When I read The Beacon, I’m always impressed by the variety of events that highlight our interest in reshaping campus climate so JMU is inclusive. The challenge of inclusion is that we must be willing to change rather than expecting underrepresented groups to conform to JMU’s established climate. Climate is created by both individual and institutional behavior, and the climate we create is a complex mixture of good intentions and implicit biases. Everyone has biases, and recognizing implicit bias isn’t about finger pointing at others. It’s about self-reflection and willingness to grow beyond defensiveness.

That’s the first step. The second step involves speaking up about harmful institutional silences, practices and policies. This will be uncomfortable but that’s nothing compared to what underrepresented groups experience every day. When we are silent, we leave others to carry all the burden of our biases; silence is not inclusive, it’s isolating. Let’s support the many events presented in The Beacon as one form of healing public speech as we all take up the challenge of implicit bias, campus climate and creating a truly inclusive community.

AJ Morey

Associate Vice Provost for

Cross Disciplinary Programs and Diversity Engagement


Rocket Age – The American Spirit in Art, 1950-1980

In keeping with the Madison Art Collection’s mission to foster an informed appreciation of the rich diversity of the human experience, visitors to the exhibit encounter drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures, and ceramics. Continuing through April 19th Lisanby Gallery, Festival Center

Donald Trump and the Modern Presidency

Democracy in Peril Series Speakers: Robert Dallek, Professor Emeritus, UCLA and Matthew Dallek, Associate Professor, George Washington University Monday, March 18th, 5:00p.m. Madison Hall, Room 1001

Women’s History Month Film Series

Anita (2013)

A profile of Anita Hill, the African-American lawyer who challenged Clarence Thomas' nomination to the US Supreme Court and thus exposed the problem of sexual harassment to the world. Monday, March 18th, 6:30p.m., Miller Hall - Room 1101

No Choice (2018)

A documentary about the importance of reproductive freedom. Discussion with director Pamela Mason Wagner. Wednesday, March 20, 6:30-9p.m. Miller Hall Room 1101

RBG (2018)

The exceptional life and career of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. Thursday, March 21st, 6:30p.m. Harrison Hall Room 1261

The Connemara Marble

The trans-Atlantic significance of this proposed global heritage ornamental stone Visiting Scholar Martin Feely Professor Emeritus, School of Natural Sciences, National University of Ireland Tuesday, March 19, 4:15p.m. Student Success Center Room 4044

Colonial Wounds/Postcolonial Repair

This exhibit traces the story of French colonialism and colonial violence through the contemporary artwork of Algerian artist Amina Menia as contextualized by historical materials from World War I. Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Art Exhibit continuing through April 13th

Events in conjunction with the exhibit:

  • March 18th: Nefin Dinc film in progress discussion - Harrison Hall Room 1261, 5:30p.m.
  • March 20th: Beth Hinderliter discussion on exhibit artwork- HBS Building, Room G0101, 5:30p.m.
  • March 26: Maureen Shanahan discussion on WWI short films -HBS Building, Room G0101, 6:30p.m.
  • April 2: Anne Hertzog: Remembering for an anti-colonial future: The Indian and Chinese Diasporas and WWI Memorials in Europe - Duke Hall, Room 1032, 5:00p.m.
Join best-selling authors for a casual conversation about books, publishing and the writing process. Wednesday, March 20th, 6:00p.m. Memorial Hall Auditorium

With Alice McDermott

Beyond Opening the Doors: Accessibility in Action

Disability Awareness Week Events

  • Monday: ODS Open House, Institutional Web Accessibility Seminar
  • Tuesday: Employment Accessibility in Action: Dialogue and Brown Bag Lunch, Sensory Yoga @ UREC (Registration through UREC)
  • Wednesday: Self-Care Workshop, Adaptive Rock Climbing @ UREC, Music-Themed Lunch with Trivia Wheel and Prizes
  • Thursday: Adaptive Instruments Lecture by Dr. Lubet, Wheelchair Basketball Pick-up Game @ UREC, Movie Screening: Capturing Grace
  • Friday: Voices of Faculty with Disabilities: Faculty Breakfast and Panel Discussion, CAMMO Training (Register through MyMadison), CFI: Disability and Bioethics Roundtable (Register through CFI)
Alex Lubet

