a better and stronger future for everyone. 

When we care for other people and purposes enough to give our time, talents and treasure… the results are powerful. This is evident within our JMU Family through giving to such efforts as the African, African American and Diaspora Studies Center, the Centennial Scholars Program and departments like our Center For Multicultural Student Services, to name only a few.

According to the World Giving Index, the United States has been the number one country in giving for the last decade. Of those surveyed, 72% reported helping a stranger, 61% reported donating to a charity and 42% reported having volunteered their time to an organization. At JMU, we are the fortunate recipients of each of those giving categories due to the way our community cares for one another.

While our country is reported as leading in generosity, Americans currently have given ~2% of Gross Domestic Product annually for the past four decades. We are stuck on what has been described as the “stubborn 2%.” I believe if we bring a fresh lens and enhanced diversity to the mutual benefit of philanthropy, and make room for all to join in together, we can aspire to reach the 3% threshold within this century and for the first time in history.

As we pursue the future of giving, there are several key considerations:

  • Donors come from all backgrounds and facets of our constituency groups.
  • Intentionality in how we invite philanthropic participation matters.
  • Individuals and communities who benefit from philanthropy deserve voice and dignity in the process.
  • When we highlight new funding priorities, such as those aimed at enhancing DEI, our donor base expands noticeably.
  • Giving to create equitable access leads to greater racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity, which enriches our campus community.

Being purposeful as we seek to understand our diverse set of donors and to include the perspectives of those who will benefit from giving is important as we grow our culture of philanthropy. When we are purposeful in such ways, philanthropy is set to play a role in inviting a brilliant blend of people to come to our campus, enjoy mutual respect and fair treatment, and be included in a way where each of “us” belongs.

I end with an invitation.  If you have an idea how to better invite a broader spectrum of individuals to join together in philanthropy at JMU, let’s talk. We are committed to finding the best ways to resonate with and encourage our JMU community to give, support and celebrate the shared victory TOGETHER.  When generosity and hope intersect, we’ll witness a powerful impact.

Nick Langridge
Vice President for University Advancement

In this issue:

Broadening Your Horizons
Upcoming Events, Resources and Recent Recordings

The Journey Back to Home
Carlos G. Alemán 
School of Communication Studies and Professor in Residence at Harrisonburg City Public Schools

Building Bridges towards Racial Equity
Rebeca Barge
Associate Director, CMSS

The Fight for Proper Action
Tyler Jones
President of the Black Student Alliance

At the Forefront
Initiatives Making a Difference

Building Awareness of DEI Leadership across Campus
Resources to explore leadership roles and contacts around campus

Task Force on Racial Equity November Update

Back to Top

Broadening Your Horizons:

Upcoming Events

photo of guest viewing current exhibitExuberance: Dialogues in African-American Abstract Painting

This celebration of African American abstract painters from the 1950s to present day features artists Norman Lewis, Rico Gatson, Nanette Carter, Ronald Walton, Lisa Corinne Davis, Lamerol Gatewood, Erika Ranee and Susan Zurbrigg, among others. The exhibition showcases cross-generational dialogues on race and identity as well as the dynamics of pattern, color, rhythm and gesture. Co-curated by Susan Zurbrigg and Beth Hinderliter. Learn more here.

Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Art, Duke Hall, through December 10th

Virtual Artist Talk with Lisa Corinne Davis:
Tuesday, November 16, 5:00 p.m.
Register for link.

Madison Trust headerMadison Trust Faculty Funding Proposal Deadline

JMU’s Madison Trust is an opportunity to pitch your program or project to dozens of donor-investors who are primed to respond positively and have pledged significant support in advance. Submit your proposal to be considered for this year’s faculty funding event which will be held in the spring. Selected finalists will be notified in late December. Since 2014, Madison Trust has provided $835,275 to 67 worthy projects. To learn more about them, please visit the Madison Trust website

Proposal Deadline: Friday, November 19, midnight

photo of Marsha Mays-BernardStress Management and Self-Care with Marsha Mays-Bernard

The COB Diversity Council Speaker Series welcomes Marsha Mays-Bernard in supporting student mental health and well-being as final exam season approaches. Students will walk away with practical tips and techniques they can utilize to help manage their stress levels and support their self-care.

