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Thursday, July 18, 2013

"JMU Institutional Enabeling" White Paper July 2013

JMU Institutional Enabling is a "White Paper" on the role that JUM's policies, procedures and practices are enabling of continued binge drinking and maintaining the JMU Negative Alcohol Culture.  It provides a summary of data that JMU has collected from 2008 to 2012 that demonstrates a pattern of ineffective action by JMU based on JMU's administrative policies, procedures and practices.  It introduces the concept of "Institutional Enabling" and demonstrates how JMU through both its actions and inactions contributes to the problem. To read the White Paper go to:

Thursday, July 4, 2013

JMU averages 17% higher binge drinking than national average 2008 to 2011

JMU uses two survey instruments to assess drinking behavior of JMU students. The two instruments are:

1.  The Core Alcohol and Drug Survey
The Core Alcohol and Drug Survey was developed to measure alcohol and other drug usage, attitudes, and perceptions among college students at two and four-year institutions. Development of this survey was funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The survey includes several types of items about drugs and alcohol. One type deals with the students' attitudes, perceptions, and opinions about alcohol and other drugs, and the other deals with the students' own use and consequences of use. There are also several items on students' demographic and background characteristics as well as perception of campus climate issues and policy.

2.  American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA-II)
The ACHA-National College Health Assessment (NCHA) is a nationally recognized research survey that can assist you in collecting precise data about your students’ health habits, behaviors, and perceptions. With the NCHA, you can determine the most significant health priorities and trends of your student body. More than 825,000 students at 550+ colleges and universities across the country have already taken the survey. The NCHA has been used by two-year and four-year public and private institutions from varied geographical regions, Carnegie Foundation Classifications, and campus settings.  National media, government policymakers, and prominent public health and higher education organizations have repeatedly cited NCHA data in articles, proposals, and presentations. What started as a pilot program in 1998 has now grown into an established and well-regarded tool that presents a rich picture of college student health.
            JMU decided to discontinue the Core survey after the 2010 administration and now uses only the ACHA-NCHA II survey.  In the table below are data that deal with binge drinking from the 2008-2011 survey administrations.

CORE defined the term binge drinking as having five or more drinks in a row in one sitting.  Part of how the CORE survey developed the definition of 4-5 drinks is that it is the amount of alcohol that must be consumed for an average male to meet the legal definition of intoxicated and would result in Driving Under the Influence charge.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Where Did I get My Information?

One of the comments asks where I got my information for an item on my blog. Most of my information I got directly from JMU. I would read one document that referred to another and I would email JMU and under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act ask for a copy of the publicly available document. JMU has been good about providing the information, sometimes a bit delayed but always providing the data.
  That is one of the things that troubles me. JMU has all of the information.  They collect lots of data, hire consultants and have access to the same literature that I researched.  It surprises me that when JMU reads their own data that they fail to take meaningful corrective action.
    I hold out hope that the new President of JMU, Mr. Jonathan R. Alger, (who comes to James Madison University by way of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, where he currently serves as the Senior Vice President and General Counsel), will bring with him a new vision that includes a different approach to dealing with the JMU Negative Alcohol Culture.

Friday, March 16, 2012

JMU offers for you to become a "Certifed Specialist in Wine"

I have been otherwise involved for a while and had not made a post to my blog for a long time. But I saw the below item recently and at first I thought it was a joke. Surely JMU with a history of two alcohol fueled riots and above average binge drinking statistics would not decide that now is the time to join forces with the Society of Wine Educators and offer students the opportunity to become a "Certified Wine Specialist CSW."  But it is not a joke.
  I am also surprised that the e-mail notice comes from the Office of the Provost.  That lends official JMU sanction and legitimacy to this effort.  I also saw the quote at the end of the e-mail as interesting given the topic and history.  I don't see the CSW idea as a bad idea, just a bad idea for JMU to be involved with given JMU's problems with a negative alcohol culture.

Become a
Certified Specialist in Wine (CSW)
From the
Society of Wine Educators 
The Society of Wine Educators is one of the largest and well-known wine professional organizations in the world.  Among their certifications, the Certified Specialist in Wine (CSW) is their first level of professional certification in wine.   The exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions with a one-hour time period.  The exam registration fee also includes the examination study guide. 
You get two huge benefits through passing the examination.  You learn so much about wine in preparing for the examination.  And, you become a certified expert in the wine field.   
JMU has been chartered as an official test site by the Society and accordingly enrolled JMU students and employees may take the examination at a reduced rate.  The regular examination rate is $485.  But as a designated test site, the fee for JMU students and employees will be $215.  There are no requirements for joining the Society before, or after, the examination completion and there are no continuing professional education requirements for this certification.  
All JMU students and employees must register through the exam’s JMU coordinator to receive the reduced rate.  Contact Brad Roof at roofbm@jmu.edu or 568-3087.  Brad has a copy of the study guide for your inspection, and can answer your questions about the exam. 
The Society of Wine Educators web pages that you may enjoy seeing in order to learn more about the Society and the CSW examination are: 
The Society’s home page - http://www.societyofwineeducators.org/
The Society’s certification FAQ’s - http://www.societyofwineeducators.org/csw.php

           The examination will be on Wednesday, May 2nd from 7:00 – 8:00 pm on the JMU campus.

