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Dean's note: Saying goodbye to summer

August 23, 2022

It is hard to believe the summer is coming to an end. Even though many in the college work in Case Hall all summer long, there’s a distinctly summer feeling that befalls campus. For the most part, it’s a lot quieter and most people will agree the available parking increases tenfold.

This week is particularly exciting as we are welcoming our inaugural cohort of 21 Early Start students to James Madison. Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Brian Johnson leads the charge in organizing JMC’s first bridge program geared toward helping first-generation college students acclimate by establishing a support system and sense of belonging before classes begin. I am eager to meet them this week as they attend a variety of activities and programming that will no doubt make memories and set the tone for a strong start in their Spartan journey.

We have many new faces to greet this fall — a total of 282 incoming first-year students, two new academic specialists: Florensio Hernandez and Jahshua Smith, and joining the faculty is Professor Jordan Cash, assistant professor in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy. Hernandez and Smith will assume recruitment responsibilities for the college, support programming under Assistant Dean Johnson and provide academic advising for JMC students. Cash joins us from Baylor University and will be teaching MC 373B and MC 201 this fall.

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of meeting some of our D.C. alumni and friends at the JMC in D.C. alumni event. Getting a chance to meet so many proud Madisonians is one of the highlights of the summer and since joining the JMC community a year ago. I especially enjoyed connecting with Howard Kass, Matt Hansen and Sarah Mars Bowie to name a few, and having an opportunity to chat with students like Social Relations and Policy (SRP) senior Alexie Milukhen who interned with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute this summer in D.C.

Many students, faculty and staff explored places farther away than Washington D.C. Be sure to read all the Student News to learn about JMC student experiences in Argentina, Jordan and South Korea.

In addition to jet setting, many faculty and staff members met throughout the summer to continue drafting the JMC Strategic Plan. We look forward to receiving feedback when the final draft is complete at the end of fall semester.

The semester calendar is quickly filling with events. Dr. Matthew Andler will be joining us next month for his first visit to campus as this year’s Stephen O. Murray Scholar in Residence and another great alumni event is slated for Sept. 22 in Grand Rapids. Before we think about September, let the Fall Welcome festivities begin!


Cameron Thies

Dean and MSU Foundation Professor