Tuesday, November 30, 7:00 p.m.
Hartman Hall Forum (Room 2021) or via Zoom (Register for Zoom link)

Global Civil Rights Symposium flyerGlobal Civil Rights Symposium

Join us for the Global Civil Rights Symposium on Thursday, December 2nd at 7:00 pm in Festival Ballroom A. The evening will feature keynote speaker Dr. Iliana Yamileth Rodriguez, whose personal history and research explores Mexican-American civil rights movements. Her public lecture, Latinx Civil Rights Struggles in the US South, will be followed by a dessert reception and research poster display by students of REL 450. Religion and Society: The Global Civil Rights Movement. For questions contact David Kirkpatrick.

Thursday, December 2, 7:00 p.m.
Festival Ballroom A

graphic for panel disussionWomen in Tech: Forging a Path

Women for Madison is excited to present an engaging and in-depth look into the tech world as experienced by a panel of amazing women-in-tech leaders that are also JMU alums! Learn more about this enriching lunchtime webinar. 

Thursday, December 9, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Offered virtually, pre-register for link

flyer for SOMOS conferenceCollaborations Across the Commonwealth: Somos JMU Latinx Conference

Mark your calendar now for the inaugural Somos JMU Latinx Conference. Collaborations Across the Commonwealth will bring Latino/a/x Virginia stakeholders together to network and share calls for action. Through presentations, panels and workshops, presenters and attendees will examine current trends in Latinx topics such as social justice, health equity, identity, representation and how this population is reshaping the demographics in the Commonwealth. 

Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to submit proposals online by December 20.

Friday, March 4
Festival Conference Center

photo of dancer with long golden scarfBallet Hispánico

Ballet Hispánico, America’s leading Latino dance organization, is known for highlighting the richness of the Latino culture through a fusion of classical, Latin and contemporary dance, all powered by theatricality, athleticism, and passion. Celebrating 50 years, Ballet Hispánico is now led by Eduardo Vilaro, whose bold and compassionate programming reflects our changing social and cultural landscape. Reserve tickets now. 

Friday–Saturday, January 28–29
Forbes Center for the Performing Arts - Mainstage Theatre

Resources and Recent Recordings

photo of Harry DunnSaving Democracy: Capitol Police Office Harry Dunn (’05)

JMU Civic partnered with Dukes LEAD and brought Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, JMU Health Sciences ‘05, to share his experiences fighting for democracy on January 6, 2021. “These people were minutes, seconds, feet away from hanging the Vice President. Just sit with that,” said Officer Dunn. He is speaking out for justice and accountability because “People are trying to rewrite history right in front of us...Terrorism is what they did that day. In my mind, they’re coming back. We have to hold them accountable.” Listen to JMU Civic's interview with Officer Dunn on Democracy Matters.

photo of Liz ThompsonOpen, Affordable Textbooks Make Courses More Accessible

Last year, JMU students saved nearly $900,000 in book costs thanks to open educational resources. But open access is not just about saving money. As Liz Thompson, JMU’s Open Education Librarian explains, “When instructors assign open and affordable course materials, they are offering students an alternative way to access required readings that makes a course more accessible not only for low-income students and visually impaired students, but for everyone.”

Faculty can support students and make courses more accessible by selecting open and affordable course content. Learn more in JMU Libraries’ feature story Meet Our Champion for Open, Affordable Textbooks

photo of Jim BywaterFaculty Leading by Example with Open and Affordable Resources

Students in Jim Bywater’s classes did not spend any money on textbooks for his courses this semester. That’s because he is using open, affordable course materials for all his classes, both undergraduate and graduate. As Director of Educational Technology Programs in JMU’s College of Education, Jim leads by example, giving the current and aspiring teachers in his classes a chance to experience open educational resources from a student perspective. Learn more in JMU Libraries’ newest Feature Friday Q&A.

photo of book displayRead About Afghanistan: A New Book Display

As the current crisis in Afghanistan continues to unfold, you might want to understand the situation better or learn how to support Afghan people. JMU Libraries has a new book display, Read About Afghanistan (selected by Yasmeen Shorish), which helps to highlight the history, heritage, culture, beauty and complexities of Afghanistan, Afghan people and members of the Afghan diaspora. It also includes actions you can take in addition to reading. The display is available online and in the lobby of Rose Library.

photo of student speaking in front of displayBlack Studies and Black Spaces Exhibit

The Black Studies and Black Spaces exhibit features the course work of students who sought to locate JMU within this national history, while creating an archive for JMU Special of locations of display The exhibit, currently on view throughout the ISAT/CS/EnGeo/Phys/Chem buildings, was recently celebrated at an event featuring contributing faculty and students.

