From the provost

I hope you are settling back into campus well and looking forward, as I am, to an exciting semester ahead. 

On that note, I wanted to remind you of the tools and resources available to help ensure your students' success. VCU's early notifications programs, which include progress reports and midterm grades, play a vital role in setting and reinforcing high academic expectations for your students:

  • Progress reports are due by Feb. 16
  • Midterm grades are due between Feb. 17 and March 13

Please help our students by participating in both of these critical programs, and see the Student Success website for additional resources available to faculty

Thank you again for all you do to make VCU the dynamic academic environment that it is, and I look forward to working with you this semester. 

- Gail Hackett
Provost and senior vice president for academic affairs

Supporting student success

The REAL experiential learning initiative

REAL Challenge Grants
Our REAL initiative is currently accepting applications for the REAL Challenge Grants, which offer funding support to help you create or enhance experiential learning opportunities for your students. These are open to both faculty and staff, and the deadline is March 2. 

See the criteria and apply for the REAL Challenge Grants »

REAL Poster Session and Collaboratory, April 6
This year's REAL Poster Session will be held in the ICA on April 6, from 9 a.m. to noon. A poster template is available for download, and free poster printing will be offered. 

Sign up for the poster session and download the template »

RAM Attend pilot

Regular class attendance is an important indicator for student success. Last fall, VCU piloted an attendance verification program that compares VCU SafeNet Wi-Fi connection logs with student class schedule information. The tool, which VCU renamed RAM Attend, is not a tool to be used for assessing students but, rather, to help students — part of our student success interventions. The program was piloted in three University College courses in which instructors already take manual attendance — UNIV 111, UNIV 112 and UNIV 200; students in these courses were given the opportunity to opt-out of the pilot.

This semester, spring 2020, we will be analyzing the pilot data from fall 2019 and sharing the results of the pilot with the campus community later in the semester. RAM Attend is not being used in any VCU courses during the spring 2020 semester.
Learn more about the RAM Attend pilot through the FAQ »

Supporting faculty success

Department Chair Leadership Program: Spring 2020

The slate of sessions being offered this spring for the Department Chair Leadership Program is now online. The series began on Jan. 28 with an interactive session, led by Dr. Cathy Trower, on the significance of climate in the success of a department. 

The Department Chair Leadership Program provides a forum for new and returning chairs to engage, share and learn about strategies, challenges and opportunities facing this vital role in academic leadership.

Learn more about the Department Chair Leadership Program »

VCU Faculty Club

Faculty Club returns on Feb. 7, 4-5:30 p.m. at the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA). This monthly event, typically held on the first Friday of each month through May, provides an opportunity to connect with fellow faculty members in an informal setting.
Learn more about the Faculty Club and register for Feb. 7 »

VCU's first Distinguished Career Professors

In 2019, the Office of the Provost established the Distinguished Career Professorship Program to honor selected, eligible senior VCU faculty members by awarding them an honorary designation of Distinguished Career Professor 12 months prior to their retirement or separation from their tenured faculty position. Eight Distinguished Career Professors were selected for 2019. Faculty who are eligible for the 2020 class of Distinguished Career Professorships have already been notified by their deans.
Meet VCU's first Distinguished Career Professors »

Call for Proposals: VCU CTLE Symposium

The Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE) invites proposals for the 2020 Celebration of Teaching and Learning Excellence Symposium. Proposals should highlight teaching and learning excellence across the university, including presentations (and co-presentations) that have been presented nationally as well as works in progress. Sessions will include workshops, roundtable discussions, spotlight short-sessions, panel discussions, and poster presentations. 

The symposium will be held on Friday, April 3. The deadline to submit a proposal is Friday, Feb. 14.
Learn more about the CTLE Symposium and submit a proposal »


Transcript: 2020 State of the University address

In his annual State of the University address, held in Cabell Library on Jan. 30, President Rao outlined his plans to focus on and improve the experiences of VCU students, faculty and staff, and patients of VCU Health. If you were not able to attend the address or watch it live online, you can read the transcript at the link below.
Read the transcript of the 2020 State of the University address »

Health Promotion and Well-Being Center

Effective this semester, the Wellness Resource Center has changed its name to the Health Promotion and Well-Being Center in order to better align with its functional responsibilities. The office can still be referred to as "The Well", and it will continue to provide vital resources to our students in the areas of: alcohol and drug education, mental health education, community engagement, faculty and staff wellness engagement, and holistic health education. 
See the services and programs offered by the Health Promotion and Well-Being Center »

VCU Common Book for 2020-21

"One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy," by Carol Anderson, Ph.D., the Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies at Emory University, has been selected as the VCU Common Book for 2020-21. Released in 2018, the book explores the history of efforts to suppress African American voting participation. The book will be distributed to all fall 2020 incoming first-year students. Anderson is scheduled to visit VCU and give a public lecture related to “One Person, No Vote” at 6 p.m. on Oct. 21 in the Stuart C. Siegel Center. 

The VCU Common Book program seeks to provide students with the opportunity to explore complex social issues through an interdisciplinary lens.
Read more about the Common Book program and this selection »

Academic leadership update

New appointments
Jacqueline Smith-Mason, interim dean of the VCU Honors College
Mandera Savage, executive director of Online@VCU (beginning April 1)

Searches in progress
Dean, Honors College
Dean, College of Humanities and Sciences
Dean, L. D. Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
Dean, School of the Arts

Upcoming searches (due to pending retirement of incumbents)
Dean, VCU Libraries
Dean, VCU Graduate School

Important dates