The Beacon Spotlighting inclusivity at James Madison University

Welcome to The Beacon

JMU Office of Access & Inclusion's Newsletter

November/December, 2017

In this Issue of The Beacon, we bring into focus highlighted Access and Inclusion activities. I want to draw your attention particularly to the upcoming deadlines for the Diversity Conference Call for Proposals, the Innovative Diversity Enhancement Award (IDEA) grants, and the Provost's Faculty Diversity Curriculum Development grants .

As we move forward, we will continue to encourage you to seek out your unit diversity council members actively to share ideas. We know also that each college and institutional unit is unique and would therefore have different diversity priorities. At the Office for Access and Inclusion, we endeavor to bring all your efforts to light. Your collaboration is important to help us move forward.

Thank You,

David Owusu-Ansah, PhD

Professor of History and Executive Director Faculty Access & Inclusion


Democracy in Peril

Speakers: Carolyn Engelhard, MPA Director, UVA Health Policy Program and Mohan Nadkarni, MD Professor of Medicine, UVA School of Medicine; Wednesday, Nov. 1st 5:00 p.m.; Madison Hall - Room 1001

Madison Vision Series Panel

Thursday, Nov. 2nd, 3:30-5:00p.m., Forbes Center Concert Hall

The Kaleidoscope Project

Opening Reception: Friday, Nov. 3rd, 3:30-4:30, Music Library's Little Gallery Underground, Music Building

Veterans Day Observed

Veterans Day Flag Display - The Quad: Friday, Nov. 10th, 7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Today we honor the life of each brave service man and woman who made the ultimate sacrifice in the global war on terrorism. A total of 6,902 American flags will be on display. This is a joint effort between the Student Veterans Association, the Veterans Scholars Task Force, ROTC, and other organizations.

Diversity at JMU?

Friday, Nov. 10th, 3:30-5:30 p.m., The Forbes Center Room 2240

Come join students and the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ Diversity Committee as we discuss diversity and inclusion here at JMU. We will explore the questions of are we diverse, and what does it look like to be more inclusive and empathetic on campus and in our community?

America in Transition

Tuesday, Nov. 14th 7:00-9:00 p.m., Madison Union Ballroom

America in Transition is a documentary series and community engagement campaign that explores community, family, and social issues for trans people of color across the United States.

Trans 101/202 Professional Development Opportunity for Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Assistants

Registration ends Friday, November 3rd

Wednesday, November 15th 10a.m.-Noon, Madison Union Rooms 400 & 402

This professional development opportunity will explore the unique experiences and needs of trans people; identify structural and procedural barriers that face trans people; and discuss how JMU can better support our trans community. All faculty and staff are welcome, regardless of knowledge level.

3:00-5:00 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

For Faculty: Wednesday, Nov. 15th, Memorial Hall Room 7325

For Staff: Tuesday, Dec. 12th, Madison Union Ballroom

Furious Flower Poetry Reading: Nicole Sealey

Wednesday, Nov. 15th, 4:00 p.m., Madison Union Ballroom


Nobuntu, a female a cappella quintet from Zimbabwe on its first-ever American tour, will perform traditional Zimbabwean songs to Afro-jazz to gospel music. Thursday, Nov. 16th, 8:00 p.m., Forbes Center Concert Hall

Multiple Media Exhibit: Fahimeh Vahdat

Fahimeh Vahdat is a visual artist who fled her home country of Iran as the revolution erupted. Her work highlights the universal refugee experience, human rights abuses (particularly against women and children in Iran and the Middle East), as well as issues of body politics, stereotypes, race, rituals, and beauty. Now through Dec. 8th, Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Arts

Catalyst Quartet

Catalyst Quartet strives to advance diversity in classical music with dynamic performances of cutting-edge repertoire by a wide range of composers. Tuesday, Nov. 28th, 8:00 p.m.

Book Displays at Libraries

November 30th - January 4th

Women in Science and Science Fiction - Carrier Library

Black Lives Matter - Rose Library

Holiday Tree Lighting, December 1st

Student Focused Events

Connect with CMSS for a variety of opportunities that include:

Asian Student Union's Annual Culture Show: 11/5

DEEP Impact Diversity Dialogues:

11/8 Internalized Oppression

11/15 Islamophobia Today

12/6 Exclusion in Feminism

And more!

The Future is Female

A series of seven varied workshops to help women prepare professionally to enter the world after graduation by cultivating confidence and courage. Workshops will be offered on Fridays during the spring semester. Applications are due by NOON on Friday, Dec. 1st.
New Course Offering; Register in MyMadison
Do you know a veteran who might be interested in becoming a teacher? The Troops to Teachers Virginia Center is here to support military service members who want to become teachers. They assist with licensure review, academic planning, career coaching, and job placement.

Call for Proposals

12th Annual Diversity Conference

Call for Proposals

Deadline Friday, December 1st

Innovative Diversity Efforts Award (IDEA) Grants

The Office of Access & Inclusion is pleased to announce a call for proposals for projects that will enhance the diversity of JMU. The goal of this award program is to provide funds to students, faculty, and staff members who want to test innovative ideas and/or develop sustainable activities and projects that would enrich the diversity of the university. Individuals, departments, units or groups are invited to submit proposals. Awards of up to $4,000 each will be made during the Spring 2018 semester for the 2018 – 2019 academic year.