Black Studies and Black Spaces: Black Critical Frameworks and Communities at JMU and Beyond, 1968 to the Present is a course developed through a Provost’s Faculty Curriculum Diversity Grant. The course’s exhibit will be up through early 2022.

collage of four hispanic movie postersCelebrate Hispanic American Heritage in Film

National Hispanic Heritage Month has drawn to a close, but we can keep celebrating the contributions of Latinx and Hispanic communities around the world all year long by learning more about Hispanic and Latinx history, identity and resilience through film.

Check out the Hispanic American film collection of 129 streaming videos in Kanopy – an award-winning video streaming service providing independent and documentary films, available to you for free through JMU Libraries. Top-rated Hispanic movies include My Bolivia, Brown Buffalo, Collisions, and 25 Texans in the Land of Lincoln.

Panel Discussions Hosted by the Black Alumni Chapter

photos of panelistsCOVID-19: Part II, Straight Talk with the Virginia Department of Health: A panel discussion on the importance of understanding and overcoming healthcare misinformation in the Black community. Panelists included Black alumni and VDH experts. View recorded session.

B(l)ack in the Days: A panel discussion showcasing the Madison experience through the viewpoints of African-American alumni who graduated from the ‘70s through today.

In Focus

photo of Carlos AlemanThe Journey Back to Home
Carlos G. Alemán 
Associate Professor, School of Communication Studies and Professor in Residence at Harrisonburg City Public Schools

I have been teaching in the School of Communication Studies since 1998. I met and fell in love with my partner, Melissa Alemán, nearly 30 years ago in graduate school at the University of Iowa, where we both earned our doctorate degrees in Communication Studies. My first academic position was as an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago, a wonderfully diverse and inclusive campus where I felt at home. We chose to apply to JMU when several job postings were made late in the year for revolving term appointments. We saw this an opportunity to leave Chicago to again work together in the same department and to move a little closer to her family.  

I felt unwelcomed at the outset of my career at JMU, as it was a radical shift from the campus environment in Chicago. I first experienced this culture shock when I left my home in Fresno, CA, for doctoral study. While I came to realize the otherness of my gendered, sexualized, and racialized self at Iowa, living Chicago helped me to realize the comfort of myself as Chicano and the grace of growing up poor. But teaching at JMU could be a whole different experience of polite othering from folks who respected my position in the classroom, to outright hostility from students who did not. Fortunately, long conversations with supportive students and colleagues helped me to embrace who I am, the lived experiences I’ve brought with me, and the questions I’m still asking. 

I was invited to be a JMU PIR at the right moment in my career, and I can’t overstate how the PIR opportunity for building academic outreach and college access in our local community has continued to be nourishing and transformative for me. The PIR program was developed along with other bold initiatives, such as the JMU Centennial Scholars Program, at a time when many were looking for bold changes to address the lack of student and faculty diversity on our campus. The opportunity to mentor and support first-generation, immigrant and under-resourced students in our local public schools as a PIR faculty brought me back to home. 

So many people write of our nation today as increasingly fragmented by groupings, if not hostile. That’s not a new experience for me, but it’s also not how I want to live my life. I find hope in the playfulness and optimism of the middle and high school students I have the chance to learn from, especially as they talk about one day going to college. I hope that we will listen to them when they get here.


photo of Rebeca BargeBuilding Bridges towards Racial Equity
Rebeca Barge
Associate Director, CMSS

I am a woman, a partner, a mother and an enthusiastic JMU employee. One of the most significant steps in my career, and in my life, was being invited to join the Center for Multicultural Student Services as an Associate Director. I have been challenged and warmly invited into inter-racial relationships with colleagues and students that has shaped me profoundly over the last two years in this role.

I’ve understood myself to be a woman my whole life; I had not understood myself as a white woman most of my life. So much of my identity and self-expression was formed in Latin America. My parents worked in Central America in peacebuilding and development, and I was born and raised outside of the United States. I speak Spanish and English, and moved to the United States when I was 12. It took most of my life to understand who I am, and many people along the way have contributed to my growth. My grounding in who I am comes from embracing my identity as a white woman, as a native Spanish speaker, as being able-bodied, and using these privileges to build bridges towards racial equity rather than helping to maintain a system of white supremacy.

