Exterior view of the University Commons at VCU.

Seeking ideas for VCU's future

The VCU community is invited to review and respond to the recommendations of the One VCU Academic Repositioning Task Force.

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We seek your thoughts, reactions, and ideas on what’s needed for VCU’s academic future.

Six months ago, we created the One VCU Academic Repositioning Task Force to examine the university’s academic enterprise and recommend ways that it can be more exciting academically, more efficient financially, and increasingly relevant in preparing our graduates for success in a rapidly-changing world.

Dozens of faculty and staff members served on that task force, working hard to examine our structure, that of other institutions, and the evolving demands of the world of work.

Together, they have been outstanding, submitting to me 100 recommendations.

Throughout the more than two years that I have served as VCU’s provost I have been both impressed and delighted by what happens when we tap into the collective intellect of the VCU community. The task force recommendations are a powerful reminder of why that is.

As we thank the task force for what they accomplished during this initial phase, we carry the conversations forward to our campus communities. I am planning to host unit-level conversations early in the spring semester. Meanwhile, I invite you to examine the recommendations created by our faculty and staff colleagues, and offer your thoughts on the ideas that really stand out to you. You can also offer additional ideas on the web page too.

Through our campus community conversations, university leadership will identify the priority ideas that they will advance through the university’s shared governance process. As I lead these conversations, and personally consider the recommendations, these are the questions I will be asking:

  • How does the recommendation enhance VCU’s structure as a pipeline of program offerings more exciting for learners, more relevant for the fields in which they seek to work, and better preparation for career success?
  • Does the proposed recommendation effectively amplify opportunities for transdisciplinary research and scholarship and/or fostering community engagement, thereby strengthening VCU's research impact in areas that save lives and lift the lives of all people?
  • How does the recommendation increase the financial efficiency of VCU’s academic enterprise? That means both saving money where possible and investing strategically where needed.
  • Does the recommendation protect VCU’s existing named schools? 

I have shared with you previously the perfect storm facing the higher education sector today. The combination of population changes, technological innovation, and increased competition, means we face unprecedented challenges as both a sector, and as a university. 

I’m confident, however, that the faculty- and staff-created ideas leading this process, and the conversations that will occur throughout our campuses, will position VCU to not simply survive that future but to thrive in it and to lead in it.

Thank you for reviewing the task force recommendations and for your contributions that make VCU the uncommon and unstoppable university that it is today.

Best regards,

Fotis Sotiropoulos, Ph.D.
Provost and senior vice president for academic affairs