REAL PROBLEMS | REAL SKILLS | REAL IMPACT
At a time when higher education is trying to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs in industry, it is increasingly important to provide students with skills that go beyond traditional expectations. With its multidisciplinary courses, JMU X-Labs (jmuxlabs.org) challenges students to investigate all aspects of a problem, collaborate with industry professionals and peers from different majors, iterate ideas and welcome meaningful failure to solve real problems.
JMU X-Labs 2018-2019 Classes
- Augmented/Virtual Reality
- Autonomous Vehicles
- Community Innovations
- Creativity and Innovation
- Fueled food truck (business and sustainability)
- Hacking for Defense™
- Hacking for Diplomacy
- Internet of Things
- Medical Innovations
- Robotic Process Automation
- Students acquire hands-on experience, collaborating and applying their skills and knowledge in new and relevant fields.
- Faculty design courses and curriculum that push education innovation into the future.
- Partnering organizations “field test” distinct challenges in a risk-free environment, with the added benefit of access to potential future employees with experience in tackling those issues.
JMU X-Labs represents one of the many ways JMU is “Being the Change” and positively disrupting the student-faculty experience on campus while engaging outside organizations and corporations with creative and collaborative applications. Visit www.jmuxlabs.org to learn more about this unique initiative and get a glimpse of their exciting work.
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“[I saw them] rapidly becoming professionals. From our first interview you could tell they were uncomfortable and struggling a little bit to learn about the problem. By the end it was as if they were junior executives presenting an actual product that could actually be used in a real life application.” – Industry partner from United States Special Operations Command
“The project introduced the problem of widespread financial insecurity to a new generation of problem-solvers, which I think will pay dividends for years to come. Our field desperately needs new, outside-the-box ideas for solving the many financial problems ailing Americans—like income volatility, consumer debt, and lack of retirement savings. The smarter, younger people we have thinking about these wicked problems, the better.” – David Mitchell, Senior Program Manager, Aspen Institute Financial Security Program
“Without the Hacking for Defense class, I wouldn’t have had half the opportunities that I do. Companies (IBM, Accenture, Deloitte, Booz Allen Hamilton) are amazed when I tell them I’ve done iterative/scrum-type work for a government client already.”– Cassandra Hagstoz (‘18), Computer Information Systems
“Not only are they developing a solution, they’re also talking to all sorts of people in one area, building a network of professors and business experts, which opens doors for them and their clients that they didn’t even know existed. And by looking at these virtually unresolvable problems with fresh eyes, at the very least they’re going to provide a paradigm shift of how these companies are looking at a problem.” – Seán McCarthy, Associate Professor of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication
This content was developed in collaboration with the JMU Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR). CFR seeks to maximize contributions and other support to James Madison University from corporations and foundations by creating, maintaining and enhancing mutually beneficial relationships between the two. Relating to and collaborating with business, industry and private foundations is essential to fostering a culture that unites philanthropic desires with university priorities.
Written by Christopher Pence, Development Assistant, Corporate and Foundation Relations at JMU.