Our vision

The road to being the premier urban, public research university

Quest for Distinction strategic plan embodies Virginia Commonwealth University’s commitment to advancing knowledge and student success — a dual commitment that is distinctive among research universities.

Mission Statement

As the premier urban, public research university in Virginia, VCU’s mission is to advance knowledge and student success through its commitments to:

  • an engaged, learner-centered environment that fosters inquiry, discovery and innovation in a global setting;
  • research that expands the boundaries of new knowledge and creative expression and promotes translational applications to improve human health;
  • interdisciplinary collaborations that bring new perspectives to complex problems and mobilize creative energies that advance innovation and solve global challenges;
  • health care that strives to preserve and restore health for all people, to seek the cause and cure of diseases through groundbreaking research, and to educate those who serve humanity;
  • diversity that provides a climate of inclusion, a dedication to addressing disparities wherever they exist, and an opportunity to explore and create in an environment of trust;
  • sustainable, university-community partnerships that enhance the educational, economic and cultural vitality of the communities VCU serves in Virginia and around the world.

Vision Statement

VCU will be a premier urban, public research university distinguished by its commitment to:

  • the intellectual and academic success of a diverse student body;
  • research and discovery that advances knowledge, inspires creativity and improves human health;
  • the global engagement of students, faculty and staff that transforms lives and communities.

Core Values

  1. Accountability – committing to the efficient and transparent stewardship of our resources to achieve institutional excellence.
  2. Achievement – ensuring distinction in learning, research and scholarly pursuits, service, and patient care.
  3. Collaboration – fostering collegiality and cooperation to advance learning, entrepreneurship, and inquiry.
  4. Freedom – striving for intellectual truth with responsibility and civility, respecting the dignity of all individuals.
  5. Innovation – cultivating discovery, creativity, originality, inventiveness, and talent.
  6. Service – engaging in the application of learning and discovery to improve the human condition and support the public good at home and abroad.
  7. Diversity – ensuring a climate of trust, honesty and integrity where all people are valued and differences are recognized as an asset.
  8. Integrity – adhering to the highest standards of honesty, respect and professional and scholarly ethics.

Our strategic plan continues to provide a framework for capitalizing on the outstanding assets that form the VCU experience — a commitment to educational quality, an environment that embraces diversity, an evolving research program with substantial increases in extramural funding, pre-eminent academic programs, an engaged community and a growing alumni base.

Themes and goals 2016-18 

Theme I

Become a leader among national research universities in providing all students with high-quality learning/living experiences focused on inquiry, discovery and innovation in a global environment

Goals and strategies:

  1. Recruit and retain talented and diverse students who will graduate at a higher rate than our Quest peers and serve as leaders in a well-educated workforce
    1. Develop experiential learning curriculum (Real World Experience or RWE) for full implementation with fall 2017 entering cohort (freshmen and transfer students)
    2. Strengthen programs / initiatives that support access, reduce student debt, increase internal financial assistance, and speed timely graduation
    3. Expand online course and program offerings
    4. Improve / redesign gateway courses
    5. Strengthen advising / career counseling
    6. Increase internal student financial aid (% UG need met; % 1st Professional student need met)
  2. Recruit and retain progressive and diverse faculty, staff and senior leadership with the skills and talents to advance quality teaching and learning, along with high-impact research, scholarship and creative expression
    1. Improve recruitment and retention of diverse faculty and staff
    2. Implement iCubed (research pipeline, cluster hiring and retention initiative)

Theme II

Attain distinction as a fully integrated urban, public research university through contributions in human health, research, scholarship and creative expression that advance knowledge and enhance the quality of life

Goals and strategies: 

  1. Leverage health system/university assets to address social determinants of health
  2. Increase interdisciplinary research and interprofessional education, scholarship and practice among arts, humanities and sciences Improve recruitment and retention of diverse faculty and staff
    1. Grow training-specific resources through the mechanisms of extramural training grants
  3. Sustain the success of high-performing research institutes and centers and engage stakeholders in identifying promising areas of research and academic program investment
    1. Receive NCI re-designation for Massey Cancer Center

Theme III

Become a national model for community engagement and regional impact

Goals and strategies: 

  1. Finalize design and begin implementation of the Center for Urban Communities (preliminary focus areas: K-12 education/lifelong learning and health literacy and access)
    1. Complete development of C4Uc infrastructure
    2. Create work/implementation plan to target identified community issue
    3. Launch of Community-Engaged Partnership Map
  2. Leverage and align efforts of students, faculty and staff to enhance, disseminate and integrate community-engaged scholarship, student service learning opportunities and outreach
  3. Implement strategies to partner with city/region in advancing economic development
    1. Articulation / establishment of key strategies in advancing economic development