Join professor, composer, researcher, and multi-instrumentalist Dr. Alex Lubet as he shares his personal journey of two decades of research into disability issues within and beyond music

Musical Performance by Dr. Lubet followed by JMUke Strum and Sing. Monday, March 25th, 7:00 p.m., Court Square Theatre

Disability Week Keynote Address Dr. Lubet. Tuesday, March 26th, 6:00 p.m., Festival Ballroom

How We Make Sense of Music

Evidence from Neurotypical and Neurodiverse Populations

Visiting Scholars Adam Ockelford and Graham Welch Wednesday, March 27, 6:30p.m. Anthony Seeger Auditorium
Upcoming events include: Coffee with the Caucus, Spring Social, Happy Hours
During a campus workshop the DC Highlife Stars the will discuss the cultural roots of the musical styles they play and showcase distinctive rhythmic/melodic patterns and indigenous instruments from the African continent, focusing particularly on the exchange of ideas and influences between Africa and the Americas. At the evening concert, the 6-piece group will perform music featuring a variety of African and Afro-diaspora styles, including highlife, rumba, afrobeat and reggae.

Thursday, March 28th

Campus Workshop: African Highlife Music and Intersections - 3:00 p.m. Madison Union - Taylor Down Under

Benefit Concert for R2R Haiti - 7:00 p.m. Golden Pony

Madison Vision Series

Barbara Schall

Serving Society Through Science:

Facts, Communication, and Policy

Barbara Schall is the Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences and Professor of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis. She is an evolutionary biologist and the first woman elected vice president of the National Academy of Sciences. Monday, April 1st, 3:30p.m. Festival Ballroom A

Interfaith Encounters

Third in a series of interfaith sessions focused on big questions about faith and religion. All beliefs and identities are welcome. Tuesday, April 2nd, 5:00p.m. Student Success Center, Room 4044

Dear Friend, From My Life I Speak to You in Your Life

Visiting Scholar Yiyun Li discusses the reading life and writing life, and all things in between and beyond. Tuesday, April 2, 5:00p.m. Memorial Hall Auditorium

Sexual Assault Awareness Month Film Showings

Faces of Harassment (2016) A film by Paula Sacchetta Tuesday, April 2nd, 6:00p.m. Grafton-Stovall Theatre
City of Joy (2016) An inspirational film about a transformational leadership community for women survivors of gender-based violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo Monday, April 8th, 7:00p.m. Wells Planetarium
Roll Red Roll (2018) is a true-crime thriller that goes behind the headlines to uncover the deep-seated and social media-fueled “boys will be boys” culture at the root of high school sexual assault in America. Monday, April 15th, 7:00p.m. Miller Hall Room 1101

The Race Issue and JFK's Domestic and Foreign Policies

John Newman, Political Science Dept., will present material from his new book, "Into the Storm." April 3rd, 7:00p.m. Festival - Allegheny Room

Workplace Inclusion at JMU - Roundtable Discussions

The JMU President’s Task Force on Inclusion invites JMU employees to participate in a discussion around workplace inclusion and campus climate at JMU. What does workplace inclusion mean to you? How can JMU “move the needle” in terms of inclusion? What does JMU need to know to do so?

Friday, April 12, 10-11:30am, Wine-Price Pathways

Thursday, May 9, 10:30-11:30am Festival - Room TBD

Furious Flower Poetry Center’s Poetry Prize for Emerging Poets

Furious Flower is pleased to present the last poetry reading of the semester featuring distinguished poet and poetry prize judge A. Van Jordan. The emerging poets who won first place and honorable mention, Rachelle Parker and Cynthia Manick, respectively, will also be visiting campus to accept their awards and to read their poems. Wednesday, April 17th, 4:00p.m. Festival Highlands Room

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats:

Building on Students’ Funds of Knowledge to Support Literacy Development

Cultura y Comunidad Keynote Lindy L. Johnson - Thursday, April 25th, 7:00p.m. Madison Union, Room 404

Literacy in the 21stCentury: Improving Literacy Outcomes for all Students

As global economies, immigration, new technologies, and exponential growth in information are transforming our society, new literacies are already becoming part of the educational landscape in K-12 classrooms. Join us as we address this topic and discuss how it relates to working with diverse student communities. Cultura y Comunidad Friday, April 26, 8:00am-1:30pm, Madison Union, Room 404

