Dear VCU Faculty and Staff,

We write to share with you our progress in implementing VCU’s racial literacy requirement. You can read previous updates on the collaboration between faculty leaders and administrators to launch this requirement for fall 2024.

Here is the latest.

1. The University Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UUCC) recommended at its October 19 meeting that students should be able to complete the racial literacy requirement in their first two years. Although exceptions will exist, the norm should be the first two years. 

Using a model designed by VCU Institutional Research and Decision Support (IRDS), which included variables such as the five-year enrollment projections VCU reported to SCHEV, typical percentage of transfer students who must complete VCU general education requirements and an anticipated repeat rate, the following seat capacity will be needed.

  • AY 24-25 – Fall (1,322) / Spring (1,399) 
  • AY 25-26 – Fall (2,573) / Spring (2,556)
  • AY 26-27 – Fall (2,705) / Spring (2,519)
  • AY 27-28 – Fall (2,611) / Spring (2,421)
  • AY 28-29 – Fall (2,513) / Spring (2.328)

Before implementation can be approved, two criteria must be met for capacity. First, the minimum number of seats must be available for AY 2024-25. Second, the academic units must submit written plans for increasing the aggregate number of seats to the higher amount required beginning in AY 2025-26, and/or more course options could be identified for approval next year. 

2. As of today, 18 courses or course concepts have been submitted to for consideration.

Here are the titles of the courses or course concepts submitted to date:

  • Community-Based Action Research for Education Stakeholders
  • Disrupting Ageism: An Exploration of Diversity and Aging*
  • Diversity Issues in Counseling*
  • Educational Leadership and Civil Rights
  • History and Health Online Learning Modules
  • Human Dimensions of Leadership: Empathy, Trust, and Care…
  • Intergroup Dialogue
  • Justice and Equity in Visual Arts and Education
  • Leadership in the “New Demography”: Immigration Theory and Politics
  • Preparing Diverse Learners from Multicultural and Global Perspectives*
  • Racial Literacy with Analytics Focus
  • Representations of Race in Cinema
  • Student-Centered Policy and Collaboration
  • Writing about Race
  • The Culture of Complexion
  • The Psychology of Race and Racism
  • Untitled concept: Students watch select episodes of Star Trek, then meet in class as groups to discuss racial literacy concepts in light of each episode.
  • Untitled concept: Broad DEI course that mixes theory discussions presented by social scientists, and social justice and human impact issues discussed by humanists, and environmental impacts related to climate change discussed by scientists.

Please bear in mind that these are course concepts. They must now be vetted and reviewed. The proposals that meet the criteria will be approved and adopted as options for the Racial Literacy requirement. 

3. Initial vetting of the course concepts for adherence to the racial literacy criteria is being handled by the Racial Literacy Implementation Sub-Committee of the UUCC. 

This step is essential to ensure that courses meet current racial literacy criteria before advancing to the next step. All decisions and feedback on the course concepts will be made available to the VCU community. Mignonne C. Guy, Ph.D., and Amy Rector, Ph.D., co-chair the subcommittee.

4. Course concepts that receive approval from the sub-committee will proceed to the General Education Curriculum Committee (GECC). This step is essential to ensure that all racial literacy courses meet current ConnectEd criteria.

All decisions and feedback from the GECC will be made available to the university community.

5. Upon approval of the GECC, courses will then go to the full UUCC for final review and approval. The capacity plan described earlier in this message will need to accompany each course. The UUCC will ensure that the seat numbers of all approved courses will meet the overall capacity needed.

6. Time is of the essence as racial literacy cannot become a university requirement until the required projected capacity is met. 

Although academic affairs will allow new courses to be approved after the typical December deadline for the Bulletin, the implementation of racial literacy as a requirement will be determined only after capacity is assured. This policy is necessary to ensure that no student’s graduation will be delayed due to an inability to access the course. 

Best Regards,

Andrew T. Arroyo, Ed.D.
Interim senior vice provost for academic affairs          

Faye Oliff Prichard
Chair, UUCC
Director of Writing, Honors College

Categories Academic Affairs, Racial Literacy