As a result of the work of the One VCU Academic Repositioning Task Force, the community review of its recommendations, and in consultation with VCU senior leadership, the Provost will work with impacted units and respective governance organizations to reposition the university’s academic enterprise and implement the following recommendations:

College of Humanities and Sciences Restructuring 

The College of Humanities and Sciences (CHS) will remain intact and further conversation will occur in the months ahead about the most effective way to organize VCU’s largest academic unit to maximize the potential it holds for research leadership, innovative collaboration, and student success.

The VCU Department of Focused Inquiry will be relocated from University College to CHS. This move will enable the department to leverage CHS resources to enhance fiscal sustainability and expand its impactful work for student success.

A new school, focused on Biological and Environmental Sciences, will be created by bringing together VCU Life Sciences and the Department of Biology. This school will be initially located within CHS and its name will be decided in consultation with its faculty. 

The new school aligns with both the ONE VCU Sustainability Plan and the environmental sustainability focus within the One VCU Research Strategic Priorities Plan and holds great potential to evolve in the future into a new free-standing school leveraging VCU’s unique assets in biological, environmental and sustainability sciences along with innovative facilities, like VCU’s Rice Rivers Center, while fostering emerging and high-demand program offerings.

Creation of a new College for advancing Interdisciplinary, Experiential and Entrepreneurial Studies (final name TBD)

This college will enable us to advance and scale across the entire institution VCU’s vision for transformative, experiential, real-world, and entrepreneurial learning and achieve the bold goals set by VCU’s QEP, “Every Ram’s a Researcher.” The college will also enable us to respond to emerging job market trends and address rapidly evolving student needs in a future defined by technological innovation and artificial intelligence by allowing the speedy creation and incubation of new credit and non-credit credentials including new concentrations, minors, majors and microcredentials. 

This new academic unit will be assembled from University College, the da Vinci Center and VCU Transformative Learning (e.g., REAL; Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program; service learning; vertically-integrated projects) and will initially offer five programs:

  • Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies;
  • Master of Interdisciplinary Studies;
  • Master of Product Innovation; and
  • Undergraduate certificates in Product Innovation and Venture Creation.

The new college is envisioned as both an academic unit and a university-level office, creating avenues for faculty across VCU’s other schools and colleges to collaborate and expand the transformative learning opportunities that will distinguish VCU students and graduates in their careers and communities. Academic affairs will maintain joint oversight of the university-level office function of the new college to ensure appropriate strategic direction and sound implementation.

Convergence Labs @VCU: Expanding Virtual Consortia 

For nearly a decade, VCU’s Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry, and Innovation (iCubed) has promoted and sustained transdisciplinary research aimed at addressing persistent societal challenges; advanced research innovation and impact at scale; and leveraged cluster hiring to recruit diverse faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, and students into the university’s core research programs. 

Convergence Labs @VCU re-imagines and expands the scope of iCubed, applying its approach to emerging fields like applied generative artificial intelligence, the convergence of medicine science and technology, and other key focus areas of the One VCU Research Strategic Priorities Plan.The goals of the Convergence Labs@VCU build on the original mission of iCubed and include the following:

 ●       Promote transdisciplinary research and help identify priorities for faculty cluster hires across the institution;

●       Create connections among faculty to develop innovative credit and non-credit courses and programs, and Open Educational Resources (OER) related to topical areas;

●       Facilitate collaborative teams that can respond to RFPs, collaborate on projects, and create synergy around topics;

●       Increase coherence among efforts across clusters and within the Convergence Labs to address strategic priorities;

●       Enhance community relationships to broaden VCU’s local and state impact; and

●       Diversify faculty within clusters to foster inclusion and ensure multiple perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences influence creative methods and inventive solutions.

The specific themes of Convergence Labs@VCU will be developed via a participatory process in close collaboration with the Office of Vice President for Research and Innovation to ensure alignment with the  One VCU Research Strategic Priorities Plan.  

VCU Health Sciences Pathways

As One VCU, we seek stronger connections between the university’s Richmond campuses. This includes greater opportunities for undergraduate VCU students who aspire to earn advanced degrees on the VCU Health campus and pursue a career in healthcare. The VCU Health Sciences Pathways represent enhanced engagement between the campuses (to include 4+1 degree opportunities) for the purpose of creating a greater and more diverse healthcare workforce to address gaps in healthcare equity and affordable access. 

The Health Sciences Pathways will be created in collaboration with academic units on both campuses and coordinated by the VCU Graduate School, with the intention of creating an array of healthcare-related opportunities across the university. 

Building on VCU’s Community Engagement Work

VCU is proud to be among the first universities in America to earn the Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2005, and reclassification in 2015. As the university seeks its 2025 reclassification, VCU will pursue recommendations to increase both the awareness of and coordination of siloed efforts across the university to address health disparities and social inequities across communities. 

Further, we will develop and offer certificates in community engaged research that can attract students and faculty members to projects that deliver impact beyond our campuses.

Categories Academic Affairs, Academic Repositioning, Faculty Affairs, Provost, Student Success