Community with IDEAS: August 2021

Community with IDEAS: August 2021

The Student Affairs Newsletter


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Tim's Letter

Dear Student Affairs family,

August is here! I hope you’re all as excited as I am to begin a new school year. This year more than ever will be like a new beginning, for us as well as our students.

I want to start off by welcoming everyone who is new to our team. Some of you are joining us from other divisions, some are returning alums and some are completely new to JMU. We appreciate the experience and insight each of you is bringing and look forward to all we’ll accomplish this year. You’ll be hearing from the SAPros (if you haven’t already) about onboarding opportunities and you’ll have a chance to meet everyone at our divisional meeting.

Speaking of the divisional meeting, this is just a reminder to everyone that it is on Aug. 13. The first part of the meeting is 8 -10 a.m. in Wilson Hall with an opening from me, announcements and committee updates. We’ll also do a Student Affairs Team photo on the Quad at the end. Then from 10:30 a.m. to noon we’ll have a progressive lunch so everyone can visit new spaces and enjoy the food that will be at each place. 

And then we’re ready to welcome back our students! There are many ways you can be involved (outside of your usual roles) including helping with move-in, facilitating “It’s Complicated”, participating in 1787 Weeks of Welcome and sharing information about your area at one of the four tabling events. With over half of our students being unfamiliar with most of our services, it’s important that we reach them in as many ways as possible.  It will be so important for each of us to get out of our offices and show up for our students in their spaces so they don’t have to “find” us.  I look forward to seeing all of you out and about on campus to start off the year by being present and available to all our students. 

I know this is a busy time so I’ll keep it brief this time but I want you to know that I appreciate all you have been doing. Keep being amazing, know you’re appreciated and Go Dukes!

Dr. Tim Miller

New Location of Services

Marsha Mays-Bernard, Dirron Allen and Leslie Beam are on the fourth floor of Warren Hall. 

Brent Lewis, Myles Surrett and DaNae Peterson are on the third floor of SSC.  

CMSS offices and student lounges moved to the first floor of SSC.  

Counseling Center 
Victim Advocacy will be on the third floor of SSC.  

Finance, IT and Assessment  
Jonathan Stewart, Will Brown and John Huffman are on the fourth floor of Warren Hall.  

SOGIE is still in SSC and has moved to a different office in the space they are sharing with CMSS. 

Student Life 
Fraternity & Sorority Life and Off-Campus Life moved to the second floor of Taylor Hall. 

University Unions 
The UHC communications and marketing team integrated with TAD to form Student Affairs Communications and Marketing and are in Taylor Hall. To accommodate this move, Dave Barnes moved to the third floor of Taylor Hall. 

The Health Promotion team integrated with UREC and are located there. 

Vice-President's Office 
Carson Lonett is in Alumnae Hall. 

Feature AVP Area - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion staff is excited to continue our work supporting all students and creating affirming and safe spaces at JMU and across student affairs.  One initiative beginning this year will be that all incoming new students (First Year, Transfer and Graduate Students) will complete the Everfi training on Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging. 

As the DEI area continues to grow, we are happy to share the AVPs office has relocated from the Union to SSC 3019. We have also welcomed new staff to our offices. In the AVP office, DaNae Peterson has recently been hired as the Executive Assistant to the AVP for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and will also support the AVP for Career, Experiential Learning and Transitions.  In addition, our new Engagement Fellow Daerenz Lyons began his position on Aug. 10. He will support and assist with leading various DEI initiatives and projects.  Lastly, Jordan Jefferson began on Aug. 10 as the DEI Graduate Assistant for Marketing, supporting and leading all marketing initiatives for the area. 

Feature Story - Victim Advocacy Services

Victim Advocacy Services has moved! With the transition of UHC’s health promotion team to UREC, on June 1 Victim Advocacy became a separate and distinct service associated with the Counseling Center. While Victim Advocacy is part of the Counseling Center operationally, advocacy is a distinct service from counseling and will have a separate entrance and contact information. The advocacy offices are under construction this summer and will be located beside the Counseling Center on the third floor of SSC in what was formerly Conference Suite 3200 and 3202. Our Victim Advocacy staff include Jackie Hieber, M.A., and Kristen Inouye, M.A. Jackie has provided advocacy services in the Harrisonburg community for over eight years and previously served as our lead advocate on campus from 2017 to 2020 before joining the Counseling Center as a Resident in Counseling last September. We are also excited to welcome Kristen Inouye, who joins the advocacy team as a Resident in Counseling and with past experience working with victims in the criminal system as well. Jackie and Kristen will also continue offering counseling services to students through the Counseling Center when not providing victim advocacy services.

