Community with IDEAS: Month Year

Community with IDEAS: April 2023

The Student Affairs Newsletter


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Tim's Letter

Hello everyone, 

A few weeks ago, I was able to travel to Boston for the NASPA annual conference and I loved seeing members of our team present, reconnecting with colleagues and being part of two presentations. I heard lots of compliments from colleagues about the work all of you are doing here at JMU. I was incredibly proud of all of you and the difference you are making. I know there have been several big conferences happening lately, so I hope those of you who attended got a lot out of them, including spending time with your friends from other schools. 

End of year celebrations and awards ceremonies have begun, which is always an exciting time. At this year’s Diversity Conference, JT Todd and Community Service-Learning received Compass Awards for the great work they are doing. Dave Barnes, Donna Bitar and DaNae Peterson were honored by ODK with All Together One awards for their commitment to the JMU community. Congratulations to all of those who were honored with these well-deserved awards and thank you for all you’re doing to impact the lives of our students. 

In last month’s newsletter we began adding campus-wide and committee updates, and this month we’re adding a section to highlight recent messaging (emails, newsletters, etc.) I hope this helps you to feel more connected and in the know with what we’re sharing with our current and future students and their families. I have a letter in the parent and family newsletter each month, and you can also submit information that is specific to your area. If you have something you would like me to mention in my monthly email to students, please share it with Carson Lonett or Angela Ritchie. We’ve created an archive page to be able to refer back to previous messages and can include your messages if you share them with us. 

While there is always a lot going on in April, as I mentioned in my email to students, I hope you all take some time to be in the moment and experience all this month has to offer. We’ll soon be saying congrats and good luck to this year’s graduating class so I hope you can take a few moments to ask how they’re doing, what they’re looking forward to and providing a listening ear if they need it. 

Thanks again for all you’re doing!  


Recent Messaging

The Madison Family newsletter is sent to all families monthly. Information is due around the first day of each month. 

The Student Affairs archive page includes links to emails sent to all students or to specific groups of students (such as students who live on campus, first-year students, etc.) Copy the message to Angela Ritchie if you would like it to be added to this page. 

The March IT newsletter has many helpful tips including how to transcribe meetings in Teams and finding meeting times using FindTime (no more Doodle Poll? Yes, please!) It also included information about the Microsoft 365 migration that is happening in May. 


Strategic Planning Update 

[Submitted by Jennifer Testa] On March 6, the first of eight surveys was sent to the Student Affairs community. Thank you for the feedback you have already sent our way. We know your time is valuable… and so is your input.  

As of March 30, we have received 191 responses. Currently, the feedback confirms that the three surveyed values—Focusing on Students, Leading Courageously and Transcending Boundaries—are still relevant to the work of your department, AVP area and division. 

Whether or not those values are being regularly demonstrated depends both on the value and the area being considered. The following chart represents the measurable feedback received to date: 



Focusing on Students 

Leading Courageously 

Transcending Boundaries 


Regularly Demonstrated 





Not Regularly Demonstrated 




AVP Area 

Regularly Demonstrated 





Not Regularly Demonstrated 




Student Affairs 

Regularly Demonstrated 





Not Regularly Demonstrated 




As we continue to review and sort through the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats received so far, please know that we want to continue to hear from you. As the weeks progress, we will begin to identify themes that will direct the creation of goals and objectives to ensure that the values are lived out in the important work you do. 

I am available to meet if you would like to share feedback outside of the surveys. I have been, and continue to be, grateful for your partnership. 

General Updates

Student elections

Student Government completed their elections on March 22. Congratulations to new student leaders:  

Student Body President: Nate Hazen  

Student Body Vice President: Faith Forman  

Executive Treasurer: Matt Haynicz 

Student Representative to the Board of Visitors: Abby Cannella  

IT Updates

Tenant Merge 

Continue to keep an eye on information regarding the Dukes Microsoft 365 Migration. Students will not have access to their email beginning May 19 at noon until May 22. More information here.  

