Community with IDEAS: March 2023

Community with IDEAS: March 2023

The Student Affairs Newsletter


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Tim's Letter

Hello and welcome to March! 

I am excited for Spring Break next week. I will head up to Northern VA on Saturday after breakfast at Magpie and enjoy a week with Jamie. We have plans with friends and I'm looking forward to catching up on some work items and prepping the NOVA garden for the spring. Usually Jamie and I try and go on vacation during Spring Break but sadly Northeastern University and JMU have different Spring Breaks this year so she will be working all week. Still, I am excited to take some time for myself and hopefully slow things down for a week as we prepare for the last several weeks of the semester.  

Spring Break 

Whether you are here on campus or taking time off, I encourage you to think about how you can best use next week for yourself. Even if you are working all week, things should be slower on email, office traffic, phone calls and the types of urgent situations we often see in a normal week. Take some time to get lunch with friends, go to UREC and get in a workout, follow the lead of many staff in UHC and take a walk around campus or just sit on the Quad or the Festival Lawn.  

We want to encourage offices to shift open hours to 9 a.m.–4 p.m. for the week to provide more flexibility for everyone. Each office should have their doors open and phones answered during this time but we are open to offices operating with a smaller staff throughout the week. This should hopefully help with childcare, getting to and from work and providing you some more options on how to spend your week. Work with your supervisor to know what that means for you, but hopefully this gives each of you the opportunity to take some time for you next week.  

Thank you 

Every day, each of you manages a range of challenges and concerns within our community and I am so thankful for you. The reality is that in a community of this size we will always have tragedy but I appreciate how each of you approaches your students as individuals with unique needs and that you always go out of your way to support them. Whether you are working with a student impacted by the loss of a parent or friend or someone who is struggling to manage the college transition, you spend the time and energy needed to make a difference. Thank you all for this care and compassion and for always making a difference in their lives.  


We have heard feedback from folks about sharing updates with all of Student Affairs more regularly. As a team, we are excited to be adding more campus-wide updates to the SA Newsletter. As you read through, you’ll see university wide and student affairs committee and general updates. We encourage you to submit updates for the newsletter and use this as a way to share general information and updates. This helps everyone have a full picture of what is happening throughout the division. Thank you for your time in collecting this information and submitting it each month.  

Reconnecting with all of you 

When I came to JMU in 2018, one of my first priorities was to get to know everyone personally so I met individually with every staff member in Student Affairs. This took about a year and a half, but it was one of the most valuable investments I made since returning. I have continued to meet with new staff members as they arrive at JMU and this has been invaluable in getting to know our new staff.  

This summer will mark five years since I returned, and I think it’s time to meet with everyone again. One other addition I want to make this time around is to set up time to meet with your graduate students and student staff in appropriately sized groups. We will talk with your Directors to figure out the best way to do this in each area. Our office will begin to schedule these individual meetings as well as opportunities for me to come to a staff meeting and see your spaces. My goal is to continue to understand the work each of you are doing so that I can best support our teams. 

Looking forward to connecting with you all and take care, 

Tim Miller  


University Wide 

Student Affairs contributes to Admission’s programming such as JMU 101, CHOICES and Dukes for A Day.  Thank you to all who have stepped in to play a role and those who will continue to assist with future events. See email from lonettcy@jmu.edu on Feb. 21 for more details. The sign-up for CHOICES March 31, Student Life Showcase was shared with SA Leadership Team.  

The Board of Visitors meeting occured on Feb. 9 and 10. The Student Affairs Committee hosted a lunch for committee members in the CMSS and SOGIE lounges. Afterwards, Dirron Allen and his team presented on the Master Housing plan, including upcoming construction plans for Ikenberry Hall. Learn more about the Board of Visitors meetings, see full minutes and summaries here.  The next board meeting will be April 20 and 21. Myles Surrett and his team will provide an update from the Career, Experiential Learning and Transition area. Anyone is welcome to the Student Affairs Committee meeting on Thursday, April 20 from 1–2:30 p.m. 

