JMU has the distinguished honor to report that the university has retained its Community Engagement Classification by the Carnegie Foundation that was first awarded to the university in 2010. This award is the highest form of recognition in the field of community engagement. In fact, only 359 of the 4000 universities in the country have received this recognition. The designation represents the university’s institutional commitment to community engagement.

JMU defines community engagement as fostering mutual beneficial and reciprocal partnerships ranging from local to global, that connect learning to practice, address critical societal problems and improve quality of life.

This reclassification would not be possible without the strong and sustained reciprocal community partnerships we have all committed to cultivating.

Visit JMU's Engagement Hub for more information

Here are a few examples of JMU partnerships:

Valley Scholars Program

Between 8th grade and high school graduation, Valley Scholars are inspired, motivated and educated to become leaders in their classrooms and community. Those who complete the program receive scholarship support to attend JMU.

Page County Integrated Health Care Initiative: The Health Place

The Health Place located in Stanley, Virginia provides an excellent opportunity for health professions students from James Madison University and other institutions of higher learning to contribute to the Page County community while meeting academic requirements.

The Health Place, a satellite of JMU’s Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services, engages students in career preparation by promoting scholarship, providing interprofessional learning experiences, and connecting our campus with communities through innovative programs that advance quality of life.

The Reading Road Show – Gus Bus

The Reading Road Show, more affectionately known as the Gus Bus, is a mobile literacy program that helps to bring literacy opportunities into the neighborhood of students. On the Gus Bus, instructors provide story time, activities, and book checkout for students. The Gus Bus also works in collaboration with the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank to give out food bags at each neighborhood stop.

The Reading Road Show-Gus Bus has two mobile literacy vehicles that serve neighborhoods in the City of Harrisonburg and Page County.

Special Olympic Athletic Hearing Screenings

Members of the JMU Student Academy of Audiology at their screening station for the Special Olympics in Richmond, VA.

Since 2002, students and faculty from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders have traveled to the Special Olympic games at the University of Richmond, providing hundreds of specialized hearing screenings and tests depending on the needs and abilities of each athlete. A licensed audiologist discusses the results and connects them with a provider in their area.

JMU X-Labs

JMU X-Labs is a model of education specifically designed to teach innovation with intention. Its transdisciplinary programming challenges students to take ownership of their education, pivot creatively, and confidently tackle problems that resist easy solutions. The “X” in JMU X-Labs represents the variable of discipline—any and every major is welcome.

College of Health and Behavioral Studies Partnership with Sentara Rockingham Memorial Hospital (SRMH)

The Collaborative provides a framework to foster innovation between Rockingham Memorial Hospital and James Madison University, and to facilitate ideas for collaborative projects.

Healthcare for the Homeless – Suitcase Clinic


At the Suitcase Clinic, we recognize the need for health services and the barriers to care that exist within the local Harrisonburg community. Rather than functioning in a fixed clinical setting, the mobile services provided by the Suitcase Clinic allow clients to be seen by healthcare providers in private settings within various homeless shelter settings. In collaboration with nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, nursing students, PA students, faculty supervisors, and local volunteers, the Suitcase Clinic provides a variety of services to community members through routine clinics.

Overcoming Barriers

The Overcoming Barriers is designed around the concept of "Empowerment".  Our mission is to empower individuals with disabilities, parents, educators/instructors, and community organizations by producing significant changes in each target population's self-efficacy.  Each group is empowered by receiving and utilizing the "tools" necessary to participate in, advocate for, and/or facilitate successful health and physical activity programs.  The programming, training, and support provided is designed to give each targeted population the skills, knowledge, and appropriate attitudes to achieve success and allow all individuals with disabilities to work towards making significant changes in health, wellness, function, and community integration outcomes.

Creativity and Reading Education (CARE)

Creativity and Reading Education program provides a summer enrichment program that integrates the creative arts, English, reading, and literacy development by utilizing community-based field trips for real-world connections and applications.

Writing in the Community – Young Women’s Leadership Program at Thomas Harrison Middle School (WRTC 486)

The Young Women’s Leadership Program, hosted with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Harrisonburg-Rockingham County, enrolls middle-school girls at Thomas Harrison Middle School identified as showing the potential for leadership. The girls participate in weekly, out-of-school group learning opportunities and are matched in a one-on-one mentoring relationship with an adult female. JMU students in the WRTC 486 course act as student leaders and mentors within the program.

Putting Life’s Lessons Into Song – Song-Writing Classes with Gemeinschaft Home Residents

Gemeinschaft Home is a residential reentry center serving recently incarcerated men in Virginia. The song-writing program connects student musicians and songwriters with residents to connect their stories to the development of music.

Adaptive Instrument Project

The Adaptive Instrument Project is a partnership with Harrisonburg City Public Schools to design instruments for students with disabilities. Students from JMU’s music education and engineering classes worked to develop instruments and learn from Stone Spring Elementary School students their needs and wants when it comes to accessible instrument design.

Nasaruni School for Maasai Girls and Madison Camp Kenya

Madison Camp Kenya aims to connect JMU students and faculty with the rich diversity Kenya has to offer, working with the local Maasai to bring change--both in themselves and the community. The goal is for Nasaruni to be a model for sustainable building, innovative bi-directional partnerships, and the power of education to bring change and transformation alongside entire communities. Investors to this educational enterprise will empower JMU students to transform the future of Nasaruni Academy for the Maasai community.

Institute for Constructive Advocacy and Dialogue


In designing and guiding conversations that help people think together productively, we strive to create conversations that engage, connect, and sustain communities. For more information click here.


First Lego League involves thousands of students ages 9-14 in team- based competitions focused on robotics engineering and scientific research. It's a fun, educational, and challenging way for students to learn more about real-life technical challenges and to come up with their own creative solutions. JMU faculty and staff serve on the regional planning committee, and represents JMU’s commitment to the program.

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