The James Madison University Board of Visitors met Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, in the Board Room of Madison’s Festival Conference and Student Center.

The following is a summary of actions taken by the board and key areas of discussion at the board meeting:

  • Approved the April 26, 2019, Board of Visitors meeting minutes;
  • Accepted committee reports from the Advancement, Athletics, Academics & Student Life, Audit and Finance & Physical Development committees;
  • Approved two easements for road improvements and utility work;
  • Received a report on the College of Arts and Letters from Dr. Robert Aguirre, dean of the college;
  • Approved the Six-Year Plan to be submitted to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia; Met in closed session;
  • Approved the purchase of real property:
    • 735 S. Main Street for $1.4 million.

Was told by President Alger during his President’s Report:

  • The Madison Plan is being reviewed and updated;
  • Some key challenges and trends facing higher education:
    • Value propositions;
    • Declining trust in expertise and institutions;
    • Student safety and well-being;
    • Enrollment, demographics, diversity
  • JMU is responding to challenges and trends:
    • Focus on intellectual skills and action;
    • Increased emphasis on interdisciplinary thinking and problem solving;
    • New academic programs that respond to emerging needs;
    • Internship and hands-on experiences;
    • Career and academic planning;
    • Community and civic engagement;
    • “Anchor” institution model;
    • Fostering an environment that values and shares different perspectives through civil discourse;
    • Increased counseling staff;
    • Creation of new programs like Madison Cares, Rebound;
    • Continued focus on safety and prevention;
    • Increased outreach and recruitment efforts;
    • Focus on financial aid and scholarships;
    • Continued emphasis on raising JMU’s national profile and name recognition;
    • Programs to recruit and retain first-generation and disadvantaged students;
    • Expansion of graduate, adult-degree and certificate programs;
    • Recommendations from the Task Force on Inclusion;
  • Introduced new campus leadership:
    • Bethany Nowviskie, dean of Libraries;
    • Mark L’Esperance, dean of the College of Education;
    • Jack Knight, university counsel;
    • Bob Klein, American Council on Education fellow.

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