Growth of Academic Program
Dr. Carrier recognized that, in order for Madison to evolve into a regional institution, the academic curriculum needed to be expanded and changed. The curriculum needed to be well-rounded and offer diverse programs in order to attract diverse students. In 1970, the majority of students were involved in the teacher education program and Dr. Carrier estimated that about 15% of the students at Madison were not a part of the program. The college also still retained its image as a teachers school for women and in order to change this image, Madison had to offer more programs that would appeal to more male students while maintaining the high academic standards of the college. However, this change was more gradual than other changes to the Madison College campus, such as the establishment of the football program, and relied on the changes brought about by these previous changes, such as increased enrollment and a change in the psychology of the campus. Many of the changes to the academic program had to wait until the late 1970’s and early 1980’s after Madison College had changed to James Madison University, but there were some significant changes prior to the name change.
While there were significant changes to the administration (for more information, see Faculty and Staff), there were major expansions and changes to the academic program took place as well. There was a new emphasis to business administration, which was expected to attract more male students. More emphasis was also placed in the communication area, which was expected to attract more male students as well. These new areas in academics, however, also greatly benefited the women who started enrolling in these new areas. While the teacher education program was still important, the percentage of undergraduate students enrolled in this program rapidly decreased. By the end of the 1970’s, three new programs; accounting, communication arts, and management were the three top programs students were enrolled in (Hilton, 55).
In addition to these new course offerings, the different academic programs were altered, expanded, and some were even created. In the 1970-1971, there were 5 different departments: the School of Education, the School of Humanities, the School of Natural Sciences, the School of Social Sciences, and Graduate Studies. These departments coincided with the teacher education focus of the school before the arrival of Dr. Carrier. In 1972, four new departments were created to reorganize these departments to match those of other regional institutions: the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the School of Education, and Continuing Studies. A Summer School with its own dean was also created in 1974. (“Academics Through the Years”)
Students were also being offered new pre-professional programs that would help prepare them for future careers as well as Continuing Studies which provided each student with a broad liberal arts education. Supplementary programs were also created to enhance the academic experience of students. Career services were provided to students through the Student Success Program and new job opportunities were sought out by its counselors. The first study abroad program began in London in 1978. (“Academics Through the Years”)
These new academic departments and course offerings helped increase the academic standing of Madison College and helped satisfy the criteria for the college to be considered as having achieved university status.
Carrier, Ronald E. Interview by Amanda Castellano. Personal interview. Harrisonburg, VA, April 2nd 2013.
Hilton, Fred. “Changing from a College to a University: Madison College to James Madison University, 1971-1977.” Master’s thesis, James Madison University, 1996.
“Academics Through the Years: The Carrier Years, 1971-1998.” Provided by Dr. Ronald E. Carrier. No known author.