Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.92
Liaison Christie-Joy Hartman
Submission Date Dec. 21, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

James Madison University
IN-26: Innovation C

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Abraham Goldberg
Executive Director
James Madison Center for Civic Engagement
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Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
James Madison Center for Civic Engagement

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

The James Madison Center at James Madison University (JMU) was formed in 2017 to further students' meaningful participation in civic and political life. We define civic engagement as 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 James Madison Center and the JMU Center for Research and Assessment developed campus-wide civic engagement learning outcomes, which is not common practice. Information on the learning outcomes can be found at https://www.jmu.edu/civic/reports/civic-engagement-learning-outcomes.pdf. The James Madison Center also partnered with the JMU Center for Faculty Innovation to hold the following sessions: Embedding Dialogue in the Classroom: Facilitating Difficult Discussion, Debate Across the Curriculum, and Teaching in an Era of Political Polarization.

One of many aspects of civic engagement is voting. Voter education and engagement is embedded in several job descriptions at JMU, which is an uncommon practice. JMU has an on-campus precinct. And, JMU is one of only four campuses in Virginia with a Voter Friendly Campus designation.

Because the construct of civic engagement is broad, a comprehensive approach is needed for its assessment. To provide a wide-ranging view of JMU students’ civic engagement capabilities and to measure aspects of civic engagement not already captured by other assessments, the Political Engagement Project Survey (PEPS) was administered to a random sample of 371 students with 45-70 credit hours during Assessment Day in February 2018. (PEPS was also administered to incoming freshmen in August 2017.) The 2018 PEPS sample was drawn from a larger sample of 3,281 undergraduate JMU students with 45-70 credit hours going into the Spring 2018 semester as part of a university-wide Assessment Day initiative. A random sample of 371 (61.99% female) of those students completed the PEPS during Assessment Day in four different proctored testing rooms. This sample consisted of sophomores (71.54%) and juniors (28.46%). Students were, on average, 20 years old (M= 20.14; SD=0.74) and 83.83% identified themselves as White. Students were given 40 minutes to record their responses to the 90-item assessment. Examples of the results include (1) 61% of respondents view a concern about justice and human rights as being central to their identity, and (2) 18% of the student respondents volunteered for an environmental organization.

The James Madison Center is participating in "Assessing and Improving Political Learning and Engagement with the American Democracy." Over the course of two years, 12 American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) campuses, including JMU, will test tools with which to assess campus climates for political learning and engagement. Together, campus teams working with researchers from the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) at Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life will pilot processes for engaging campus communities in measuring, understanding and improving campus climates in order to ensure that all students are prepared to be informed, engaged citizens. Thus far, the group conducted four student focus groups during the Spring semester and will have completed focus groups for Student Affairs professionals, Academic Deans, and Academic Unit Heads by the end of July 2018.

Note: JMU distinguishes between community engagement and civic engagement. JMU Community Service-Learning (CS-L) cultivates positive social change through mutually beneficial service partnerships, critical reflection, and the development of engaged citizens through our values of humility, intentionality, equity, accountability, service, relationships, and learning. Service-Learning is a method of teaching where students learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized community service. The service experience is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum of the student. CS-L estimates students' community service hours for JMU, as reported elsewhere in STARS.


Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Curriculum
Campus Engagement
Public Engagement

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The James Madison Center for Civic Engagement: https://www.jmu.edu/civic

The Political Engagement Project Survey: https://www.jmu.edu/civic/reports/Political%20Engagement%20Survey%20Spring%202018.pdf

JMU Community Service-Learning: https://www.jmu.edu/csl/

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.