It takes effort, vulnerability, introspection and honest relationships to look at and understand my whiteness and other salient identities. We have such significant opportunities to model these actions in our roles at JMU, to each other and to students, that my hope is to be consistent as a practitioner in Student Affairs in displaying and living by these values.

I was moved by two comments Dr. Estela Bensimon stated this past spring in the Racial Equity Conversation. I paraphrase from my notes: “Reading about anti-racist work doesn’t make me anti-racist. Reading about mountain climbing does not make me a climber.” The second comment I remember was: “Don’t just share your outrage in private; stand up in public to the racist comment.” I took these both as clear invitations and challenges to intentionally apply my unlearning and embrace the learning that continues to takes place each week here on campus.

tyler_jones_224x300.jpgThe Fight for Proper Action
Tyler Jones
President of the Black Student Alliance

My name is Tyler Jones and I am a Senior International Affairs major, minoring in Spanish, African, African-American Diaspora (AAAD) Studies and Honors Interdisciplinary Studies. I am a 21-year-old man of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. from Chesterfield County, Va. I attended James River High School through the Leadership & International Relations Specialty Center. I am the youngest of five siblings; three sisters and two brothers. I am an uncle to four nieces and five nephews.

My upbringing and support with which I was raised, fortunately by both of my parents, have inspired and driven me to achieve in life. My father was the youngest of three, born in 1960 in Indianapolis, In. to a driven educator from Tennessee and a former sharecropper from Mississippi. My mother is one of seven born in 1962 in Newport, R.I. to a first-generation Mexican-American and a first-generation Cape Verdean-American.

I am blessed to have traveled to eight countries so far in my life, and I have a lot more to go. I had the privilege to study abroad through the Honors College & CGE in the Dominican Republic, where we not only basked in the culture of la isla, but we learned about the history of Hispaniola and volunteered at a K-8 school. My future goals range from traveling the world, to leaving a legacy of a better experience for students of color here at JMU, to being of service to communities in need and living a happy life.

As a Black student, I experienced the common internal struggle: HBCU or PWI? My decision to attend this predominately and historically white institution of higher learning came at an opportunity cost. I recognized I would be sacrificing the culture and support system that HBCUs have to offer. However, in choosing this PWI, I perceived two things: the opportunities and doors that would be opened to me and the pathway I could forge for those behind me by continuing to dismantle its roots in white supremacy.

My high school did not look much different from JMU, so I believed I was “prepared for battle” so to speak. I had researched the resources connected to my major of interest and student organizations/clubs that would provide programming and foster community on campus. This led me to the Center for Multicultural Student Services (CMSS) and, eventually, I pursued membership and leadership roles within the Black Student Alliance, the Latinx Student Alliance and the Intercultural Greek Council. I identify best with servant leadership, which has driven me to advocate for myself and others through the Black Leadership Coalition, the College of Arts & Letters Student Diversity Council, the Honors College Diversity Council, the CMSS Student Advisory Council, and the Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Student Advisory Board. Apart from fulfilling my father and family’s legacy, the history, value of achievement and brotherhood of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. motivated me to become a Spring 2020 So1o initiate into the Nu Lambda Chapter here at James Madison University. All of these conversations, relationships and life lessons have shaped me into the leader and person I am today.  

Being a member of these organizations has reminded me of how much power I possess as a student and as an individual. I should never tolerate gradualism or less than I deserve. I’ve become aware of the differences between genuine allyship and performative activism; to be a true ally means trading your comfortability and/or privilege for the inclusion and awareness of others. Everyone who I have had the privilege to work beside has motivated me to continue the fight for proper action toward Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion here at JMU and within the entire realm of higher education. It is never easy to work against the grain, to chart a path that others deemed cautionary or unthinkable. However, I am inspired by those who would not take no for an answer and by those who recognize the disparity in the chance for opportunity and choice, and create actionably just change.  

It is no secret that the opportunity for higher education was once denied to those outside of the White race. And it is no secret that there are still barriers being broken within this realm of privileged academia. I am aware that I will never have the “normal” college experience that my fellow White peers have basked in for the past few years. While they walked into every space, feeling joyful and welcomed, I was apprehensive of what thoughts hid behind those judgmental eyes. I was wary of what events or resources would be provided in order for me to feel safe, seen and heard.

My hope for this university is that we stick by “Being the Change” and actually doing the work. Those outside of the majority, often unheard and misrepresented, should not only have two shelters in the rain: the Center for Multicultural Student Services (CMSS) and the Furious Flower Poetry Center (“conveniently” on the outer edge of campus). Student leaders of color are stretched too thin because if we do not do the work, then who will?! We must provide that home and community for our members on campus, all while battling micro-aggressions in the classroom and tearing down elitist barriers within the administration.