Contact Brad Roof to register or for more information.  roofbm@jmu.edu …. 568-3087.

Sheila A. Hopkins
Executive Assistant to the Provost
James Madison University
Office of the Provost, and
Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs
91 Alumnae Drive
Alumnae Hall, Room 101
MSC 7607
Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807

We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds

"In many ways the spotlight is always on all of us as far as our morals, ethics, and responsibilities are concerned. By conducting our lives as if the camera is on, we will be living with integrity, which means we won't have to apologize for, or explain tomorrow, what we did today." Zig Ziglar

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Springfest 2011 at JMU ?

March 29, 2011

The Daily News Record reports today that:

    "A block party planned for this weekend has all the earmarks of last year's Springfest.....As of      Monday night, nearly 2,400 people had indicated on Facebook that they plan to attend the event.." http://www.dnronline.com/

  Springfest 2011 would be due to JMU's lack of taking effective action to deal with the Negative Alcohol Culture at JMU since the 2010 Springfest riots.  JMU has the power to suspend students for alcohol related violations and uses this consequence very infrequently.  JMU students have told JUM through direct surveys that the most effective mechanism to deter negative alcohol behavior is suspension (see previous post- "JMU has a "silver bullet" but does not use it. WHY?" 9/30/10).  In my last post  JMU documents that educational efforts have been mostly ineffective in causing behavioral change, yet JMU's plan is to do more of the same (also see post- "Educational efforts alone prove ineffective" 11/9/10)
  It is time for a change. President Rose is on his way out of JMU. He could use his remaining time at JMU to implement policies of suspension for student alcohol misconduct. This would make much more of an impact then sending a letter to the students parents when the student is about to turn 21.  I issue a challenge to President Rose and the JMU Board of Visitors to step up to the plate and take bold action to change the Negative Alcohol Culture at JMU-suspend students.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

JMU's Spring 2011 Biennial Report-Not a pretty picture!

What is EDGAR and DFSCA?
Part 86, the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Regulations (DFSCA), (Education Department General Administrative Regulations [EDGAR]), requires that, as a condition of receiving funds or any other form of financial assistance under any federal program, an institution of higher education (IHE) (1) must certify that it has adopted and implemented a program to prevent the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees. If audited, failure to comply with the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Regulations may cause an institution to forfeit eligibility for federal funding.(2)  See link:  http://www.higheredcenter.org/mandates/dfsca
In compliance with these regulations JMU just published their Biennial Report Spring 2011 (see full report at ) http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=71997619 

First let me say that this report is very well organized and is the best compilation in one document of all of the efforts that JMU is engaged in to deal with the alcohol issue at JMU.  Much of the data in the Appendixes of the report have appeared in previous post on this blog. Of concern to me is that a careful reading of the report shows that the efforts that JMU has made are not effective.  Of greater concern is that JMU is aware from the data that the efforts are not effective and the JMU plan is to do more of what has been demonstrated to be not effective.  Even when examining a program like BASICS, which has good effectiveness demonstrated in the literature, JMU failed to follow through and collect the data to show if JMU's implementation of BASICS had a positive outcome. Below are some highlights.

The DFSCA regulations have several minimum requirements, some of them are:

The law further requires an institution of higher education to conduct a biennial review of its program:

  • To determine its effectiveness and implement changes if they are needed
  • To ensure that the sanctions developed are enforced consistently
 On page 15 of JMU's report it states:

