• http://sites.jmu.edu/jmuresearch/files/2014/09/Slider-1.png
  • http://sites.jmu.edu/jmuresearch/files/2014/09/pic-2-complete.png
  • http://sites.jmu.edu/jmuresearch/files/2014/09/pic-1-complete.png
  • http://sites.jmu.edu/jmuresearch/files/2014/09/Slider-4.png

Teaching Where it Matters Most: A School for Defectors From North Korea

Shin Ji Kang

Shin Ji Kang, Assistant Professor of Education, James Madison University

Shin Ji Kang is an assistant professor in the department of Early, Elementary, and Reading Education. Her scholarly interest involves refugee education and teacher development.

My ethnic and cultural ties to Korea have often brought my personal, spiritual, and scholarly attention toward reunification of North and South Koreas. I was raised and taught in South Korea to hate communists without really learning what communism is, how it operates the society, why North and South Koreas had chosen different ideologies, etc. Images of North Korean people captive in my mind were unhuman communists armed with guns and bombs.

Support from the College of Education,Dept. of Early Elementary, and Reading Education, and JMU Research and Scholarship Office made it possible to reconstruct my understandings of North Korean people and to pursue scholarly endeavor in 2013 and again in 2014. Two JMU students–Sa Ra Kim and Ji Won Kim– and I spent 6 weeks at an alternative school serving North Korean refugee youths, Yeomyung School, by teaching, researching, and service during the first visit. In the following year, I came back to Yeomyung with Dr. Hyung Sook Yeom, professor of the department of social work at JMU.


Filming of the Photo-Voice project in the South Korean mountains.

For all of us from JMU, it was actually the first time to meet and interact with young people defecting from North Korea. The first hand interactions with North Korean refugee students and their South Korean teachers enabled me to launch new refugee education projects or be involved in the existing ones. Photo-voice project,critical media literacy afterschool program, North Korean refugee students’ lived stories in visual art, media education camp, teacher professional development workshops, and global understanding through interdisciplinary education project(GUIDE: Co-learning through coffee) are examples that are multifaceted or multidisciplinary in nature.

Participation to the Media Education Camp: I Can Do It! allowed special opportunities during my second visit. This three day long camp over the weekend at a beautiful vacation home was developed and to offer workshops on film making techniques, interview skills, and film editing. Every participant including Yeomyung students, non-Yeomyung youths interested in filming, and staff members took part in certain roles as film directors, cameramen, actors/actress, editors, or monitors. Leaving a crowded city and busy class schedule behind, participants were soaked in a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere over that weekend while hiking, cooking, playing team building games between workshops. These three days made all of us bonded tightly while making Yeomyung students’ stories as documentary that are full of tears and laughter. I felt that the processes of planning, telling, filming, and editing stories together really deconstructed prejudice, cultivated community spirit, and brought healings to the wounded hearts. Yeomyung students shared they became more confident in who they are when telling their stories to others and reflect upon themselves in a creative way. Participant feedback still lingers in my mind and makes me dreaming of a learning community just like this that brings joy, healing, and meaning to everybody:

“At school, teachers did everything for us. Through the media camp, I learned that I can do it by myself!”


Young North Korean defectors participating at the Yeomyung School. Faces have been obfuscated to protect the safety of family members who remained in North Korea.

“Because we were expected to make our own film, I had to do it and I could do it really hard with great sense of responsibility.”

“For this time, I was the main character of my study. I liked learning by doing, not by sitting still.”

“I felt no competition. I enjoyed expressing myself while learning.”

Dr. Tim Walton, Voices of Scholarship

Professor Tim Walton is the son of U.S. Navy aviator and was born in the naval hospital at Pearl Harbor. He did his undergraduate work at the College of William and Mary.  After graduating, he went into the Navy and served at bases and on ships in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, visiting more than fifteen countries. He was on the Sixth Fleet flagship in the Mediterranean as a witness to the Yom Kippur War in 1973, one of the most famous intelligence failures in history.