IT Newsletter 

Take time to read the IT Newsletter. It is a comprehensive overview on the upcoming migrations, ReEngineering Madison, Computing news (like going paperless with Adobe Sign) and additonal tech tips. The next Microsoft Teams Overview is on April 27 at 9:30 a.m. Register for IT 711.

University Wide

We have wrapped up the last CHOICES day through Admissions! Thank you to all who have dedicated your time to this. If you have any feedback for future CHOICES, please reach out to lonettcy@jmu.edu. 

The Board of Visitors next board meeting will be April 20–21. 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. 

A reminder for 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

University Health Center (UHC)

Jonathan Donahue has been promoted to Medical Information Technology Manager.

Counseling Center

The Counseling Center is delighted to welcome Becca Hardesty, M.A., as our newest Resident in Counseling. Becca is a graduate of EMU’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program and most recently worked at the Harrisonburg Rockingham Community Services Board. Becca’s position is funded through the SCHEV (State Council of Higher Education for Virginia) grant. JMU is one of six Virginia universities awarded this two-year grant to expand mental health services and increase the mental health workforce.

For more information about this grant, please see their website.

Office of Residence Life (ResLife)

NEW Assistant Director of Housing Operations: Emily Higham


University Career Center

We need your help!
We'd greatly appreciate your help and support in sharing our Outcomes Survey with graduating seniors before they leave JMU in May. Students often participate at the request or endorsement of individual faculty/staff members.

Here’s a suggested email/message to send to Graduating Seniors:

Subject: Your Post-JMU Plans


Congratulations on your upcoming graduation! We want to know your plans after graduation for our First Destinations Report. The information helps JMU by providing information on the overall success of graduates; examples of career paths for future Dukes; and data to help in grant applications/reporting.

We want to know if you have accepted employment, graduate school admission or something else, or if you are still seeking (and we expect that many of you are still seeking at this time, and that is fine). Please complete the short outcomes survey at this link:

2022 Career Outcomes

to let us know. Your information is reported in aggregate only.

Thank you for your help with this important request.

Enjoy the upcoming celebrations of your accomplishments!


Trinda Burkhalter joined the Office of Orientation and Transition staff as Orientation Operations Manager in February. This includes the recruitment, hiring, training and supervision of the Orientation Operation Assistants; managing the check-in process and logistics for Orientation programming; and ensuring quality customer service for all new students and families. Trinda graduated from Eastern Mennonite University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication.

This summer the Office of Orientation and Transition will welcome new first-year and transfer students to campus.

Dates for Summer Orientation are listed below:

On-campus: June 12, 13 and 14 Virtual: July 20

On-campus: June 26, 27, 28 and 29 July 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17 and 18 Virtual: July 19


Student Affairs Committees

Student Affairs Professionals (SAPros) Community and Professional Development Team 

We are opening nominations for awards within Student Affairs:  

  • Outstanding New Professional: recognizing an individual who has worked 1-5 years in the student affairs field and has contributed in various positive ways to student and/or professional culture on campus 
  • Program of the Year: recognizing an outstanding program or event developed and implemented by, or in collaboration with, one or more departments within Student Affairs at JMU 
  • Dr. Jim McConnel Values Award: recognizing an individual or group who, like its namesake, demonstrates a strong and lasting commitment to the central values of our Student Affairs division  

Nominations for this year's awards are due Friday, May 26. The awards will be presented during our Student Affairs Appreciation event on June 8. 


Associate Vice President for Student Life and Involvement

Congratulations Dr. D!

Dirron Allen successfully defended his dissertation for earning his Ph.D. Watch this video as it was announced at Greek Sing.

