We strive to be unique at VCU. Afterall, that’s one of those UN-words that undergird the university’s relatively new UNcommon marketing campaign. We embrace our UNstoppable students, their UNtraditional approaches to problems large and small, and the UNlimited potential they offer the world. 

(In fact, we need their help as we confront the “Perfect Storm” facing higher education explored in our previous message.)

VCU’s enrollment numbers have positioned the university as an unfortunate outlier: we are the only large, public university in the commonwealth with declining enrollment, and that’s been the case for four consecutive years.

In each of those years, VCU has seen an increase in applications, acceptances, and each fall’s entering class of new students has been bigger than the last. We’re simply losing too many students along the way.

The One VCU Academic Repositioning Task Force is being launched to offer recommendations on how the university’s academic enterprise should be structured to better engage those students at VCU, support their academic journey, and achieve their career aspirations.

Today’s students grow up as technology natives. There’s really nothing they can’t find on the other end of a mobile app or a web browser. The VCU student experience must break through that with learning opportunities that are tangible, contextual, and more meaningful than traditional lectures, textbooks and term papers could ever be.

VCU’s academic enterprise must become both more efficient and more dynamic to better support our creative faculty members. It must encourage and support them in creating a more vibrant pipeline of new degree programs; a carefully curated collection of existing programs that rise to meet their potential and serve more students; and eliminate bureaucratic barriers that hamper innovation for no discernable reason.

By bringing together faculty and staff members from across our disciplines, and across our campuses, and harnessing their creativity, experience, and expertise, there is no question that we can flip the script and position VCU as an enrollment outlier with robust growth and student success numbers.

Do you have questions, comments, or thoughts about the work of this task force? We’d appreciate it if you would share them with us. Please send us a message at repositioning@vcu.edu

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