Fall dates and calendar  

The Fall 2023 Academic Calendar was released: 

  • Aug. 23: First day of classes 
  • Sept. 29–Oct. 1: Family Weekend 
  • Oct. 18–22: Fall Break 
  • Oct. 27–29: Homecoming 
  • Nov. 18–26: Thanksgiving Break 
  • Dec. 9–15: Final Exams

Student Affairs

In the recent Student Message sent on March 1, students were reminded about Healthy Minds Survey, East Campus Student Services and safety with Bird scooters. There are conversations regarding potential changes around max speed of scooters on campus. Students were encouraged to enjoy their break and be mindful during gatherings and celebrations. To see all archived student messages, use this link. Student messages are sent the first week of every month. If you have something to highlight in the student message, please share it here  

As part of the Master Housing Plan, which includes the Village, Ikenberry will be the first building to begin construction this summer. We have hired a contractor and are finalizing plans for this May. The Residence Life website will post updates regarding Ikenberry and Village construction. This page will be live in the next few weeks. It will include links to a camera so that we can view construction over the summertime, as well as Ikenberry's final student move out. Opportunities to celebrate Ikenberry will be coming soon. 

The Rebound Program is looking to expand student participation. We are asking all departments to promote the Rebound website, specifically the "Share Your Story" Tab. The program is working to normalize setbacks through story-telling, which is open to entire JMU community. Student have an option to participate in a semester-long experience or they can be featured on the website with a written story, video story or as a podcast guest.

If you know of a student who has been through academic or personal challenges while in higher education encourage them to share their story and normalize setbacks through storytelling. 


University Career Center

Career Questions to ask students about their summer plans:

Encourage them to be intentional and proactive when seeing out jobs/internships for the summer. Let them know that UCC has a $3,000 Unpaid Internship Scholarship that they can apply for until April 14.

If they don't have plans, direct them to the University Career Center. UCC has knowledgeable Career Advisors who can help them form a plan and give them practical tools.

Here are 5 Ways to Encourage Students’ Career Success

University Recreation Center (UREC)

Warm a Winter Wish

Thank you to everyone who donated and helped wrap over 500 gifts for UREC’s annual Warm a Winter Wish program! Your generosity helped support First Step: A Response to Domestic Violence, Mercy House, Inc. and Brain Injury Connections of the Shenandoah Valley, Inc. and to spread holiday cheer throughout the Harrisonburg community this year!


University Wide Committees

Coalition to End Sexual Violence led by Tim Miller and Renee Staton, met on Feb. 17. Agenda items included: overview of recent consultant meeting, committee reports (Policy, Response, and Education and Training), and discussion and feedback on website design. The group is set to meet on March 24. 

The Parents Council serves as a liaison between the university and parents, provides advice and guidance on programs related to parents, and serves as an effective spokesperson and advocate for the university. Student Affairs hosts a session each in-person meeting around a current student topic or trend. For the March 25 meeting, SA will present on Belonging and JMU VALOR. This session is only available for members of the Parents Council. For any additional information on Parents Council and/or the presentation, use this or email our Parent Relations Liaison, Carson Lonett.    

President’s Council on Health & Well-Being led by Kristina Blyer and Julie Wallace-Carr meets quarterly. The next full council meeting is scheduled for March 9. The meeting agenda includes moving towards adoption of a mission. The council’s work takes place year-round in the form of working groups.  

The Balanced Dukes Work Team led by Julie Wallace-Carr and Tara Torkelson, is currently assessing what is happening on campus related to employee health and well-being. The team conducted a SWOT analysis at their recent meeting. A survey is being developed to be sent out this semester to JMU faculty and staff.  https://www.jmu.edu/humanresources/balanced-dukes/index.shtml  

The Employee Health Working Group led by Julie Wallace-Carr and Tara Torkelson, leads campus wide efforts to improve the health and well-being of faculty and staff.  

The JED Campus Working Group led by Kristina Blyer and Robin Anderson leads efforts to becoming a JED campus. https://jedfoundation.org/  The JED baseline assessment was completed in the fall, and we look forward to welcoming our JED campus advisors to campus on March 30–31. The Healthy Minds Study Launched Feb. 9. https://healthymindsnetwork.org/hms/ 

The Okanagan Charter Working Group led by Kristina Blyer and Kethera Moore. Kristina and Kethera attended the 2023 USHPCN Summit Feb. 16–18. http://ushpcn.org/events/2023-summit/ The working group will meet again on March 2 to begin planning charter adoption in fall 2023. https://open.library.ubc.ca/media/download/pdf/53926/1.0132754/8  

A newly formed Communication Working Group led by Mary Hope Vass will being the important job of communicating the work of the council to our JMU community.   