Victim Advocacy Services are a safe, confidential and inclusive resource for JMU students impacted by sexual violence, relationship abuse, stalking or other crimes of interpersonal violence, whether recently or in the past. We also serve family, friends and other support persons to student survivors. Services are free, trauma-informed and individualized to each student’s needs. Our advocates collaborate with multiple offices across campus and in the community and can explain and provide accompaniment services to a variety of resources, including criminal and campus reporting options, medical care, protective orders, counseling and other support services. We invite you to visit our new website to learn more about Victim Advocacy Services!

Welcome New Staff

Center for Multicultural Student Services (CMSS)

CMSS has welcomed new staff to the department this year:

Jordan Todd is the new Assistant Director for Multicultural Programs and will oversee the Deep Impact program.

Meshayla Lumpkin (Shay) is a second-year graduate student in the College Student Personnel Administration program at JMU and will work with Student Leadership.

Chloe Dauer is a second-year graduate student in the College Student Personnel Administration program at JMU and will work with DEEP Impact.

Dean of Students (DoS)

Dominique Rodriguez has been hired as the Assistant Dean of Students. We are thrilled to have Dominique join our team. She most recently was an Academic Advisor here at JMU. Dominique will be officially started in our office on Aug. 9. Dominique will be primarily coordinating the Madison Cares Program and supporting students and families with the withdrawal process. Please join our team in welcoming Dominique back to Student Affairs!

The Dean of Students welcomes Cassidy Mechalske as the new Coordinator in the Dean of Students. This is a new position for our office and we were thrilled to have had Cassidy join our team on June 1. Cassidy will be primarily coordinating the Rebound program and supporting the Madison Cares Network. She is a recent College Student Personnel Administration graduate and did her undergraduate work at Christopher Newport University. Please join us in welcoming Cassidy!

Office of Disability Services (ODS)

We are pleased to have the following graduate students joining the ODS team this year: 

Emily Kunowsky, Accommodations GA

Elly Olson, Graduate Student Exams Accommodation Assistant

Robyn Devendorf, Marketing & Communications GA

Caroline Urlwin, Learning Strategies Instruction GA

Morgan Hilton, Learning Strategies Instruction GA

Office of Residence Life (ORL)

Jen Dodson is ORL Fiscal and Operations Coordinator.

Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices (OSARP)

OSARP is excited to welcome Dylan Sorkin as the Assistant Director of Restorative Practices! His first workday is Sept. 27. 

Dylan is coming from Rutgers University where he has served as a Student Conduct Coordinator for almost four years, working with both student accountability and restorative practices; a perfect fit for his new position! He also earned his Bachelor's (Philosophy and Psychology) and Master's (College Student Affairs) degrees from Rutgers University and will move to Harrisonburg with his wife, two children, one dog and six cats! 

We are excited for the new addition to our staff and the opportunity for Dylan to expand the restorative practices program across our campus. 

Orientation (O-Team)

We are pleased to announce that we have some new staff as part of the O-Team.

Two NODA Interns, Elise Chafin and Lilly Lester, worked with our student staff and programming throughout the summer.

Timya Jackson is our new Assistant Director of Transition Programs. She comes to us from serving as a Community Director at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE)

SOGIE is happy to welcome their new Graduate Assistants for the 21–22 Academic year:

Chrissy Donald, a first-year graduate student in the Adult Education/Human Resource Development program (AHRD) from Richmond, Virginia.

Daniel Bellerose (he/they) is a first-year graduate student in the College Student Personnel Administration program at JMU.

Student Affairs Technical Services (SATS)

Student Affairs Technical Services is pleased to welcome John Huffman to the team as our new IT Consultant. John graduated from JMU in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Media Arts and Design. He was most recently employed as an IT Specialist for Financial Aid here at JMU. Fun fact: This is a homecoming of sorts, as one of John's first jobs was as a reporter for Technology and Design in University Unions. Please join us in welcoming John back to Student Affairs!

Office of Student Life (OSL)

Jen Grossman Leopard is the new Director for Student Life. She will start on Aug. 16.

University Career Center (UCC)

New staff members:
- Libby Westley, Director
- Sarah LaFrance, Assistant Director for Assessment & Data Management
- Tam Nguyen, Marketing & Communication Coordinator
- Katy Hopkins, Recruiting Programs Coordinator
- Emma Gibbons, Career Advisor
- Alyssa Hawley, Career Advisor
- Ginny Kasch, Career Services Assistant

New role:
- Colleen Waller, Assistant Director for Employer Outreach & Development 

University Health Center (UHC)

Ashley Skelly was promoted to Associate Professor in the Physician Assistant Program this past spring.

