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DEI in action: Semester in review

April 21, 2022


As we approach the end of semester, it is helpful to reflect upon the DEI advancements we have accomplished, while also looking forward to much more work that is ahead of us. Within the past three months, JMC’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Programming has accomplished a great deal. Consider the following:

  • I began my time at JMC by visiting classes and meeting students. These informal visits provided me with an opportunity to learn of challenges and visions of our JMC students. I remain impressed by the talent and motivation of our JMC students.
  • JMC’s College Inclusion Committee unveiled a working draft of the DEI Strategic Plan. The plan provides a blueprint for actionable DEI initiatives within the College.
  • The Office of Diversity Programming participated in a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Residential College Scholarship Essay Contest, with two JMC students, Troy Distelrath and Dylan McGinnis, placing first and third.
  • In honor of Black History Month, JMC students participated in a spoken word video screening by The Guild, a renowned group of poets and social justice advocates who have performed throughout the country. The screening involved a compelling discussion regarding the history and role of spoken word within African American history, and as a tool for social justice and expression.
  • Madison Academic Diversity Initiative, or MADI, students reconvened this semester and provided recommendations and resources to increase sense of belonging among students within JMC. The Office will launch a revamped and reimagined program in the fall.

In addition, JMC’s Office of Diversity Programming is actively engaged in several additional events and initiatives.

  • The Office of Diversity Programming and Student Senate are collaborating to sponsor a de-stressor event for JMC students from 5-7 p.m. on April 26 in Club Spartan and the JMC Library. Students will receive food, a care package and activities to de-stress. Please join us.
  • We will soon unveil a plaque recognizing JMC Student Senate Presidents. The plaque will be placed outside of the Student Senate Office.
  • This summer, we will hold our first Early Start bridge program to support first-generation and minoritized students who are entering MSU and James Madison. In addition to moving into dorms a week early, program participants will become acclimated to MSU and JMC through a series of academic and social activities and events.
  • We will soon complete the search for our first DEI Specialist, who will assist the College with recruitment, advising, and outreach efforts.

Finally, I must acknowledge the resiliency and adaptability of our JMC faculty, staff and students, who masterfully transitioned from remote to in-person learning in the midst of the brutal winter. Aside from academic responsibilities, the social and emotional stress of re-acclimating to a new environment was challenging; nevertheless, you persevered.

As you enter the final weeks of classes, please take the time to congratulate yourselves for successfully completing a challenging semester. I, along with the entire Office of Diversity Programming, look forward to continuing to work together with the goal of advancing the College, and supporting your sense of purpose and belonging within JMC.  


Brian Johnson

Assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion