As we begin the 2017-18 academic year, we are struck by the deep and profound need to live up to VCU’s core mission – by supporting a welcoming, inclusive and equitable learning and working environment where we honor, respect and engage with the differences of others. The tragic events at the University of Virginia underscore how important this work continues to be.
We echo President Rao’s commitment to denouncing antisemitism, homophobia, racism, sexism, xenophobia and discrimination in all of its forms. We commit to working together to support VCU as an inclusive community where all voices can be heard.
We also express our profound appreciation to our colleague Dr. Wanda Mitchell, who passed this summer and served as the inaugural Vice President for Inclusive Excellence. Dr. Mitchell was an exceptional leader whose work supported the development of a solid foundation on inclusion nationally and at VCU. We miss her and appreciate her many significant contributions.
Diversity and inclusion are fundamental to VCU’s educational, research, and service mission as well as its provision of high-quality health care. We have the opportunity to learn among one of the most diverse communities within the Commonwealth. We are engaged in research that deepens our knowledge and understanding of culture, gender, religion, differences in abilities and political perspectives. Our academic medical center provides care to a broad range of individuals from across the mid-Atlantic. We collaboratively integrate our teaching, discovery and scholarship with community partners to improve the lives of residents of the Commonwealth and the globe.
Last year, the campus community, led by the Council for Inclusive Excellence and Equity, completed the university’s new diversity inclusion strategic action plan, which was approved by VCU’s Board of Visitors in May. This fall, we will begin the implementation of the plan and integration across the institution. Click here for a full version of the plan.
We are honored to have started our academic year with the Equity and Inclusion Leadership Symposium on August 18, where members of our university community shared their expertise to continue building an excellent and inclusive institution. This fall, the university community will also have the opportunity to continue its ongoing work and discussion on critical university, national and global issues that were raised in last year’s President’s Forum on Social Justice and to engage around other issues that continue to emerge across our nation and across the globe.
As the new academic year kicks off, please join us for our division welcome event on August 30 and our Latinx Bienvenida on August 31 for members of the VCU community. Check the events calendar on our website for upcoming events. Many members of the campus community have worked diligently over the summer on a number of initiatives to strengthen VCU’s climate across both the Monroe Park and MCV campuses. The goal of these efforts has been to focus our collective talents, concerns, skills and commitment to the critical inclusion, equity and social justice issues faced by the members of VCU community.
VCU has incredibly important work ahead this year, and we each have significant contributions to make to our university. We look forward to our collective work supporting VCU’s continued progress and development as an inclusive, diverse, just and welcoming community.
Interim Vice President for Inclusive Excellence, and Senior Executive Director for Strategy and Presidential Administration
Virginia Commonwealth University’s Division for Inclusive Excellence, established in 2012, focuses on nurturing a dynamic environment in which people of all life experiences and cultural backgrounds are valued and supported.
Promote and foster a climate of equity, diversity and inclusiveness
Lead efforts to strengthen VCU’s core mission and culture of inclusion and diversity
Engage in promoting awareness and advocacy for the LGBTQ community
Provide diversity education and consultation to increase awareness, knowledge and skills
Serve as a campus and community resource on issues of access, diversity, excellence and inclusion
We are responsible for actualizing diversity initiatives outlined in VCU’s Five-Year Diversity Plan and the VCU Quest for Distinction that foster a welcoming community that supports all individuals regardless of race, color, national origin, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, veterans’ status and disability.
We embrace VCU's affirmation of equal opportunity.
Our division works in concert with the Council for Inclusive Excellence and Equity, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, Human Resources and the Office of the Ombudsperson to address diversity issues.
Our programs and events include workshops, presentations and courses that enhance understanding of diversity. We also provide mentoring, seminars, consultation and professional development to support diverse faculty in securing external funding to advance their research agenda.