Community Service-Learning

Community Service-Learning sent our 11 student-led Alternative Spring Breaks, serving organizations across the country. For the first time since the pandemic began, we were able to put students on planes and return to longtime partners Redwood National Park and Denver Rescue Mission. Other highlights included serving as camp counselors for young adults with autism at Camp Royall in North Carolina, spring cleaning and classroom decorating for East Coast Migrant Head Start Project in Florida, and a new partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Birmingham that we were able to initiate with help from Myles Surrett. We are grateful to all members of the Student Affairs team (and to their supervisors!) who supported our students as Learning Partners this year: Cheryl Buel, Ginny Kasch, Colleen Waller, Misty Newman, Alyssa Hawley, Lizzy Natiello and Leslie Bailey. The Alternative Break Program couldn't exist without you! If you're interested in serving as an LP in 2023–2024, please send an email to csl@jmu.edu, and we'll make sure you know about upcoming informational sessions.


Center for Multicultural and Student Services (CMSS)

We extend a well-deserved congratulations to JT Todd on receiving a Compass Award at the 2023 JMU Diversity Conference for his work leading the university’s efforts on DEI education for students and staff. We are thankful for JT’s work and commitment to building a better JMU for our students.

Student Affairs 

All Together One Awards

The All Together One Ceremony took place on Tuesday, April 4, in the Warner Commons. Dave Barnes (University Unions), Donna Bitar (University Recreation Center) and DeNae Peterson (AVP- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Acessibility) were recipients of the All Together One Award. Recipients of this award demonstrate the spirit of James Madison University through their commitment to the community and dedication to continue learning and growing.


Community Service-Learning

All Together One Awards

Congratulations to Tara and AZ for receiving the All Together One awards! AZ is a former Alternative Spring Break Leader and Tara is one of our student employees as well as a former Alternative Fall Break and DMAD leader! ODK is the student organization responsible for celebrating the spirit of All Together One by preparing for and carrying out the yearly all together one community gathering. This process includes searching for and selecting the all together one recognition recipients and presenting their stories to the campus community at the gathering.


Compass Award

Our Refugee family housing team (which we called our "ECAR pilot team") was recently selected for a JMU Compass Award for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Group/Department category. Awards recognize vision, advocacy, leadership and catalyzing transformative activity. Our staff joined with key campus colleagues to initiate an effort over the summer of 2022 to provide temporary housing for newly arrived refugee families. Collaborating with the Office of Residence Life we transformed two vacant “Tree House” residence halls to serve four different families for short-term housing. The campus housing as well as additional support provided by faculty and staff volunteers (e.g. grocery store trips, medical appointment transport, bicycles and English conversation), ensured that families were prepared to integrate into the local community. This safe and supportive “landing place” allowed Church World Service staff to secure more durable housing solutions for families in our tight housing market. Powerful collaborations with local organizations like Church World Service, Village 2 Village, Mercy House and Bike for Neighbors were essential to the program’s success!

Special Announcements


Kevin Martinez, Area Director of ResLife, proposed to his wonderful girlfriend (now fiancé), Jennyfer LucasGutierrez at Disney World.


Fiona Kisiday, Operations Technician, was proposed to by her long-term boyfriend, Kent Dubler (UBO) in a romantic setting while their lovely 'fur-son' Boris ran around in excitement during the events. Note: Boris patiently waited for Fiona to say 'yes' before tackling Kent.



We want to send our best wishes to Isaiah Young. Isaiah has been a student assistant in our office for two years and will be graduating in May with a Musical Theatre Major. Isaiah plans to pursue a career as an actor and singer.

Conferences and Presentations


On Feb. 23–25, Betsy Gentry, Chris Ouren and Deborah Hoover attended the Medicat One Conference in Kissimmee, Florida.


Office of Residence Life

Emily Higham, Kelsey Snyder, Sydney Wood, Julie Slifer, Kathleen Campbell and Dirron Allen attended SEAHO in Richmond, VA at the beginning of March. Together they attended many professional development sessions, the VA state meeting and met with numerous vendor partners.



