An End of an Era: After Sixteen Years, J.R. Jamison Bids Farewell to Indiana Campus Compact

When J.R. Jamison came to Indiana Campus Compact in July 2005, he was twenty-six years old and only two years out of his graduate program. Over the next nine years, he moved up the ranks from Program Director to the Associate Director to the Executive Director, the latter a position he has held for seven years. J.R.’s last day with Indiana Campus Compact will be September 30, 2021, after which he will focus his efforts on growing The Facing Project, a national organization he co-founded nine years ago that creates a more understanding and empathetic world through stories that inspire action.

“This was a deeply personal decision,” Jamison said. “I spent well over two months contemplating it with my family and closest confidants, and all signs pointed to now being the right time to make this move.”

The Facing Project uses writing, theatre, and conversation circles to connect people across differences. It has operated in eighteen states and over one-hundred communities with a spin-off radio program that is produced by Indiana Public Radio and broadcast on select NPR affiliate stations with distribution as a podcast on NPR One. This past spring, Jamison released his memoir that was met with praise for its deep look at nuance and connecting across political divides.

“We are living during a defining moment in our country’s history, and I had to ask myself if I was using my talents and calling one-hundred percent to its greatest good,” Jamison said. “At the end of the day, while I whole-heartedly believe in the mission of Indiana Campus Compact and the impact it makes across Indiana communities, it’s time for someone else to lead the organization into its next era—and I’ll be in the crowd cheering them on.”

During Jamison’s tenure at Indiana Campus Compact, he raised over $7 million to support the organization and its partner campuses; increased partnership by fifty percent; created longstanding programs including Pen to Paper, the Service-Learning Institute (now the Colloquium on High Impact Practices), The Summit, and Social Innovation Microlending; designed structures that have had deep impacts on Indiana higher education, such as the BSEI grant/initiative that resulted in the formation of Centers for Community Engagement on ten college/university campuses; co-authored the institutional self-assessment rubric that has been used by over forty institutions to do long-term planning for community-campus engagement; and led the organization through two strategic planning processes and breaking away from Indiana University to become its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit.