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To engage all students in accessible1 and inclusive2 learning, growth, and personal development opportunities3 and experiences.4

  1. Accessibility and Universal Design are a priority for JMU as we continue to remove barriers and ensure equity among all students.
  2. JMU is working to create more spaces for students to be valued, respected, and heard.
  3. We are a community of educators.
  4. Student Affairs should be a place where education in the classroom and personal growth and education come together for the complete student.


Every student thrives.

Student Affairs aspires to value students, limit obstacles, build resiliency, and foster a climate where students thrive in their own way. To thrive is to live effectively, to operate at a high level of well-being, to fulfill potential, and to contribute positively within a larger community. When students leave JMU, we want all of them to have the skills, knowledge, and abilities to lead productive and meaningful lives.


Focusing on Students: We engage with and actively listen to all students with their learning and development in mind.

Through our work in student affairs, we take this value to heart through everything that we do focused on students. We take our students’ needs and desires into mind when thinking and providing developmental opportunities. Student affairs recognizes that we cannot just make decisions based on what we think is best for students, but also listening to what they need to find success and growth during their time at James Madison University.

Leading Courageously: We lead purposefully and intentionally to enact needed systemic, long-term change with the guidance and voices of all constituents.

As a division, we are constantly looking for ways to be better than we were yesterday for our faculty, staff, and students. A level of courage and intentionality is essential for these systemic changes. We want to make sure leadership includes all leadership styles, at every level, because we acknowledge that reaching these goals is not a solo job, but one that needs everyone.

Transcending Boundaries: We go beyond obstacles and artificial structures to serve the JMU community.

We developed phrasing for this value to point out the value of breaking out of silos and intentionally working together. We want to emphasize that we need to go beyond what we have done in the past and beyond previously understood limits. While some boundaries are important to keep in our personal and professional lives, we do not want to create and uphold obstacles that prevent students from getting the best experience possible.

Creating Belonging: We create spaces and a culture that celebrates all identities and makes it possible for faculty, students, and staff to be their most authentic selves.

Belonging means you do not need to change in order to be included and celebrated; who you are matters. We acknowledge the action required to create spaces that celebrate all identities. We value and continuously focus on how we can improve our services and experiences to make celebration and encouragement of differing identities and backgrounds a reality.

Embracing Innovation and Change: We reflect on our past to innovate toward a better future to make positive change for all.

This value comes from the quote “old ways cannot open new doors”. This evolved to the idea that we need to come up with new, innovative ways to modify what we are doing and what we are trying to do in the future to have new and greater options for all. We acknowledge new ways and innovations need to come from new places and people who have not previously had voices in decisions. We recognize some of the Practices, protocols, and policies currently in place can be improved to be more inclusive for all. This includes shifting some of the “JMU Way” and transforming some of our traditions while also creating some new ones.

Honoring and Valuing Our Staff: We invest in each staff member by honoring and valuing their talents, gifts, and needs.

Honoring means to acknowledge and fulfill obligations. In order for staff to be functioning at their best, we acknowledge their needs and accomplishments while holding each other up. Burnout can be a real obstacle in our work. To combat that reality a focus on support and care needs to exist so no one is pouring from an empty cup. We need to value each other by giving everyone a seat at the table and a voice in our work, and we need to support each other through positive and consistent relationships.

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