James Madison University

JMU Political Science


At JMU, 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.

Although often viewed as synonymous with community engagement, civic engagement is characterized by an ethic of citizenship and public responsibility. Few Americans better exemplify these traits than our university’s namesake, James Madison, who devoted his life to promoting the concept of liberty buttressed by the twin necessities of active political participation and rigorous, substantial education. In a period in which many Americans have lost confidence in our political institutions and find “politics” to be too controversial, partisan or divisive, embodying this Madisonian commitment seems a more pressing charge than ever before.

The Engagement Advisory Group is a key coordinating team for engagement at JMU. The leader for civic engagement on the group is Dr. Abraham (Abe) Goldberg, Executive Director of the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement and Associate Professor of Political Science.


Source: Wikipedia

James Madison University (also known as JMU, Madison, or James Madison) is a public research university in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Founded in 1908 as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg, the institution was renamed Madison College in 1938 in honor of President James Madison and then James Madison University in 1977.[5] The university is situated in the Shenandoah Valley, just west of Massanutten Mountain.



Website, Twitter, Facebook

Student Programs

Source: Civic Engagement webpage

Below are a few examples of student civic engagement at JMU:

  • Dukes Vote is a student-led initiative, supported and facilitated by the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement at JMU. Dukes Vote works in partnership with academic and student affairs, and with community partners, to enhance JMU’s mission of civic engagement among students by providing opportunities and programming to build capacity, knowledge, skills and values that prepare students for an active and informed role in democracy.
  • In Fall 2018, Dukes Vote sponsored and facilitated the Civic10dencies series of workshops with the goal of building civic and democratic capacity, knowledge, skills, values and dispositions.
  • Various departments and groups at JMU developed and sponsor the “Democracy in Peril?” series which focuses on the state of democracy both in the US and abroad. It provides a forum for presentations and open discussions about current politics.
  • D.E.E.P. (Diversity Education Empowerment Program) Impact is designed to influence meaningful change throughout the JMU campus community through the development of programs and services that heighten awareness, increase knowledge and celebrate the value of diversity in all forms. D.E.E.P Impact also focuses on promoting inclusion, advocacy and respect in order to equip students with the cultural capacity to change and shape the world. D.E.E.P Impact is sponsored by the Center for Multicultural Student Services (CMSS).
  • Madison Vision Series is a lecture series honoring James Madison’s conviction that cultivating an informed and educated citizenry is essential to the health of our republican democracy. The series brings scholars, thinkers and leaders of all kinds to campus for lively explorations of issues facing our society.
  • The Student Government Association (SGA) of James Madison University is an organization dedicated to collaborating with all members of its community to advocate for student opinion, while fostering a proactive, inclusive environment. Follow JMU SGA on Twitter for updates.


Undergraduate Internship Program

Source: Webpage

Inquiries concerning the department’s undergraduate internships for political science, international affairs, and public policy & administration students (POSC 493, PPA 494, POSC 495, & PPA 496) should be directed to Dr. Rob Alexander, the Undergraduate Internship Coordinator, at alexanrw@jmu.eduYou are on the main webpage for the JMU Department of Political Science’s undergraduate internship program, so please consult these online resources and then contact Dr. Alexander if you have further questions.

Beyond those 4 undergraduate academic internships, you might be interested in other academic internships offered by other programs in housed in our department:

Graduate Internship Program

Questions regarding the department’s graduate internship programs should be communicated to the director of the graduate program of interest:

Academic Programs

Source: Civic Engagement webpage

Below are a few examples of civic engagement programs at JMU:

  • The Health Policy Collaborative (HPC) is a partnership between faculty from multiple disciplines. Faculty from the School of Nursing, in collaboration with the Department of Health Sciences, Social Work, Communication Sciences & Disorders, and the College of Business, has developed the HPC to be a conduit for educating students, faculty and the community about health policy. The HPC will act as an infrastructure for research for practical policy solutions and provide a platform for students to engage in health policy both inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Gen Ed Cluster Four: The American Experience and The Global Experience require students to think critically about their own society and its relationship to the larger global community.  These courses develop responsible and enlightened global citizenship by examining a wide variety of the processes that shape the human experience.
  • The Gandhi Center for Global Nonviolence is a nonviolence-oriented organization classified under the Justice Studies Department at JMU. Embodying the highest values of inquiry, learning and creativity, the Gandhi Center functions as a global hub to advance the understanding of, appreciation for and practice of nonviolence. The Center features a library and reading room for individual research, collaborative endeavors both internal and external, and public participation in service both on and off campus. The Center seeks to pursue justice and service through nonviolent means and ends.

Political Science Department

Source: Website

Engaged in Public Service

We seek to enhance the quality of public policy and civic life at home and abroad by teaching students, conducting research, and collaborating with people inside and outside of the JMU community. Over the breadth of this website, you will see information about ongoing academic programs, career development programming, annual events, & short-term/one-shot events.  You will also see a community of faculty, staff, students, & alumni who are dedicated to JMU’s emphasis on engaged learning, civic engagement, & community engagement.

For guidance in choosing a major in Political Science (POSC), in Public Policy & Administration (PPA), or in International Affairs (INTA), click on the For Prospective Majors link on the Undergraduate

Research Centers & Initiatives

Center for Civic Engagement

Source: Webpage

Our mission is to educate and inspire people to address public issues and cultivate a just and inclusive democracy.

As a nonpartisan entity, JMU Civic emphasizes the acquisition of knowledge to make one a more informed participant in our democracy, skills to make one a more effective participant, and values that embrace pluralism, open-mindedness, empathy, respect, diversity and inclusion.

What JMU Civic Does:

  • We build year-round voter education and engagement initiatives with students, faculty and staff.
  • We integrate civic learning opportunities in courses and academic programs with faculty and departments across campus.
  • We provide resources for students to learn about and discuss public issues in an academic environment, and to develop and implement plans for informed participation in civic life.
  • We collaborate with JMU’s Center for Assessment & Research Students to assess campus-wide civic learning
  • We work alongside community, state and national partners on civic learning initiatives and events.


OnAir membership is required.  The lead Moderator for the discussions is Scott Joy.
We encourage civil, honest, and safe discourse.  See Terms of Service for curation guidelines.

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