JT Todd (Assistant Director, Multicultural Programs and DEIA Assessment Liaison) and Drae Powell (Associate Director, Student Leadership and Cultural Experiences) successfully presented assessment results for We Are JMU: An Introduction to Inclusion, the department’s orientation program for incoming students. The department looks forward to providing opportunities in the future to share this information more widely.

Upcoming Conferences:
This June, a team from the Center for Multicultural Student Services (CMSS) and Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) will be attending The National Intergroup Dialogue Institute (IGD Institute) that is sponsored virtually by the Program on Intergroup Relations at the University of Michigan. Cassidy Angelo (Assistant Director, SOGIE), Kywn Townsend Riley (Coordinator, Cultural and Affinity Space), Drae Powell (Associate Director, Student Leadership and Cultural Experiences) and JT Todd (Assistant Director, Multicultural Programs and DEIA Assessment Liaison) will be learning the foundations of intergroup dialogue pedagogy, engage in experiential learning and explore ways to expand intergroup dialogue opportunities on campus.



Members of the Orientation and Transition team attended NODA’s Region VIII Conference at VCU from March 10–12. At the conference, they networked with other orientation, transition and retention professionals from across the region and exchanged information about best practices.


Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices (OSARP)

Dr. Benjamin Selznick (Associate Professor, School of Strategic Leadership Studies) and Cover Heishman (OSARP), recently published their qualitative study in the Georgia Journal of College Student Affairs.

I Alone Can’t Stop the Spread”: Mid-Level Conduct Professionals Sensemaking Through COVID-19

Upcoming Events

Campus Wide Events 

Innovation Summit | April 25 | 3:30–6:30 p.m. | Lakeview Hall

The Innovation Summit offers students a valuable opportunity to expand their professional network, showcase their innovative ideas and receive constructive feedback to advance both their projects and future careers. Learn more, here.

Relay For Life | April 28 | 5 p.m.–3 a.m. | Hillside Field

Join the fight against cancer during Relay for Life on JMU campus. Register and learn more, 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


Read the Chronicle of Higher Education for Free
Did you know that the Libraries provides JMU with unlimited access to The Chronicle of Higher Education online? Learn how to access The Chronicle, whether you’re on or off campus.


15 Things Anyone at JMU Can Do in the ETMC

The Educational Technology and Media Center (ETMC) is one of the best-kept secrets on campus. Many people think it’s just for Education students because it’s located in Memorial Hall, but it’s open to everyone! Here are 14 things anyone can do in the ETMC.


What's Moving Now? Preparations for Carrier Renovation

Libraries Staff and Faculty: Did you know that almost everyone in JMU Libraries is currently preparing for an office move or service location move to make the Carrier renovation possible? Some staff and faculty offices have already moved, including the Libraries’ Dean’s Office, which will be temporarily located in Moody Hall. No matter where we’re located temporarily, we remain committed to deep and active engagement with our thriving campus community!


Seed Library Moved to Rose Library

In preparation for the Carrier renovation, the Community Seed Library has moved to Rose Library, across from the elevators on the first floor. You can donate or pick up seeds at Rose Library or Massanutten Regional Library. Envelopes for repackaging seeds are provided. We’re happy to accept store-bought seeds, partially used packets or seeds saved from your garden. Learn more.

Book drop

The library book drop by Burruss Hall has been removed and will soon be reinstalled by Parking Lot K, near the new, temporary location that we’re preparing at 1050 S. Main St.

Your Students Worried About Textbook Costs?

For the first time, when students are enrolling in courses for Fall 2023 and beyond, they can now filter their search for courses with low-cost or no-cost course materials. This is part of an initiative by JMU Libraries and the JMU Office of the Registrar to help students who are struggling with the cost of textbooks. If the total cost of textbooks for a course is $40 or less at the JMU Bookstore, instructors are asked to add this information to the JMU system so students who need courses with affordable textbooks can find them more easily. Learn more, here. 

Celebrate Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month

JMU celebrates Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month in April. Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month is observed nationally in May. Celebrate and learn more about the contributions of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities around the world with these resources from JMU Libraries.

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