Student Affairs Committees

The Student Affairs Communication Committee led by Angela Ritchie reunited communicators across Student Affairs. This group talked about needs, future meeting opportunities and where Student Affairs Communication and Marketing can best support them.  

The Student Affairs Social Justice & Inclusion Committee recently provided SJI 101 to the Division though the Education/Professional Development sub-committee and will also provide “Making SJI Part of your Staff Meeting” on Friday, April 21. 

The Council continues to meet to discuss topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion both on campus, regionally and nationally.  We are continuing to discover and re-imagine our goals, initiatives the council would like to lead on behalf of the Division and best practices for engaging the departments across Student Affairs. 


We have two assessment related opportunities coming up! 

1. Student Affairs Assessment Improvement Rubric Rater Training

The new Student Affairs Assessment Improvement process and rubric will allow us to live up to the spirit of continual improvement that is necessary in an institution of higher learning. This process will provide our division with a structured way to report, evaluate and most importantly, use our assessment results.  You can view the draft rubric here. Please feel free to make comments on the document or send feedback to stewarjp@jmu.edu. 

As part of the pilot process, we will train student affairs professionals to use this new rubric. We will hold Assessment Rater Training the week of May 15–19.  Training will take place Monday, May 15 through Wednesday, May 17.  Report rating will take place Thursday, May 18 and Friday, May 19.  Anyone is welcome to attend the Monday–Wednesday rater training as it will give you a great foundation for this process we are planning to use moving forward.  For report rating, we are looking for 6–10 assessment report raters who, after training, will be compensated for rating reports on Thursday and Friday. 

Please use this link to express your interest in the training and/or being a rater for this process. 

2. Assessment 101

What is Assessment 101?  
In this nationally-acclaimed (NASPA Silver Award winning) workshop, participants learn about each step of the assessment cycle with a special emphasis on program theory, implementation fidelity and learning improvement. Assessment 101 is a 5–day virtual, intensive workshop designed to combine synchronous and asynchronous time to reinforce the knowledge gained while also imparting tangible skills.   
There will be two options for Assessment 101 this summer. Session dates are June 12–16 and June 26–30. If you are interested in participating in Assessment 101, please apply by clicking this link.  

Student Affairs Professionals (SAPros) Community and Professional Development Team

Student Affairs Professionals (SAPros) Community and Professional Development Team 

Upcoming Events 

Administrative Professionals Day is on Wednesday, April 26. Student Affairs will host a separate breakfast celebration for Student Affairs Staff. Plans and exact times will be finalized after the University shares their Administrative Professionals Day Celebration calendar.   

Our Student Affairs Celebration will be on Thursday, June 8. We take time to come together at this event to celebrate accomplishments of the year and SA Award Winners. More information on how you can nominate yourself and colleagues, as well as the schedule of the day will be shared soon. Take a look at last year’s winners 

Cohort Hiring 

Two new cohorts (Assistant Director and Coordinators) are underway in the hiring stage. SAPros committee members have worked to host candidates for their on-campus day. This includes working with search committees to escort candidates through campus, providing a tour, joining them for lunch to discuss benefits of the cohort and providing an overview on JMU and Harrisonburg. Thank you to all SAPros members who have hosted candidates as well as supervisors for their flexibility. 

The Associate Director Cohort just completed the Mid-Managers Insititute and will now begin their biweekly cohort onboarding sessions with Jonathan Stewart and Carson Lonett.  


AVP—Diversity, Equity and Accessibility

I would like to thank everyone who made the new satellite office for Exam Accommodations possible. The Office of Disability Services has opened a satellite office for testing in the Union-502 as of Feb. 6. We are excited to offer another location which as added 40 seats for our students to take exams.

Special thank you to the team in ODS and specifically the leadership of Valerie Schoolcraft and Chris Kinney on this project, in addition Amy Cook, Kristina Bright and the GA's assisting in exams.