He did his graduate work at the University of Virginia, earning a Ph.D. in modern European history, with a specialty in diplomatic history. While working on his dissertation, he received a Fulbright Grant to study in Paris, where he did research in the archives of the French Foreign Ministry.

Dr. Walton spent 24 years as an analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency. His assignments included being posted to the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon as an intelligence advisor to the Secretary of Defense during the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords in the Balkans.

He has taught classes for Johns Hopkins University, Mercyhurst University, and the Sherman Kent School for Intelligence Analysis, the CIA’s analytic training academy. Since August 2011 he has been on the faculty of the Intelligence Analysis Program at James Madison University.

He is the author of The Role of Intelligence in Ending the War in Bosnia in 1995 (2014), and Challenges in Intelligence Analysis: Lesson from 1300 BCE to the Present (2010), a collection of case studies for use in courses on analysis. One of Professor Walton’s hobbies is coin collecting, and he is also the author of The Spanish Treasure Fleets (1994), which is a history of the legendary pieces of eight, the first global currency.

After 24 years as an analyst in the CIA, Dr. Walton fills us in on his compelling research on how to improve intelligence gathering and what being a mentor to students means to him.

Why Does Dr. Margaret Sloan Research?

Dr. Margaret Sloan, of the School of Strategic Leadership Studies, discusses what drives her her research, and what makes JMU a special place for collaboration in the newest installment of the Voices of Scholarship series.  Dr. Sloan currently teaches courses in the nonprofit concentration, including Philanthropy and Resource Development, Proseminar in Nonprofit Organizations, and Nonprofit Leadership and Accountability

Her research has been presented at numerous academic conferences, and she has served as a reviewer for academic publications including Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly and Nonprofit Management and Leadership. Her research has appeared in Nonprofit Policy Forum, Public Administration Quarterly, Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting, & Financial Management, Journal of Nonprofit Education & Leadership, Public Budgeting & Finance, American Review of Public Administration ,and Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, and she was selected as a 2009 Emerging Scholar from the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Associations (ARNOVA).

Dr. Sloan has previously been affiliated with Morehead State University and the University of Kentucky. She received her bachelor’s degree from Alice Lloyd College and master’s degrees and doctorate in public policy and administration from the University of Kentucky.

Dr. Sloan is a member of the ARNOVA, the International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR), the International Leadership Academy (ILA), the Association for Public Budgeting and Finance (ABFM), and Academy of Management (Public and Nonprofit Division).


When will I use this in the real world? Today, I will use it today.

NNheadshot - 2014

Nicole Neitzey, Program Manager/Grants Officer for the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery at JMU and a current MPA student.

     Nicole Neitzey is the Program Manager/Grants Officer for the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery at James Madison University, where she has been working since 2001. She graduated from James Madison University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts in Technical and Scientific Communication and an Online Publications Specialization.  Nicole is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration at JMU (expected completion, May 2015).

The Philanthropy and Volunteerism class for Spring 2014 culminated in a series of group projects. Our group put together a report for the client, Harrisonburg Community Health Center (HCHC). We were asked to research promising practices in the areas of governance, contributed revenue, and strategic messaging in order to provide recommendations to HCHC to improve their operations going forward.

Bioethics: A Journey Toward an Applied Understanding

John Gardner Yale1

John Gardner, JMU double major and bioethicist.

      John Gardner is Philosophy and Religion double-major at JMU. He will graduate spring of 2015 and is currently applying to graduate schools to pursue a career in Bioethics.

In the summer of 2014 I had the wonderful opportunity to attend Yale’s Sherwin B. Nuland Summer Institute for Bioethics. Bioethics, loosely defined, is the field of applied philosophy that includes medical and environmental ethics. My studies focus on issues surrounding autonomy within medical ethics, and more specifically, the ethics of placebo use in clinical practice.

I spent eight weeks at Yale enrolled in seminars, attending daily lectures, and going on various trips to supplement what I was learning in the classroom. Some of the topics covered include: genetic screening, abortion, stem cell research, and international organ trafficking.