James Madison College strives for diverse faculty and students

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Students in James Madison College are disappointed with the representation numbers between white and minority students and faculty members, but James Madison’s Associate Dean Julia Grant believes the college has created an open environment for all students to feel represented.

According to James Madison senior Gerena Walker, studying social relations and policy, JMC is not doing its best when it comes to recruiting minority students.

Walker believes that James Madison is recruiting students too late into their high school career. She suggested that instead of looking for students in their senior year of high school, recruiters should visit schools during their freshman or junior year just before they begin to consider what college they want to to go and what they want to do.

“In my opinion, we don’t do a good enough job recruiting certain identities and we don’t we do it at a good enough rate,” Walker said. “We’re getting students when they are older and have already decided on where they want to go, and I feel like we need to do something to reach kids that are a bit younger and that vary with different identities whether it’s race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and religion and things of that nature.”

This pie chart shows the difference in the number of minority faculty to white faculty, and it is clear that James Madison College is a predominantly white college.

James Madison administrators say they have heard the concerns of students and have worked to fix the issue.

In response to students’ concerns with the lack of minority faculty members, according to James Madison’s Associate Dean Julia Grant, James Madison now has more diverse faculty members.

“We’ve gotten some good feedback with from the administration from the attempts we’ve made,” Grant said. “We’ve hired three African-American faculty within the last two years intentionally, so I think we’re making excellent progress with having a more diverse faculty.”

Amber Benton, James Madison director of diversity and student engagement, said that whether or not students feel represented in the classroom, her office is where they could come to discuss such issues.

“We try to highlight that we are all different and coming from all types of different races, gender identities, socio-economic status,” Benton said.

She added that James Madison not only tries to encourage students to focus on race, but also to think about how race intersects with gender identities. 

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