Lavender Graduation: Thursday, April 18th, 6:00 p.m., Madison Union Ballroom

Donning of the Kente: Tuesday, April 30th, 6:00 p.m., Festival Grand Ballroom

Student Focused Events

Connect with CMSS for a variety of events

DEEP Impact Diversity Dialogues held at 7:00 p.m. Madison Union Ballroom

  • 3/27 Beyond Opening the Doors: Dukes in Action in conjunction with Disability Awareness Week
  • 4/4 DEEP Impact Cultural Series featuring award winning author, activist, and advocate Feminista Jones for a discussion on intersectional feminism, mental health, and more!
  • 4/17 Healthcare Disparities

Swap Meet: Promoting sisterhood among all women through networking, empowerment, and sharing ideas on all areas of interest - Saturday, March 23rd, 1:00p.m., Madison Union Room 256

Mental Health in the Black Community - Presented by the Black Student Alliance, Thursday, March 28th, 6:00p.m. Madison Union Room 256

The Life and Legacy of Paul Jennings - Hosted by DEEP and ORL, Friday, March 29th, 7:00p.m. Shenandoah Hall

Culture Show - Sponsored by the Filipino Americans at Madison, Saturday, March 30th, 6:00p.m., Memorial Hall Room 4410

Black Student Alliance 50th Celebration, Saturday, April 27th, 7:00p.m., Madison Union Ballroom

HOLI - Sponsored by the Asian Student Union, Sunday, April 14th, 12:00p.m., Hillside field

Sexual Orientation Gender Identity and Expression

  • 3/18 Trans 101 Workshop 5:00p.m., SSC Room 1075
  • 3/18 Queers and Coffee - Lavender Lounge
  • 3/21 Puppy Pride - Lavender Lounge
  • 4/2 Queers and Coffee - Lavender Lounge
  • 4/3 Out on Campus Dialogue 7:00p.m. SSC Room 1075
  • 4/10 Queers and Coffee - Lavender Lounge
  • 4/17 Puppy Pride - Lavender Lounge
  • 4/18 Lavender Graduation, 6:00 p.m. Madison Union Ballroom

Healthy Sexuality and Sexual Assault Awareness Month

  • 3/20 Real Talk: Rape Culture, 5:00p.m., Festival Allegheny Room
  • 3/27 Your Sexual Health Matter, 9:00a.m.-3:00p.m., UHC Urgent Care entrance
  • 4/1 Sex Smarts: Relationships 101, 6:00p.m., SSC - Room 1075
  • 4/2 Faces of Harassment Film Screening, 6:00p.m., Grafton-Stovall Theatre
  • 4/4 Take Back the Night
  • 4/10 Men & Violence Panel, 6:30p.m.


Meet Tashia Schmelling, Class of 2019 (in Braille)

When we make things accessible, everybody wins!

I was born visually impaired, so from an early age I've had to learn certain skills that were different than my peers. As they learned to read print, I learned Braille with print literacy as a secondary concern. As they learned computers, I learned that, to access the same devices, I would need a program, called a screen reader, which translates on-screen items into audible speech.
Growing up, I never considered that I should not be included, or that I was incapable of certain things. I was, fortunately, raised in an inclusive environment with the belief that the stars are the limit, not the sky.

Recognition and Awards

Compass Awards

Presented by the Office of the President, the Compass Award recognizes an individual or groups’ demonstrated outstanding contributions to diversity and inclusion at JMU.

The Future is Female workshop series for Visionary – forward thinking, innovative, creates new programming or progressive initiatives

B.J. Bryson for Leader – mentoring, guiding, facilitating, influencing

Cecily Thomas for Advocate – providing a voice for an underrepresented person or group

Karina Kline-Gabel for Catalyst – causing transformative activity or understanding between two or more persons, precipitating change

Woman of Distinction Award Winners

Grace Wheeles – Student Award Winner

Colleen G. S. Tennyson – A&P Faculty Winner

Mary Thompson – Instructional Faculty Winner

IDEA Grant Winners

Community Engagement with Paralympic Skill Lab: A Harrisonburg High School and JMU Partnership - Cathy McKay

Addressing the Fear: Training Teachers to Engage Tough Discussions -Ashley Taylor Jaffee and Kristofer Wiley

