Message from the Provost

April 1, 2024

Dear VCU faculty and staff:

You are inspiring!

I cannot count the number of deep and meaningful conversations I have enjoyed with you, and our colleagues, since I launched the One VCU Academic Repositioning Task Force in the spring of 2023. We’ve talked about broad societal changes that are reshaping our lives and communities. We’ve discussed how those forces challenge the future of higher education, and the vital role that our university plays within it. And we’ve connected over the commitment we share to the students we serve together.

No question, the chance to engage with you so deeply has been the highpoint of the nearly three years in which I’ve had the honor of serving as VCU’s provost.

There is nothing easy about an academic repositioning. It can be uncomfortable to look in the mirror, embrace our strengths and acknowledge where we have opportunities to improve. Throughout this process, your ideas, perspectives, and aspirations helped us find and define our path forward.

The ideas offered by the faculty and staff members who served on the task force – and the many responses they generated from our campus communities – taught us so much. You showed us how some early thoughts weren’t right; you confirmed the promise of other ideas. Most importantly, you advocated for amazing ideas that we had never before considered. 

I cannot overstate how powerful a resource VCU’s collective intellectual capacity truly is.

Your hard work and exciting ideas will fuel VCU’s ascent as we emerge among the nation’s most influential and impactful universities. This report’s list of final recommendations:

  • Cultivates an inclusive and welcoming environment where a dynamic and diverse community of learners of all backgrounds can thrive and meet tomorrow’s challenges;
  • Empowers our excellent faculty and students to make an impact through advancing transdisciplinary research that will change lives, elevate lives, and save lives; and
  • Prepares our graduates to be future-focused, creative problem-solvers, and lifelong learners, by implementing and expanding experiential educational opportunities that break through disciplinary silos and continuously adapts to meet their needs and those of communities.

The 52 faculty and staff members who served on the task force created a total of 100 ideas. Since those recommendations were shared with the VCU community in early December, they have attracted more than 27,000 engagements and more than 2,500 written comments on the web portal hosting them. Further, more than 1,300 faculty and staff members came to discuss these ideas, and others, at the 18 sessions I hosted across VCU’s Richmond campuses.

Those community conversations continue as I return to the VCU Faculty Senate, Student Government Association, our deans, and other shared governance groups to discuss these draft final recommendations and the steps required before they can be implemented beginning in fall 2025.

I am grateful to the individuals who served on the task force, our deans who led the process, and all of you who engaged with the recommendations on the website, wrote comments about those ideas, and came to town hall meetings to discuss them.  I am impressed by how much you accomplished all while continuing to manage the many responsibilities of your jobs.

Thank you. You are a credit to VCU.

Warm regards,

Fotis Sotiropoulos, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Final Draft Recommendations

Info on the Task Force