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JMU's vision is to be the national model for the engaged university: engaged with ideas and with the world.

Engagement at JMU is...

JMU understands engagement as consisting of three facets - Engaged Learning, Community Engagement and Civic Engagement. We define them below to provide some structure and clarity for the members of our community. We recognize that there is plenty of overlap between the three. We also realize that not all engagement-related work fits neatly into one of the categories. While we know that the definitions are necessary, we focus our understanding of the concept by emphasizing community and individual relationships as the center of our uniqueness as an engaged university. Faculty-student relationships, relationships with the local and global community and partnerships that foster deep and purposeful learning are the focus of our vision.

Engaged Learning
Jesmine Torres-Roberts and Curtis Kapsak in the DNA sequencer lab.

Developing deep, purposeful and reflective learning, while uniting campus and community in the pursuit, creation, application and dissemination of knowledge.

Community Engagement
Engineering's annual sophomore year bike project to design bicycles for local mobility-challenged clients.

Fostering mutually beneficial and reciprocal partnerships, ranging from local to global, that connect learning to practice, address critical societal problems and improve quality of life.

Civic Engagement
Madison Vision Series Class Visit John Bridgeland

Advancing the legacy of James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, by preparing individuals to be active and responsible participants in a representative democracy dedicated to the common good.

The Engagement Concept Map
Engagement Vision Markers

How will we know when we’ve become “the national model for the engaged university?” What measures will we use to track progress? The purpose of the vision markers list is to address these questions.

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    Fellows with the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement share their insights with education reporters at the National Press Club.

  • Students sorting used clothing donations - MLK Day of Service -2019 Engaging the community in a day of service

    On a brisk day that tied record low temperatures, students, volunteers, faculty and staff came out to honor Martin Luther King Jr. as the College of Business hosted its 4th annual Day of Service.

  • CFE-Patrick-Fist Gaining traction

    Students were challenged to transform their ideas into pitch-ready business models.

  • MM-Honors retreat-discussion Welcome to the Honors College

    What does it mean to be Madisonian in the 21st century? Freshman Honors students grappled with that question during a trip to Montpelier.

Why Engagement Matters

To Students, 

When you walk across the stage at JMU’s graduation having been a part of an engaged university community, you haven’t just been educated, you’ve been transformed. What does engagement look like? Things like community service, travel, civic or political involvement, experimentation, work, campus involvement, creativity and teamwork are part of it. The Engagement opportunities you choose will lead to a greater self-understanding and, therefore, a more meaningful connection with others. You will be creative, collaborative, resilient, and ethical. You will become a citizen in the best sense of that word.  See full document for students.

To Instructional Faculty,

Engagement is not a new idea at JMU. It’s been a hallmark for many years. Made meaningful by JMU’s focus on scholarship and teaching, engagement leads to deep, purposeful and reflective learning that can confront real-world challenges.

Faculty are engaged with ideas and the world every day as they build relationships with students. Engagement is a pathway – a means to fulfill our mission to prepare students to be educated and enlightened citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives.

One faculty member said: “An engaged university should take an active role in its students developing into real-world problem solvers and effective citizens in society. Specifically, this means providing opportunities for the students to be active participants in the learning process…” .

There’s an inherent and meaningful reciprocity in the idea of engagement. As another faculty member said, “…engagement is a reflection of the degree to which one’s research, teaching, and service are grounded in a belief that what one does matters to the community and to the world, while consciously seeing my contributions as part of a reciprocal process. I teach my students, I learn from my students; I serve the community, I benefit from the community.” See full document for instructional faculty.

To A&P Faculty & Staff, 

When we say we want to be the national model for the engaged university, engaged with ideas and with the world, we’re not introducing a new idea to JMU. We have been involved in the pursuit of engaged learning, community engagement and civic engagement for years. All three Engagement aspects foster the learning and development process - knowledge-creation and applying that knowledge to solve real world problems that affect all of us. Students at an engaged university like JMU learn both in and out of the classroom, connecting meaningfully with faculty, staff and peers so that the entire JMU community is involved in the learning and development process. See full document for A&P faculty & staff.

To External Audiences,

When students walk across the stage at graduation having been a part of an engaged university such as JMU, they haven’t just been educated, they’ve been transformed and empowered. They have learned the importance of a strong work ethic and have become committed to and skilled in collaboration with others in teams. They aren’t just intelligent, but interpersonally effective. They are determined to live a life of meaning and pursue a career of purpose as they move forward. They contribute to solving society’s problems and use their knowledge as a tool for building a more perfect union. They are creative, collaborative, resilient, and ethical. They are citizens in the best sense of that word. See full document for external audiences.

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