We also had several partners outside of ODS that supported us in this effort, a huge thank you to: Towana Moore, DIrron Allen, Jen Grossman-Leopard, Dave Barnes, Megan Driver, Jini Cook, Lisa Mastin, Jared Combs, Paul Williams, Sam Warren, Jeff Knicely, Gary Shears, Facilities Management, Networking and JMU IT.

Lastly, on behalf of ODS we would like to thank Dr. Tim Miller for his efforts and support of ODS and our students to get this project completed.

University Recreation Center (UREC)


Award given to Erica Foltz

Congratulations to Erica Foltz, UREC Assistant Director for Operations, for being selected as the 2022 VRSA (Virginia Recreational Sports Association) Award of Merit recipient! This award recognizes outstanding contribution and exceptional performance within a campus recreation department as well as on a state or national scale within NIRSA (Leaders in Collegiate Recreation).

Erica served as the NIRSA Student Leader in 2015-2016 and the VRSA State Director in 2018-2020. She also served on the VRSA 2017 Conference Planning Committee, the 2016 Region II Conference Program Committee and the 2017 NIRSA Strategic Planning Committee. On JMU’s campus, Erica serves on the University Employee Advisory Committee, Homecoming Committee, and facilitates the Mentorship Through Exercise program (which pairs students with faculty outside of the classroom).


At UREC, Erica supervises UREC’s highest-level student employees, the Operations Supervisors, and leads the UREC Student Employee Training & Development Committee. A former supervisee, Shay Steinkirchner, current Facility Operation Intern at UNC Chapel Hill Campus Recreation, wrote, “Erica is known amongst the students for her meaningful conversations, words of wisdom, extensive knowledge and caring attitude. She inspires me every day to be more intentional with everything I do and trust the confidence and abilities that I hold within myself, even after I have already graduated.”

Congratulations, Erica!

Award Given to Eric Nickel

Director of University Recreation, Eric Nickel, has received the Hart School’s Dolly Madison Award for his long-standing support.

Since arriving in his position at UREC in 1995, Eric has served on the Hart School’s Advisory Board, been a mentor to both students and alumni, taught as an adjunct professor in the school’s undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as gone out of his way to serve by taking students to conferences. Eric has also made it possible for UREC to become an internship and practicum site which employs many Graduate Assistants from the Hart School’s Sport and Recreation Leadership Graduate Program.

Congratulations to Eric on receiving this well-deserved award!


Special Announcements and Personal Updates

Congratulations to Erica Foltz (UREC Assistant Director for Operations) and family! Atlee Reese Foltz was born in November! 

Congratulations to Sasha Griffith (UREC Assistant Director for Adventure & TEAM) and family! Sasha and Jojo Griffith welcomed Sajan Xavier Griffith 3 weeks early on December 6, 2022. He is now 2.5 months old and more than double his birth weight! Sajan currently loves being held especially by an adult who is walking around, sleeping in the daytime, and wishes he could eat solids already.


Conferences and Presentations

Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices 

Cover Heishman, Patrick Francis, Lindsay Stebbins and Dylan Sorkin attended ASCA 2023 in Portland, Oregon. Lindsay and Dylan presented their session titled, "Using Restorative Practices to Address Sexual Harm."

Upcoming Events

Office of Disability Studies 

Disability Advocacy Week is March 20–24, 2023. Check out the events, here


Vacant Positions 

When a position becomes vacant and you are preparing a search process, please follow the Hiring processes for Student Affairs.docx (Student Affairs Professionals Microsoft Team>General Channel>Files>Hiring and Onboarding Processes in SA Folder). 

Once you submit this form, SAPros will reach out to confirm your search and offer SAPros Connection options. SAPros Connection options should be included in your search according to Hiring processes for Student Affairs.docx (Student Affairs Professionals Microsoft Team>General Channel>Files>Hiring and Onboarding Processes in SA Folder). 

To help you promote the search, there are templates available on Teams. You are encouraged to use these templates since they were created using JMU brand standards, particularly the social media ads. The images are simple by design, to attract the reader's attention. You can then put the specifics in the actual post. That way it is accessible to anyone who may use a screenreader. 