Betsy Gentry, RN is now Associate Director of Nursing. She has been with UHC for over 20 years, holding various nursing positions. She most recently was in charge of Informatics and the Student Volunteer Program. She fills the position previously held by Dr. Kristina Blyer. 

Deborah Hoover, RN is now Assistant Director of Nursing. Deborah joined UHC on March 1 as a part-time Occupational Health Nurse. She will take over the responsibilities of Informatics and the Student Volunteer Program. 

Terra Daniel will transition to the Occupational Health Nurse. This will be her primary role and she may assist in the clinics from time to time.

University Recreation (UREC)

Lindsay Wigderson joined the UREC team in June 2021 as the Assistant Director for Aquatics and Safety. Lindsay comes to us from UNC Greensboro where she served as the Aquatics Coordinator for 5 years. At UNC Greensboro, Lindsay helped open a new facility and built the aquatics program from the ground-up. Please help us welcome Lindsay to JMU!

Shannon Tumelty joined the UREC team in July 2021 as the Assistant Director for Intramural Sports and Youth Programs. Shannon is a Double Duke with a wealth of experience in Intramural Sports programming. She comes to us from the University of Iowa where she oversaw Intramural Sports and Sport Clubs as the Assistant Director of Sport Programs. Please help us welcome Shannon back to JMU!

Vice President of Student Affairs (VPSA)

Carson Lonett, Special Assistant to the Vice President 
Mandy Vitale, Student Affairs Engagement Fellow

New SA AVPs  

Dirron Allen, Associate Vice President, Student Life and Involvement (SLI)
Myles Surrett, Associate Vice President, Career, Experiential Learning and Transitions (CELT)

VP of Student Affairs Student Staff

Kayla Edwards, Student Coordinator, Vice President of Student Affairs Office 
Kia Parham, Student Coordinator, Vice President of Student Affairs Office 


Center for Multicultural Student Services (CMSS)

CMSS is excited to be settled in their new home on the first floor of the Student Success Center (SSC).  The Intercultural Greek Council (ICGC) will be embarking on a historic moment for the council and the JMU campus at large. Currently, there are plots being constructed in front of the Student Success Center. These plots will commemorate our Historically Black, Asian and Latinx-based fraternities and sororities. We are hopeful that the plots will be complete and ready by Homecoming 2021. 

Dean of Students (DoS)

The Dean of Students office has experienced several changes this summer. Ashley Stovall, Assistant Dean of Students had her last day at JMU on July 9 and will be working to complete her Master's of School Counseling degree by fulfilling her internship hours at a local elementary or middle school. We are sad to see Ashley go and thankful for all her contributions to the Dean of Student

Office of Disability Services (ODS)

We are very glad to have Emily Kunowsky (GA) already in training to support the ODS team in reviewing the increased number of applications we have been receiving. 

We are excited to announce that Brennan Maupin and Christina Wulf recently passed their exams to become "Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies" by the International Association of Accessibility Professionals!

Office of Residence Life (ORL)

Hannah Edwards left ORL after 4 years as an Administrative Assistant in Residence Life to move closer to family, and she accepted a position at the Daniel Boone School District in Pennsylvania. We're sad to see her leave, but excited for her new opportunities!

Stephenie Williams is no longer in ORL and has transferred to the Card Services office.

Student Affairs Communications and Marketing (SACM)

Student Affairs Communications and Marketing is pleased to announce the launch of our new website!

We are excited about the opportunity to work more closely with such a variety of areas, but we appreciate your patience as we work through this transition. In the near future, a staff member from our area will be in touch to offer a planning meeting so that we can take a comprehensive look at your needs over the next semester/year. In the meantime, if you have questions about the process of using our services, please reach out to Lindsey Kelly or Ann Simmons.

University Career Center (UCC)

In 2020, Career and Academic Planning (CAP) divided into two departments: the University Career Center (UCC) and University Advising (UA). The University Career Center is now rebranding to let the JMU community know about our new name and how we can help all students and recent alumni with their career development. Within UCC, we have also developed three units to best serve our students, JMU and the Harrisonburg community.

The new units are:
- Student and Staff Development: Career Advisors helping students, academic departments and colleges
- Employer Relations: empowering employers who create career opportunities for JMU Dukes and developing new employer partnerships
- Outreach and Engagement: focusing on creative marketing, communications, assessment, diversity and inclusion

UCC team surprised Dr. Jim McConnel with some small presents to celebrate his retirement and thank him for being such an important pillar for the JMU family: a pair of “too-big-to-be-filled shoes”, a 3-page resume highlighting Jim’s dedication and accomplishments at JMU, and some ice scream sandwiches (which were all happily consumed before the photo was taken!). Jim returned the favor and surprised us all (perhaps unsurprisingly) by remembering everyone’s name including 6 new staff members and spending a good hour hanging with us and sharing many good stories and wise words.


