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Pharmacy named No. 1 school at VCU for inclusion and engagement

Students in graduation regalia hold their right hands up.
Graduating students from the Pharm.D. Class of 2019 recite the Oath of a Pharmacist. (Danny Tiet photo)

Greg Weatherford
Director of Communications, VCU School of Pharmacy

The School of Pharmacy has been named the most inclusive academic department at VCU — a notable distinction at a university that has long cited inclusion as a main priority. 

The honor is the result of an exhaustive survey by VCU’s Division for Inclusive Excellence

The Office of Development and Alumni Relations was ranked No. 1 at VCU, with the School of Pharmacy placing second overall. 

Only three of the 10 top-ranked units for campus climate were academic units. School of Nursing and the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs were ranked 8th and 10th, respectively.

“Diversity and inclusion are central to our mission and to everything we do at Virginia Commonwealth University,” said Michael Rao, Ph.D., president of VCU and VCU Health. “Every member of our community benefits from working, living, learning, creating, discovering and healing in an environment where ideas are openly shared and all voices are heard.”

Faculty and staff reported highly inclusive and engaged environments where leadership was perceived as having integrity related to diversity issues. There were also strong feelings of motivation and competency among faculty and staff in the workplace. 

“We have initiated a different approach to faculty and staff relationships, breaking down some of the barriers in between,” said Joseph T. DiPiro, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “While we celebrate the recognition for ‘campus climate’ we will continue to seek new ways to assure that our school remains a great place to work.”

Major academic and administrative units are assessed every 18 months and are rated and ranked based on their performance on three indices: diversity index, inclusion index and engagement index. 

Models of Inclusive Excellence award winners will be recognized during the Presidential Awards for Community Multicultural Enrichment (PACME) ceremony held in spring 2020. Each administrative and academic unit will receive a plaque and $2,500 to support diversity and inclusion goals.