Attendance Apps—Useful Innovation or Orwellian Tool?

College athletics have come under intense scrutiny in recent years due to sexual assault scandals, accusations of cheating, debates about whether or not the athletes should be paid, and more. These contentious issues receive just as much attention, whether it be from the average fan or the media, as the sports do themselves. For the athletes playing these sports, being affected in some way by these debates and problems has become the norm, a price to be paid for competing at the college level. That price is about to made far more complicated by the introduction of electronic attendance monitoring, an advancement that could bring about major change in college sports, higher education in general, and the public perception of how colleges and universities educate young people. Continue reading

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Guest Post: Should Some Animals Have Some Rights Under the Law?: Using the 8 Key Questions to Decide

This guest post was written by Dr. Jennifer Byrne, associate professor at James Madison University.

The issue of granting animals rights under the law has been particularly salient world-wide in the past few years. For example, Spain has granted personhood rights to apes, meaning that they cannot be used in entertainment or confined to captivity beyond those that already have homes in zoos. India has granted similar personhood rights to dolphins. Now, the United States is in the spotlight of this debate. Steven Wise, scholar of animal rights at Harvard Law School, contends that some animals, especially primates, meet the criteria for legal personhood. Continue reading

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Honoring Our Fellow Dukes

Death is always a difficult subject to adequately address in writing. There are countless ways to think about it—as just another step in the journey of life, as an opportunity to reflect, as a chance to celebrate the life of a loved one. What makes this difficult is there no way to fully address death and its repercussions on those left behind without leaving something out. Grief is constantly evolving, ever shifting; an individual’s experience with loss is always changing, and everyone goes through it in radically different ways. If you amplify that at an institutional level, adequate engagement could very well be impossible.

The James Madison University community has been undergoing a bereavement process of its own in the past month, struggling to find that adequate level of engagement. Continue reading

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All’s Fair in Higher Education and Textbook Royalties?

Recently featured in an article by Francisco Almenara-Dumur in The Breeze, a student poll was conducted about whether professors textbooks they’ve written. The question in focus is fairness, which also happens to be one of the Eight Key Questions. Professors get a portion of the profit when the textbooks they’ve authored are sold. Is it fair to require their students to buy the book and then make money from it? Continue reading

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It’s Complicated Facilitation

The Atlantic hurricane season typically starts in June and runs until November, but the Madison Collaborative already has hurricanes on the brain. Specifically, we’re thinking about Hurricane Sharon, the fictional storm that serves as the catalyst for the story in It’s Complicated, the 75-minute long workshop that introduces first year and transfer students to the Eight Key Questions, James Madison University’s framework for teaching ethical reasoning skills. This program takes place during Orientation week at locations all across campus with dozens of faculty and staff members facilitating the experience for JMU’s newest Dukes; in fact, these facilitators are the people who make the entire educational intervention possible. While the Madison Collaborative and Orientation teams organize the event, the volunteer facilitators are the ones who bring it to life. Continue reading

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