University Health Center (UHC) 

The University Health Center staff has experienced the sudden and unexpected loss of one of their clinical staff, Vicki Christian. She passed away July 29 leaving behind her 13-year-old son William. Vicki was a member of the staff for the past three years and said when she joined the UHC staff she found family. She will be greatly missed.


The Health Center now has the COVID-19 vaccine, so watch for clinic dates. We have had many staff from the Student Affairs division assist with the entry of immunizations into our EMR system. We are very thankful for everyone’s assistance!

Dukes Weekly is back!

The first edition of the semester will be sent on Aug. 23. If you have information to include, please submit your information here by Monday, Aug. 16 at 5 p.m.

Special Announcements and Personal Updates

University Health Center (UHC) 

Kristen Kirwan’s son, Hayden Michael graduated from Harrisonburg High School and will attend the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana in the fall.


Jonathan (UHC-IT) and Danielle Donahue were married on June 19 at Diamond V Farm in Blue Ridge, VA. 


University Recreation (UREC)


Lorie Miller, UREC’s Senior Assistant Director for Reservations and Events, retired this May! Thank you Lorie for everything you've done for UREC and James Madison University over your 30 years of service! The impact you’ve had on UREC is immeasurable and we’ll miss your sunshine more than you know!


Carolyn Wallace, UREC's Housekeeping Manager for over 22 years, celebrated her retirement this June! If you've ever appreciated how clean UREC is, you have her to thank!! We are so grateful for her hard work and dedication throughout the years!


Andrew (UREC Maintenance Technician) and Megan Mauk welcomed Amelia Jane Mauk to their family on July 17.

Upcoming Events:

8/13 Student Affairs Divisional Meeting

8 –10 a.m., Wilson Hall Auditorium - Opening from Dr. Miller, announcements and committee updates followed by a Student Affairs Team photo. If you’d like to rep some JMU/Department gear, this is a great opportunity! It is expected that all staff members be present if they’re able. Reminder: there is no food or beverage allowed in the auditorium except water in a sealable container.   

10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m., - Progressive lunch. With so many new staff members as well as multiple office and department moves, this will allow all staff members (GAs and student staff too) to tour the new spaces, eat some delicious food and meet new people. There will be tables on the first, second and third floors of SSC, second and third floors of the Union and second floor of UREC. Each table will have a specific lunch item and desserts are included!   

All staff will receive a punch card. When they complete a punch card, they can return the card to Alumnae 202 and be entered to receive a $20 gift card.   

8/17 University Staff Picnic | Festival | 4–7 p.m.

8/19 President’s Address | Atlantic Union Bank Center | 9–11 a.m., coffee and breakfast will be available at 8 a.m.

8/20-22 First Year on-campus move in

8/22-24 All other on-campus move in

8/24 New Student Convocation | Atlantic Union Bank Center | 4 p.m. 

8/25 Classes begin

8/27 First Friday Jam | TDU Patio | 5–7 p.m.

8/28 Block Party in the 'Burg | 2:30–4:30 p.m. 

8/31 DEI Open House: CMSS, SOGIE, ODS | SSC 1202 and 1312 office suites | 4-5:30 p.m.

9/8 The Union 50th Anniversary | 11 a.m–2 p.m.


What is the name of Dr. Miller’s dog?  The first person who answers this question correctly in an email to vpstudentaffairs@jmu.edu will receive 4 free meal vouchers.

About Community with Ideas

The masterminds behind the scenes.

Community with Ideas is your monthly newsletter.

We welcome all comments and suggestions. Please contact a Community with Ideas committee member to submit content, photographs or announcements. We look forward to hearing from you!


Marsha Mays-Bernard | AVP Liaison | maysbeme@jmu.edu 
Dawn Miller | Chair | mille2da@jmu.edu 
Ann Simmons | Student Affairs Communications and Marketing (SACM) | simmonae@jmu.edu 
Angela Ritchie |Student Affairs Communications and Marketing(SACM) | ritchiac@jmu.edu 
Eliza Moreno | SACM–GA | morenome@jmu.edu 


Ann Simmons
Brent Lewis
Brittany Dioszeghy
Cover Heishman
Daerenz Lyons
DaNae Peterson
Dawn Miller
Dianne Nibblins
Emily Higham
Heather Reid
Jennifer Iwerks
Jessica Herring
Jill Staley Wade
Kaitlin Griffith
Leslie Beam
Lindsey Richards
Mollie Zenz
Moriah Fallon
Tam Nguyen

Photo contributions from JMU Creative Media