Archived FAQ

Refocused Quest FAQ

What is “Refocused Quest”? What happened to “Quest for Distinction”?
Our Quest for Distinction strategic plan remains our roadmap for pursuing our vision toward becoming a premier, urban public research university. In 2014-15, the midway point of the plan, we engaged the university community in a “refocusing” exercise. Together, we took a close look at our accomplishments and the remaining goals and aspirations to ensure that the university is positioned to complete Quest in the strongest position possible.

How is the refocused plan different?
We have narrowed the themes from four to three, updated our goals to be aspirational based on our current status (in 2015 rather than 2011, when the plan began) and outlined specific strategies to complete them over the next two years.

Do we still have Quest Peers? Who are they?
Yes. Selecting a group of peer institutions allows a comparative analysis, on a regular basis, to national universities that have similar characteristics. Peer universities are not alike in every way and are intended to act as a benchmark for evaluating our progress on selected university level metrics. Our peer universities are each public with a medical school and are classified as very high research within the Carnegie classification: University of Alabama – BirminghamUniversity of Illinois at Chicago, University of Louisville, University of South Carolina, University of South Florida and University of Cincinnati.

What are some of our successes from the first years of Quest?
Quest for Distinction is the first strategic plan for VCU with clear measurements for success. Metrics and progress to date are detailed at and will be updated again December 1, 2015. Among our many successes since the implementation of Quest are: 

  • VCU's six-year graduation rate reached 62% in 2014-15, surpassing the Quest goal of 60%
  • The Quest goal of 87% for first-time, full-time first-year retention was obtained in 2014-15  
  • The number of full-time faculty, set with a Quest goal of 2,200, reached 2,229 in 2014-15 
  • Total sponsored awards reached $267.8 million in 2014-15

What happens in July 2018? Will we have a strategic plan?
VCU’s first strategic plan was launched in 1993. Since then VCU has continuously had a strategic plan to provide a roadmap to the next stage of the university’s progress. Upon the completion of Quest for Distinction on June 30, 2018, a new strategic plan will be in place to guide us forward. Planning for the next phase will begin within the next two years.

History of Strategic Plans at VCU:
1. The Strategic Plan for VCU – 1993
2. The Strategic Plan for VCU – 1998
3. VCU 2020: Vision for Excellence – 2005
4. Quest for Distinction – 2011

Has our vision changed?
No. Our vision statement, as articulated in the original Quest for Distinction document, remains the same: 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.

What was the process for refocusing? 
The Refocusing Quest project began in October 2014 and culminated in September 2015.  A summary of the process is here.