James Madison University

Mission & History


We are a community of researchers and practitioners dedicated to advancing the study and application of motivation theory.

We are guided by the following core objectives:

  • Providing training and research opportunities for JMU faculty and students, as well as with collaborators outside of JMU
  • Developing and evaluating assessment tools to measure motivation
  • Developing and evaluating interventions to improve motivation
  • Promoting statistical, measurement, and methodological rigor in motivation research
  • Studying motivation in a wide array of settings, including education, sport, work, and family life
  • Communicating findings to both the traditional academic community and the general public
  • Providing consultation/outreach services (e.g., working with JMU faculty and staff to assess student motivation and improve the motivational climate at JMU)
  • Sponsoring a website summarizing on-going activities, publications/presentations, and consultation/outreach services
  • Connecting motivation theory, research, and practice


In the spring of 2001, a small group of faculty and graduate students in the Assessment and Measurement PhD program started a weekly research group on student motivation. Over the years, our meetings have grown substantially in faculty and student involvement and have become a permanent fixture at the Center for Assessment and Research Studies. Any given semester, we will have a core group of faculty and students from the Assessment and Measurement PhD program, the Psychological Sciences Master’s program, and the Undergraduate Psychology program. Since 2008, we have engaged in outreach and public service activities to help practitioners apply motivation theories and principles to real-world contexts.