Deadline: Monday, January 15th by 5:00 p.m.

Provost's Faculty Diversity Curriculum Development Grants

The Provost’s Faculty Diversity Council is pleased to invite proposals for curriculum creation, research and revision that will highlight diversity and inclusion. The Provost has dedicated $18,000 for six awards of up to $3,000 each, for work to be accomplished during the fall 2018-spring 2019 academic year.

Deadline: Friday, January 12th by 5:00 p.m.


Meet Heather Coltman, provost and senior vice president

Life is Art and Art is life!

My childhood was spent in colonial south Africa and Zambia, and I was raised to be very aware of tensions around race, religion, culture, socio-economic and gender differences.
The performing arts disciplines tend to be very inclusive and open-minded, so I believe I took for granted so many of the opportunities and experiences that I had, not realizing until later in life how many obstacles exist for people without the privileges I had.

Meet Steve Grande, director of Community Service-Learning

Lover of coffee, hummus, and access for all!

I entered higher education and student affairs precisely because of my passion for access and inclusion. I wrote in my graduate school statement of purpose that I wanted to help create environments that brought out the best in all students to address the most pressing problems in our society as well as make these environments accessible to students who have traditionally had to overcome unnecessary barriers. I maintain that interest today.


The College of Business collaborated with On the Road Collaborative to host a full-day interactive college visit for local middle schoolers. On the Road Collaborative is a local non-profit youth empowerment organization.

A Lasting Impression

New mural reflects Center for Global Engagement's new focus.
Featuring words from our people about the Valley Scholars experience and those who make it happen.

JMU is a Diversity Champion!

JMU is one of a select few universities to be honored as a Diversity Champion for its efforts to create and sustain a diverse and inclusive campus culture. JMU has received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

JMU earns civic learning and community engagement award.

JMU was recognized for its comprehensive approach to civic learning and community engagement, which includes an award-winning service-learning program; student-centered, innovative teaching; and expanded commitment to civic engagement.

and more...

President Alger receiving the HEED Award; Ms. Monk, The Constitution Lady; The March for DACA; International Week: CGE mural and panel discussion on Peacebuilding in Colombia; Madison Hispanic Caucus; Furious Flower readings by Nate Marshall, Kwame Dawes and Matthew Shenoda; Africana Dialogue Series

Broaden your diversity IQ:

Defining Diversity and Inclusion

“Diversity” and “inclusion” are often used interchangeably yet they are actually quite different.

Diversity refers to the long list of characteristics attributed to persons. A diverse community has individuals who represent different races, national origins, ethnicities, genders, abilities, sexual preferences, ages, interests, backgrounds, levels of educational achievement, socioeconomic statuses — and the list goes on.

Inclusion, on the other hand, refers to how the individuals in these diverse environments feel they are treated by their peers and managers — whether they feel respected and whether they have opportunities within the organization to grow and advance.

In other words, diversity looks at the composition of a community, whereas inclusion measures how fair and inclusive the interactions and practices are within that community.

A glimpse of significant dates in Nov/Dec.

November is National Native American Heritage Month, which celebrates the history and contributions of Native Americans.

November 1: All Saints Day, which commemorates all known and unknown Christian saints.

November 2: All Souls Day, which commemorates all faithful Christians who are now dead. In the Mexican tradition, the holiday is celebrated as Dia de los Muertos (October 31 and November 2), which is a time of remembrance for dead ancestors and a celebration of the continuity of life.

November 11: Veterans Day, an annual U.S. federal holiday honoring military veterans.

November 20: Transgender Day of Remembrance, established in 1998 to memorialize those who have been killed as a result of transphobia, and to raise awareness of the continued violence endured by the transgender community.

November 23: Thanksgiving is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. The day was set in stone by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 and approved by Congress in 1941. Thanksgiving Day can be traced back to the 1621 celebration at the Plymouth Plantation, where the religious refugees from England known popularly as the Pilgrims invited the local Native Americans to a harvest feast after a particularly successful growing season.

December 1: World AIDS Day, which was created to commemorate those who have died of AIDS, and to acknowledge the need for a continued commitment to all those affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

December 3: International Day of Disabled Persons, which is designed to raise awareness in regards to persons with disabilities in order to improve their lives and provide them with equal opportunity.

December 10: International Human Rights Day, established by the United Nations in 1948 to commemorate the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

December 12: Eid Milad Un Nabi, an Islamic holiday commemorating the birthday of the prophet Muhammad. During this celebration, homes and mosques are decorated, large parades take place, and those observing the holiday participate in charity events.

December 12-20: Hanukkah is celebrated around the world for eight days and nights. Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Maccabees or Israelites over the Greek-Syrian ruler, Antiochus about 2200 years ago. A Menorah is a special nine-branched candelabrum.

December 21: The Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. A solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice each year when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky.

December 25: Christmas, the day that Christians celebrate Jesus’s birth.

December 26 – January 1: Kwanzaa, an African-American holiday started by Maulana Karenga in 1966 to celebrate universal African-American heritage.

“As an institution of higher education named for the Father of the Constitution, there is no higher calling for JMU than to be a beacon of civil discourse on the major issues of our time. True learning is only possible when we put aside our differences, and begin listening to one another. That is what higher education is all about.” - President Alger

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:


Created with images by JMU University Marketing Photography Department; Werner Puntigam/ear x eye, Catalystquartet.com

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