Sister Speak: DIY Intersectional Feminist Zine Workshop - Mary Thompson

Celebrating Academic Bravery- Filling the Bowl with Hope & Understanding - Francesca Tripodi and Oris Griffin

Over the Mountain and Through the Woods: Enhancing Student Understanding and Cultural Humility through Rural Community Engagement - Yvonne Frazier

Department of Psychology Summer Research Experience for Underserved Undergraduates (SREUU): Krisztina Jakobsen, Robyn Konrad, Dan Holt, Sri Upadhyay, David Szwedo, and Michael Hall

Provost Faculty Diversity Curriculum Grant Winners 2019

Daniel Castenada, Engineering, for “Critical Consciousness in Engineering Curriculum.” Course revision (Engr 200)

Kyle Gipson, Engineering, for “Culturally Responsive STEM Content workshop for Faculty.” Research for future curriculum development

Besi Muhonja and Mollie Godfrey, English, for “Black Studies and Black Spaces: Black Critical Frameworks and Communities at JMU and Beyond, 1968-to the Present.” New course

Danielle Price, English, for “Multiethnic Children’s Literature.” New course

Christine Robinson, Justice Studies, for “Educating for Diversity and Engagement: Sexual Orientation and Social Policy.” Course revision; create permanent course

Ben Selznik, Strategic Leadership Studies, for “Making Space for Diversity Through JMU X-Labs Courses.” Research for improving courses

Mary Thompson, English, for “Sister Speak: Intersectional Feminist Zine.” New course

Mary Thompson and Becca Howes-Mischel, for “WGSS 305: Methods and Theories.” New course

Highlights from our Community in Action

Recent events provide a learning opportunity for our students, faculty and staff to apply principles of ethical reasoning as we continue to come together to learn from and with one another and to make our community an example for others to follow.

- President Alger, February 11th, 2019

Check out the new Interactive Accessibility Map created by the GIS team in Facilities Management. This map provides search and zoom features, building accessibility info, and parking lot accessible space info.
Did you know that Career & Academic Planning provides tailored career and job search advice for specific student communities, including LGBTQ+, multicultural students, grad students, veterans, and students with disabilities?
This groundbreaking book explores the counterproductive reactions white people have when discussing racism that serve to protect their positions and maintain racial inequality. The Provost’s Faculty Diversity Committee read White Fragility and invited others to join us for discussions in January and February. While we are proceeding with further discussion about unconscious bias, this book will continue to inform our conversation, and we highly recommend it for all JMU faculty and staff.

Learn more in these short YouTube videos:

... and engaging views since the last revolution of The Beacon.

jessica Care moore, The Future is Female, Eric Montgomery, MLK March & Speak Out, Brittany Cooper keynote, MLK formal program, MLK Day of Services, Justice John Charles Thomas, ROTC Commissioning, Rocket Age, Valley Scholars at HBS

Broaden the scope of your diversity IQ

March 20-1(sundown to sundown): Holi, a Hindu and Sikh spring religious festival observed in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. People celebrate Holi by throwing colored powder and water at each other.

March 31: International Transgender Day of Visibility, celebrated to bring awareness to transgender people and their identities as well as recognize those who helped fight for rights for transgender people.

April is Celebrate Diversity Month, started in 2004 to recognize and honor the diversity surrounding us all.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month which is a campaign to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it.

April is Autism Awareness Month, established to raise awareness about the developmental disorder that affects children’s normal development of social and communication skills.

April 19-27: Passover, an eight-day Jewish holiday and festival in commemoration of the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.

April 21: Easter, a holiday celebrated by Christians to recognize Jesus’ return from death after the Crucifixion.

April 22: Earth Day promotes world peace and sustainability of the planet.

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in the United States. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869

May is Older Americans Month, established in 1963 to honor the legacies and contributions of older Americans and to support them as they enter their next stage of life.

May is Jewish American Heritage Month, which recognizes the diverse contributions of the Jewish people to American culture.

The Beacon has been created by the Office of Access & Inclusion to share the good work of academic and administrative departments, students, affinity groups and more in supporting diversity and inclusion at JMU. If you have an article or upcoming event that should be considered for the next newsletter please send us an email:


JMU University Marketing Photography Department, Women Make Movies, Bryant Leonard

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