Virginia Commonwealth University takes great pride in its commitment to creating a campus community that embraces diverse perspectives, cultures, experiences and people.
Our division host year-round events and initiatives that engage campus members in meaningful dialogue and training, which creates opportunities to engage across differences and advance the learning, living and working community of our university.
Specific initiatives within the division include:
- Building Inclusive Communities (BIC): Established to create a more engaged, diverse and inclusive campus environment through training, workshops and focused interaction for groups that encompass a wide range of similarities and differences
- Curriculum Development Awards: Established for the continued development of courses and classroom learning experiences that are inclusive, both in content and in strategy.
- Equity and Inclusion Leadership Symposium: A one-day forum to examine and engage around emerging and challenging topics in diversity, inclusion, equity and access.
- Social Justice Fund: Established to capitalize on VCU’s significant interest in social justice and innovation
We all have a stake in helping to support and advance the diversity, inclusion and equity initiatives noted in President Michael Rao’s diversity and inclusion action plan:
- Institutional commitment
- Campus climate and culture
- Faculty and staff recruitment and retention
- Curriculum and the classroom
- Student support
- Professional development
Download the University-level Diversity and Inclusion Flowchart to see an outline of these efforts and the initiatives that will be used to measure our progress.
Campus climate and culture
- We will administer a new campus climate survey in the spring semester, and will include responses from students. This survey was last conducted three years ago as part of the Great Place Initiative and was issued only to faculty and staff. This new broader survey will provide data that will allow us to monitor our progress regularly.
- University Ombudsperson William King now has an expanded role to serve in student mediation and conflict resolution. We will monitor demand and add qualified staff as needed.
- Within the spring semester, we will establish a bias response team that will operate through VCU Police and will ensure efficient, effective and appropriate response to incidents that may be characterized as bias motivated.
In fall 2016, we will open Lavender and MOSAIC housing for students involved in the ongoing intellectual exchange about culture, diversity and sexual identity, and those who wish to expand their crosscultural understanding.
- A university-wide diversity action plan is due this spring. This plan is currently being drafted by the 24-member Council for Inclusive Excellence and Equity, which was established fall 2015.
Faculty and staff recruitment and retention
- Within the next year, we will double the number of senior faculty members and departmental leaders who participate in the Recruitment Inclusive Champion program. This is a nine-month cohort-based educational program focused on diverse recruitment efforts among the faculty. More information is available here.
- We will expand the Search Committee Training Workshops to include more content on the impact of unconscious bias on the recruitment of diverse faculty. In addition, we will create online training modules on search committee policies and procedures.
- During the spring, we will make decisions about resources to support cluster hiring, including in the Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation (iCubed).
- The Office of the Provost is finalizing guidelines that will support our ability to hire exceptional faculty, including faculty of color. The Office of the Provost and the Division of Inclusive Excellence are also completing their work on a robust faculty mentoring program.
Curriculum and the classroom
- We are offering a for-credit seminar course this spring on issues of diversity and inclusion, open to all students.
- We are ensuring that faculty have access to resources to effectively moderate discussion in the classroom and support students from diverse backgrounds. This information will be distributed by early spring.
- Members of the president’s cabinet and senior leadership team (including deans, vice provosts and associate vice presidents) will undergo cultural competency training in January.
- The Division of Inclusive Excellence and the Staff Senate are piloting an employee ambassador program, which will launch this spring. This program will provide staff members with professional development and network opportunities.