While it is uncomfortable to illustrate the true nature and history of this institution, JMU must come to terms with its roots being entrenched in indigenous upheaval and White supremacy. These roots never healed, but were paved over by beautiful bluestone, too enticing to ever peel back to reveal its true flesh. We cannot simply see an increase in the number of students of color here at JMU as an accomplishment if the lack of representative and qualified faculty, lack of resources/support and lack of accountability creates such a hostile, unsafe environment that they must leave.

I believe until we do some real introspective, mindful action and reevaluation of the type of higher education learning institution JMU wants to be, this university will never truly be a center that prepares leaders for a world operating within and beyond the 21st century. My hope for James Madison University is that while we have this focus on recruiting more students of color, that we are also hiring the faculty, staff and administration to match and support them as well. It is no longer and has never been fair to rely on a handful of students and staff to be the monolith for our communities. Lastly, if JMU truly desires to hear and understand the student experience, then we must go beyond a survey. You must hear from us directly to gain the true scope of being a JMU Dukes student on the daily. “Beyond our division, JMU recognizes it cannot sustain what we think of as our excellence without authentically embracing inclusivity.* This is where we simply ask you to be about what you talk about.

*Quote from the Academic Affairs Anti-Racist and Anti-Discrimination Agenda

photo of friends in front of Harper Allen-Lee Hall sign
photo of the Gabbins in front of display
photo of friends in front of Darcus Johnson Hall
At the Forefront: Initiatives Making a Difference

Building Rededication

On September 24, 2021, friends, families and the JMU community joined together to celebrate the rededication of Darcus Johnson Hall, Gabbin Hall and Harper Allen-Lee Hall. The celebration included video vignettes celebrating each of the honorees and remarks from President Alger and other JMU faculty, alumni and students. Watch the Building Rededication program.

GenEd logo

General Education Program Undergoes Academic Program Review

During summer 2021, General Education administrators funded a faculty working group that examined different models for embedding diversity, equity and inclusion outcomes and content in general education programs. The group submitted their preliminary findings to the General Education Council (GEC) for discussion and consideration at the September meeting, and the GEC formally accepted the report and its initial recommendations at the October meeting.

The GEC also voted to 1) amend the General Education Program mission statement; 2) add the word ‘accessibility” to the phrase ‘diversity, equity, inclusion and justice;’ and 3) commit to seven short-term action items for 2021-22 while the Academic Program Review (APR) occurs. Read mission statement and seven action items here.

These actions are connected to the program’s formal APR this academic year, 2021-22. The APR internal report will be submitted to the provost’s office in mid-November. The external team visit will occur in April. Learn more about DEIJ efforts in General Education and the APR here

photo of student and faculty networkingAAAD Accomplice Network

The African, African American and Diaspora Accomplice Network is a student serving system designed to promote equity within the collegiate experience while connecting AAAD faculty and students with support across the university.

The AAAD Accomplice Network held its first “Connecting Made Casual” event on Nov 1, with 11 students and 13 faculty members gathering to build relationships. Students connected with faculty and staff who understood what they need in terms of career direction, difficult GenEd courses or just feeling a sense of belonging here at JMU. More events like this to come! 

To learn more about or join the network check out the AAN website or email Collin Bright.

graphic with pronounsPreferred Pronouns now Available in Cascade

Cascade now provides the option to share preferred pronouns on your profile page. Contact your department’s Cascade administrator to have your preferred pronouns added to your profile page. Preferred pronoun examples include, but are not limited to:

  • he/him/his
  • she/her/hers
  • they/them/theirs
  • ze/zir/zirs

photo of rainbow flags being set up on quadHonoring National Coming Out Day

In honor of National Coming Out Day, on October 11, 2021, the Lavender Alumni Chapter and SOGIE teamed to create a flag display on the Quad.

photo of students at banquetMadison Hispanic Caucus Banquet

In recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the Madison Hispanic Caucus hosted Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope. A night to celebrate and honor Latinx faculty, staff and students at JMU. The reception honored four students for their passion and support in enriching Latinx culture and for their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in the Latinx community.To learn more about the Madison Hispanic Caucus, visit their website.