Welcoming New Staff 

All hiring managers should complete this form when a new staff member is expected to begin. This information has been updated in the Student Affairs New Staff Acclimation and Onboarding Guide (Student Affairs Professionals Microsoft Team>General Channel>Files>Hiring and Onboarding Processes in SA Folder). 

Please download and use the Student Affairs New Staff Acclimation and Onboarding Guide Final.docx (Student Affairs Professionals Microsoft Team>General Channel>Files>Hiring and Onboarding Processes in SA Folder) as a baseline for onboarding new staff members. New Staff Members should be reported through this form prior to arrival/transition in order to be added to Teams, Email Lists and scheduled for New SAP Onboarding activities such as Orientation, gatherings and a one-on-one with Dr. Miller. This is for anyone who is new to SA and includes individuals who have transitioned positions (moved between departments in SA and/or moved positions within departments). 

Exiting Staff Members 

Hiring managers should complete this form when a staff member is exiting. This provides notification to leadership and allows for the individual to receive the Student Affairs Exit Survey. 

Libraries Update


A Place to Pick Up Books (and More) When Carrier Closes for Construction

We’re excited to share that we are preparing to open a new, temporary location at 1050 S. Main Street, next to Parking Lot “K”. We plan to open it soon after Carrier Library closes for construction in May. Learn more, here


Adobe Software in the Libraries

If you need the Adobe Creative Suite for your class, your job, or even for personal projects, check out these locations at JMU that provide free access to the Adobe Creative Suite:
- Computer Lab in the Rose Library 24/7 Space (Mac and PC)
- Rose Library Makery (4 Macs on the 1st floor, available only during open hours for The Makery)
- Other places at JMU

Equipment Loans and The Makery have moved to Rose Library

Stop by the new Learning Innovations & Design desk on the first floor of Rose Library (to the right of the main service desk) to access equipment loans, The Makery and other services for teaching and learning with technology.


Things You Didn't Know You Could Do in the Music Library

The Music Library is for everyone! Find out 10 things you can do in the Music Library that might surprise you.


Donate Seeds to the Community Seed Library

Are you ordering seeds for your own garden this year? If you have some left over, consider donating them to JMU’s Community Seed Library. We are happy to accept store-bought seeds, partially used packets or seeds saved from your garden. You can donate or pick up seeds at self-service locations in Carrier Library (moving soon to Rose Library!) and Massanutten Regional Library. Envelopes for repackaging seeds are provided. For a larger donation, or if you have questions, contact seedlibrary@jmu.edu. Learn more, here

The Community Seed Library also received some recent media coverage! Check it out on our JMU Libraries in the News page. 

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!


Angela Ritchie | Chair | Student Affairs Communications and Marketing (SACM) | ritchiac@jmu.edu 
Ann Simmons | Student Affairs Communications and Marketing (SACM) | simmonae@jmu.edu 
Kylie Formisano | Student Affairs Communications and Marketing (SACM)–GA | formiskx@jmu.edu 


Brittany Dioszeghy | Office of Disability Services | dioszebd@jmu.edu 
TJ Stafford | Orientation and Transition | staffotj@jmu.edu
Deborah Hoover | UHC | hooverdd@jmu.edu 
Cover Heishman | Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices | heishmwc@jmu.edu
DaNae Peterson | AVP-Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and CELT | petersda@jmu.edu 
Jen Grossman Leopard | Student Life | grossmjb@jmu.edu 
Carson Lonett | VP Student Affairs | lonettcy@jmu.edu
Dianne Nibblins | CMSS | nibblidk@jmu.edu 
Sydney Wood | Office of Residence Life | arnol2se@jmu.edu 
Cassidy Angelo | Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression Programming | angelocn@jmu.edu
Emily Blake | Library | blakeed@jmu.edu 
Jill Staley Wade | Dean of Students | staleycj@jmu.edu 
Kristin Gibson | UREC | gibsonkj@jmu.edu 
Lindsey Richards | Community Engagement and Volunteer Center | richa2lm@jmu.edu 
Moriah Fallon | Counseling Center | fallo3mj@jmu.edu 
Tiffany Corbin | University Career Center |  corbintt@jmu.edu