Effecting positive behavior change among college students regarding alcohol use and abuse is challenging. Over the years, colleges and universities including JMU have spent significant financial resources and appropriated many hours of staff time addressing this issue. Despite concentrated and continuous efforts to educate students regarding the potential negative consequences of irresponsible use of alcohol, change in behavior has been slow and traditional educational strategies have often proven to be ineffective. There are no simple answers to this complex issue. Educating college students about responsible alcohol use is challenging in general and it is further complicated by the fact that most of our students are underage. Additionally, having awareness and knowledge about a subject does not automatically lead to behavior change; this generation of college students has had extensive exposure to educational campaigns regarding alcohol and drug abuse long before arriving on campus. Even though the task of educating students about making responsible choices about alcohol use is daunting, it is critical that we continue to seek out and implement new programs and approaches that have been proven to be effective. To this end, we propose the following actions:
• SAUP will increase the visibility of and support for the office of Substance Abuse Prevention’s comprehensive work in addressing the problem by continuing and expanding the universal, targeted and indicated approaches to educating students about decisions regarding alcohol use. Routine and ongoing evaluation and assessment will be conducted to ensure the implementation of the most effective strategies.
• SAUP will increase the visibility of and support for referral programs utilized for students who have received alcohol sanctions or who self-refer. The BASICS (Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students) program, which has been shown to produce significant positive behavior change, will be expanded to meet the needs of students identified as having problems with alcohol use. Also, the educational component for judicial sanctions involving alcohol will be maintained.

  • The data in the literature shows that the educational programs approach is not effective in creating behavior change. The JMU CORE data (see earlier post and Appendix B of the report) actually shows that alcohol behavior at JMU is consistently getting worse from year to year. Yet JMU's plan is to continue and expand educational programs that they know don't work to change behavior.
    APPENDIX A: SAUP Vision and Strategic Plan 2014, Goal 1: Performance Indicator 1.3 has one of the few measurable criteria for evaluation of JUM's efforts to deal with the alcohol issue. It says:

      "Students will report a decrease in negative behaviors associated with alcohol use as report by the Core Alcohol & Other Drug Survey, the ACHA survey and other campus reports."
  • The CORE data to date show an increase in negative behaviors associated with alcohol use

  • The literature shows the BASICS program to be effective. However the JMU data shows that JMU did a very poor job of data collection and therefore can say very little about the effectiveness of the BASICS program as implemented by JMU. For example in Appendix C
  1. Of the 65 students in the sample only 19 completed all of the post test.
  2. However, the difference in participant mean peak BAC from post-test 1 to post-test 2 was not significant, t(18) = .43, p = .67.
  3. However, differences in participant mean total AUDIT score were not significant from pre- to post-test 1, t(18) = 1.74, p = .10, and post-test 1 to post-test 2, t(18) = 1.62, p = .12.
  4. However, these differences are only statistically significant for participant self-reported drink quantity and peak BAC from pre- to post-test 1 andpre- to post-test 2. Differences in participant mean total AUDIT and RAPI scores are only significant from pre- to post-test 2.
  5. As noted previously, the analyses are exploratory in nature and the results should be interpreted with caution.
    JMU presents some very detailed information on it's statistical analysis. I am not an expert in statistics. But the failure to collect post test data on 2/3 of your sample and the results being "not significant" and the "results should be interpreted with caution" all sound to me like a poorly conducted study of the effectiveness of the BASICS program as implemented by JMU.

 The Dept of Education Higher Education Center,  post A Guide for University and College Administrators for complying with the requirements of the EDGAR report. (see link http://www.higheredcenter.org/files/product/dfscr.pdf )
Part of the guidelines state:
Measuring Policy and Program Effectiveness
To strengthen the quality of prevention programs implemented with funds from the Office of Safe and
Drug-Free Schools, the Department established a set of principles of effectiveness in 1998, since incorporated into the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Title IV—Section 4115). A subset of the principles of effectiveness that are most applicable to IHEs can be summed up as follows:
  • Design programs based on a thorough needs assessment of objective data.
  • Establish a set of measurable goals and objectives linked to identified needs.
  •  Implement prevention activities that research or evaluation have shown to be effective in preventing high-risk drinking or violent behavior.
  •  Use evaluation results to refine, improve, and strengthen the program and refine goals and objectives as appropriate.
Basic to the success of any prevention program is the need to ensure the widespread involvement of key
stakeholders, including students, faculty members, alumni, and community members, in the program’s
design and implementation. Leadership from college and university presidents and other senior administrators
is key to institutionalizing prevention as a priority on

    In summary, I see JMU as having demonstrated the ineffectiveness of it's efforts and as not implementing the changes that are needed and therefore failing to meet the requirements of the law  "to determine its effectiveness and implement changes if they are needed"  one of the minimum requirements noted above.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011

    Governor McDonnell responds to letter

    I was glad to receive a response from Governor McDonnell to my letters. I appreciated Mr. Robinson's discussion on the limits and structure of authority of JMU and the Governor.  The JMU Board of Visitors is appointed by the Governor and that is one of the more direct ways for the Governor to intercede in decisions about the governance system at JMU.  Mr. Robinson suggest that the safety risk of a negative alcohol culture could be a topic for the agenda of the 2011 Governor's Campus Preparedness Conference.  I will send a follow up letter to encourage this as an agenda item.