Noelle Allen speaking to groupWomen Entrepreneurship Showcase

The Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship recently hosted a showcase featuring women entrepreneurs to mark Women in Entrepreneurship Week. Exhibitors were all from local, woman-owned businesses. Noelle Allen (’00) provided the keynote, sharing her wisdom on building relationships, understanding your numbers and having your pitch ready. Read more here.

photo of OSASG Leadership team and scholarship recipientsOle School Alumni Scholarship Group

During Homecoming weekend, the Ole School Alumni Scholarship Group held an award breakfast where they celebrated friendship and awarded three scholarships to:

Ariana Faison, Recruitment Scholarship Awardee
Olivia Page, Retention Scholarship Awardee
Aliyah Walker, Recruitment Scholarship Awardee

students and First Lady Northam wading in streamPIR Facilitates Hands on Learning Opportunity

JMU Professor in Residence Jon Miles was part of a team that organized a mussel release in the South River for Waynesboro High School students.  This event provided students and their teacher, Ms. Kristin Trover, the opportunity to contribute toward the restoration of a critical species in the South River that helps to enhance water quality and increase the biodiversity of this critical watershed.  Virginia First Lady Pam Northam, herself an environmental educator, was on hand along with experts from Virginia Tech, state and federal agencies, and city staff to participate in this experiential learning event. Learn more here.

LSA members on the quad
photo of student with international flags
photo of students at SOGIE table
photo of NASU members

Celebrating Diversity around Campus: (l to r): Latinx Student Alliance celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month, International Bazaar, SOGIE and the Lavender Alumni Chapter celebrating National Coming Out Day, Native American Student Union celebrating Native American Heritage Month

Task Force on Racial Equity Update

logo for the Task Force on Racial Equity

Learn more about the Task Force on Racial Equity in the November Update. Updates include:


  • By the Numbers Update
  • Areas of Emphasis
  • Highlights – A Recommendation Sampling

Task Force Leadership

Task Force Recurring Meeting Schedule

For a complete list of the working groups and membership, visit the Task Force on Racial Equity page.

To submit an idea for a recommendation, email:

Building Awareness of DEI Leadership across Campus

University DEI Personnel Webpage

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Personnel webpage is a centralized resource to help the JMU community learn about the organizational structures that support progress toward improved racial equity. Contact information is provided by department and personnel for each division. DEI personnel information includes their position title, role description and contact information.

Quick access to departmental lists:

New DEI Postitions in Academic Affairs

Academic Affairs has created several new positions to raise awareness and support diversity, equity and inclusion (see below). Learn more about Academic Affairs commitment to DEI here.

Division Level

  • Besi Muhonja: Associate Vice Provost for Scholarship, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Research and Scholarship

College Level

  • Karina Kline-Gabel, Arts & Letters, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Oris Griffin, Education, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Susan Zurbrigg, Visual and Performing Arts, Assistant Dean

DEI Leaders

  • BJ Bryson, DEI Director, College of Health and Behavioral Studies
  • Sarah Cheverton, DEI Leader, University Studies
  • Oris Griffin, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, College of Education
  • Demetria Henderson, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, College of Business
  • Karina Kline-Gabel, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, College of Arts and Letters
  • LouAnn Lovin, DEI Director, College of Science and Mathematics
  • Fawn-Amber Montoya, Associate Dean of Diversity, Inclusion and External Engagement, Honors College
  • Besi Muhonja, Associate Vice Provost for Scholarship, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Research and Scholarship
  • Meg Mulrooney, Senior Associate Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Equity, Faculty and Curriculum
  • Carole Nash, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, College of Integrated Science and Engineering
  • Leslie Purtlebaugh, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Student Academic Success and Enrollment Management
  • Shonta Sellers, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives, School of Professional and Continuing Education
  • Yasmeen Shorish, Special Advisor to the Dean for Equity Initiatives, Libraries
  • Felix Wang, DEI Leader, Center for Global Engagement
  • Susan Zurbrigg, Assistant Dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts

Provost’s Black Faculty Advisory Associates:

  • Besi Muhonja
  • BJ Bryson
  • Adebayo Ogundipe

We can—and must—be a beacon for our society and the world in which we model what it means to be a community that values civil discourse and debate based on facts, reason, evidence and education.

President Alger
January 8, 2021

The Beacon has been created by the Office of Access & Inclusion to share the good work of academic and administrative departments, students, affinity groups and more in supporting diversity, equity and inclusion at JMU.

Submit an event for upcoming editions.