VCU office of the provost

Message from the Provost

In less than a month, VCU will host peer evaluators from SACSCOC who will review the efforts made on behalf of the university to earn its decennial reaccreditation. While the process began long before, it moved into high gear last April with the development of a Compliance Certification followed by a number of steps throughout the fall that included an off-site review, an advisory visit, and the submission of a focused report and the quality enhancement plan (QEP).

Every Ram’s a Researcher!

I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the creation and review of VCU’s QEP, including the town hall sessions held last semester, soliciting reactions and suggestions to the QEP. The plan’s formal title is Real-world Applications in Multidisciplinary and Project-based Studies, or RAMPS. Speaking colloquially, the plan is often referred to by its intention, which is “Every Ram’s a Researcher!”

Our inaugural QEP faculty directors, Sarah E. Golding, Ph.D., and Lacey E. Seaton, Ed.D., will be sharing much more information about the plan, how it works, who it involves, and when it begins. As our communication effort comes into focus please know that this plan is an important tool in our work to ensure that every student, regardless of major, benefits from the transformative learning opportunities that increasingly distinguish VCU’s uncommon education.

Every Ram’s a Researcher! signature feature will be a series of ConnectEd course sections focused on research supportive project-based learning taught by QEP Faculty Fellows. Students will be able to leverage these sections to explore an unknown problem that matters to them while learning and demonstrating the fundamental research skills of investigation, reflection, collaboration, and connection. At the end of the day, we aim to increase the number of students engaged in undergraduate research, inquiry and creative expression.

The SACSCOC evaluators will begin their visit on VCU’s Qatar campus February 22 and come to our Richmond-based campuses February 26-29. We will share further details with you as they are finalized.   

Celebrating VCU Faculty

Lana Sargent, Ph.D., interim associate dean for practice and community engagement at the School of Nursing, and Jane Chung, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Nursing’s Department of Family and Community Health Nursing, have been awarded a $3.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Their research seeks to identify the signs of cognitive decline in older adults through assessing if a person’s mobility as they age can help predict dementia later in life, and will also engage medically vulnerable and underserved communities historically left out of biomedical research.

Leadership Update

  • Brian P. Brown Ph.D., has been named as the interim dean for the VCU School of Business, effective January 22, 2024. Brown works in the Department of Marketing where he has taught since 2011. Prior to his teaching career, Brown spent more than 15 years working in marketing, management and consulting. Brown is active in the Richmond community. His board memberships include VCU’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Preservation Virginia, and VPM

Current Initiatives

  • The Provost’s listening session tour continues across VCU’s academic units in February, soliciting feedback on the recommendations of the One VCU Academic Repositioning Task Force. Please be sure to attend the session being hosted in your unit and use the task force website to share your thoughts on any or all of the 100 recommendations.
  • The Office of the Provost is sponsoring the 12th annual national conference of the Faculty Women of Color in the Academy (FWCA), and is covering the registration fee for a dozen VCU faculty members. Follow this link to learn more and register for the April 11-14 event in Arlington, VA.
  • In addition to the previous note regarding the QEP and the SACSCOC reaccreditation visit in late February, a group of inaugural faculty directors have been hired to work in collaboration with the senior vice provost for academic affairs to expand critical Transformative Learning initiatives. They include:
  • A new committee began work to improve how VCU assesses teaching effectiveness. This important subject touches everything from the success of the students we serve, to the promotion and tenure of our faculty, and the accreditation of our university. Please see the link above for further information, including the committee’s focus, charge, and membership. The committee will submit their final report by the end of April and will be shared with the Faculty Senate, and other shared governance partners, prior to implementing any of the group’s recommendations.
  • VCU has been named 2024 Most Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, and the ACPA-College Student Educators International. VCU is among 26 institutions across the country to earn that honor. With a focus on workplace diversity, staffing practices, and work environment, the research uses a web-based survey approach to examine issues like family friendliness, salary and benefits, and professional development opportunities.
  • Shirlene Obuobi, M.D., a Ghanaian-American physician and cartoonist, will deliver VCU Libraries’ 24th annual Black History Month Lecture on Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. at James Branch Cabell Library. Her topic will be “Narrative Medicine and Identity.” Registration for the free event, both in-person and on Zoom, is open. Medical educators are becoming more aware of the potential value of the comic arts not only in patient education but in the education of future physicians and as an avenue for social critique of the medical profession.
  • VCU recently announced a new interim policy, beginning this semester, to maintain federal financial aid compliance for our students. The interim policy is applicable to undergraduate, graduate and professional students.

The VCU Division of Community Engagement is seeking an additional student for the Community Engagement Student Council. New this semester, the council aims to engage undergraduate students in learning about the principles of community engagement, participating in volunteer and experiential learning opportunities, and benefit from career, professional, and personal development.

Quest 2028 Data Point

Did you know… Diversity driving excellence is one of the four pillars of Quest 2028, VCU’s strategic plan. The university’s increasingly diverse undergraduate enrollment over the last decade – with Asian, Black, and Hispanic students accounting for the largest increases – helped VCU achieve federal Minority Serving Institution (MSI) status in 2022.

Categories Monthly Academic Update, Uncategorized