The task force is divided into tiers to ensure the work is done at multiple levels. This structure includes an administrative team, a leadership council and eleven working groups.

The task force as a whole will meet at least once or twice a semester.  Given current circumstances, and in order to maximize participation by individuals on and off campus, it is anticipated that the task force meetings will be virtual at this point in time, although we hope that some in-person meetings and interactions will become feasible soon. Art Dean and Rudy Molina, and their respective offices, will help to coordinate meetings, communications, and other logistics for the task force.

Administrative Team

The five co-chairs of the Task Force on Racial Equity are:

  • Cynthia Bauerle, Interim Vice Provost for Faculty and Curriculum

  • Arthur Dean, Executive Director, Campus & Community Programs for Access and Inclusion

  • Brent Lewis, Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Student Affairs

  • Rudy Molina, Vice Provost, Student Academic Success and Enrollment Management

  • Deborah Tompkins Johnson, Vice Rector, Board of Visitors

Additional support has been added for the overall success of the task force to include Dr. Tia Brown McNair as national advisor and Dr. Jennifer PeeksMease as JMU consultant.

The Administrative Team meets weekly on Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m.

Leadership Council

The task force's Leadership Council has fourteen members. Each council member is embedded in one of the working groups and together the Council supports TFRE efforts by serving as consultants and connectors across working group conversations. Council members contribute diverse knowledge, skills and perspective to the effort as faculty experts, administrative and community leaders, JMU alumni and students. One of their primary functions is to encourage collaboration across the TFRE initiative. They also work closely with TFRE co-chairs to prepare submission of working group recommendations to President Alger.

The Leadership Council meets monthly. Working Group co-chairs and the Leadership Council also meet monthly.

Working Groups

The eleven Working Groups are the heart of the TFRE. The Working Groups discuss achieving steps towards racial equity in several aspects of university responsibilities, university life and community collaboration.

Working Groups will meet a minimum of once a month and more frequently if needed.

Working Group Purpose Statements:

Administrative and Professional Faculty Professional Development: Focus on issues for administrative and professional faculty related to recruitment, promotion, retention, coaching, mentoring, advocacy, leadership and professional development opportunities. Consider best practices and make recommendations that will cultivate belonging and inclusion within the university.

Advocacy, Support and Public Safety: Review and enhance processes that support faculty, staff and students as they navigate the JMU community with regard to incidents of bias, discrimination and harassment.  Focus on how to build knowledge and awareness of those resources.  Training for key University community leaders and beyond that will enhance the overall safety, protection and well-being of people of color at JMU. We want to research and address public safety interactions especially with black people but including all other racial groups as well.

Alumni Engagement: Identify and develop diverse leaders and leadership opportunities within the JMU alumni community, and ways to cultivate diverse alumni to serve on various boards and organizations within the JMU community. 

Athletics: Focus on student life, issues, ideas and concerns in athletics – e.g., how students are supported and communicated with; how they learn and navigate the community they have joined.  Consider new ideas for recruitment, retention and student success.

Awareness/Communication: To strategize messaging about JMU’s commitment to, and work for, racial equity—and how the university contributes to greater societal change—by focusing on collaboration, as well as striving toward systemic solutions and making outcome-oriented recommendations. 

Classified Staff Professional Development: The Classified Staff Professional Development Working Group’s mission is to eliminate bias in personnel management* of classified staff and wage employees, while creating opportunities and solutions for under-represented groups of JMU employees.

*Personnel management includes– recruiting, hiring, promotion, supervision, and performance management.

Economic Engagement and Business Relationships: Examine the economic footprint of JMU within Harrisonburg-Rockingham County. Examine business relationships with SWAM owned companies (Small, Women and Minority-owned businesses) and the correlation with supplier diversity. Information and connectivity for students, faculty, administrators, alumni pursuing business ownership, particularly in Harrisonburg-Rockingham community.  Review and explore the role of student entrepreneurship and economic engagement (especially by race).

Instructional Faculty Professional Development: To develop a comprehensive plan, timeline, and assessment benchmarks for identifying and redressing racist practices experienced by BIPOC faculty, advancing a diverse, multiculturally informed, and anti-racist instructional faculty that cultivate an inclusive university climate, and providing robust support such that BIPOC faculty can thrive at JMU throughout each stage of their professional career.

PreK-12 Engagement: To advise the president and administration of James Madison University regarding issues of racial equity, receive and provide feedback on information related to current and planned initiatives, focused on outreach to PreK-12 schools, students, and educators to ensure the development of pathways to JMU are equitable and inclusive.

Student Academic Success: Build an educational experience for current and future JMU students that prioritizes student academic success as well as the lived experiences of Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) and underrepresented minorities at JMU.

Student Co-curricular Life: To develop a comprehensive plan and timeline focusing on issues impacting new students, undergraduate and graduate students outside the classroom, including the role of student organizations and activities, residence life, career counseling, and campus spaces during the 2020-21 academic year in response to the President's Task Force on Racial Equity.


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