VCU Update #7


Virginia Commonwealth University
VCU Health System

Office of the President

March 1, 2010

TO: The VCU and VCU Health System Communities
Michael Rao
VCU Update #7


On February 21, 2010, the Virginia House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees submitted their amendments to the state budget proposed by Governor Kaine. A summary of the key provisions impacting VCU is available at Summary of House and Senate Budget Amendments.pdf.

We are grateful that no additional cuts have been proposed by either Committee to VCU’s educational program, although the structural budget challenges facing VCU have not changed. Differences between the House and Senate budgets will be resolved by a Committee of Conference before the session adjourns on March 13, 2010. The university’s primary focus in its advocacy with legislative leaders continues to focus toward VCU’s unmatched service to in-state students.

We also are currently assessing the potential impact of reductions on the VCU Health System.

2010 General Assembly Session

February 16 was the deadline that required all legislative bills to be advanced from their house of origin to the other body. Of approximately 2,700 bills and resolutions that were introduced, only 1,800 remain after Crossover Day. Please visit the Government Relations and Health Policy Web site to view 2010 state legislative priorities, tracking lists for education and health-related legislation, weekly legislative updates and guidelines for faculty and staff taking public policy positions or offering public comment during the General Assembly.

Student Success

Students continue to express gratitude for the Campus Learning and Writing Centers. In the fall, the Campus Learning Center logged 20,073 student hours; the Writing Center provided 4,108 writing consultations and 600 students participated in Writing Center workshops. The overall freshman retention rate increased from 93.5% last year to 94.5% this spring – that translates to 35 additional students who continued into the second semester of their freshman year over the prior year.


Ed Grier has been named dean of the School of Business. Grier’s appointment, which is effective March 8, results from a national search. Grier, who most recently served as president of Disneyland Resort, spent 29 years at the $38 billion, Fortune 500 Walt Disney Company, gaining extensive experience in international operations, union negotiations, brand management, administration, finance and planning, marketing, audits, capital projects and government relations. Click here for additional information:

I am also pleased to announce that my colleague, Marketing Professor David Urban, has been named executive associate dean of the School of Business. Urban, who has been on the school’s faculty for 20 years, has served as chair of the Department of Marketing in the School of Business and as the director of both the Commonwealth Poll and the Survey Evaluation Research Lab in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.

Rick Toscan will retire as dean of the School of the Arts, effective June 30, 2010, after 14 successful years that brought VCU Arts to the forefront of art education. Dean Toscan will also retire from the position of vice provost for International Education, through which he oversees the VCU Qatar campus and the development and expansion of VCU’s international education programs. VCU has greatly benefited from the accomplishments of the School of Arts under Dean Toscan’s leadership. A national search committee will be formed in the near future to find a new dean.

Finally, national searches are well underway for the positions of dean of the School of Social Work and director of the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.


The School of Education has received a $1 million gift from Altria Group, Inc., to improve the preparation and support of school leaders and expand education partnerships in the Richmond area. EduLead – a professional development and leadership training partnership between VCU and the University of Richmond – will use $750,000 over four years to improve the effectiveness of current school leaders in a standards-based environment, and enhance the capabilities of existing strong and talented leaders who are critical to the academic success of schools. The gift also will expand EduLead’s work to prepare and support new and academically struggling schools in its partner school divisions in Richmond and the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, and Henrico. Another $250,000 will go to the VCU School of Education Center for School Improvement to expand its services, infrastructure, and community partnerships such as Bridging Richmond – a collaboration of local educators, and business and civic leaders working to ensure all students succeed academically and enter meaningful careers.

VCU named to President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

VCU recently was named to the 2009 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service. This is the fourth year that VCU has been listed on the Honor Roll in recognition of its commitment to service learning and civic engagement. The honor roll is sponsored by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation and the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development. It is the highest federal recognition colleges and universities can achieve for service learning and community engagement.

Sustainability – Climate Commitment

In February, I signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, renewing VCU’s commitment to address global warming by working to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions on campus. The main thrust of the commitment is for participating universities to develop a comprehensive climate action plan to achieve climate neutrality on their campuses as soon as possible. The signing of the commitment coincides with VCU’s Year of the Environment, which highlights the contributions and leadership that universities can bring to further improve Virginia’s sustainable practices and the impact on national resources. VCU Goes Green provides the Sixty Steps toward Sustainability and what is possible at VCU to become better educated on issues of sustainability, and get resources to help you (and others) in both your career and personal life.

There is no doubt that society is facing serious global challenges with respect to environmental, social, and economic health. Signs of “going green” have become synonymous with good practices both at home and in business, particularly during these difficult budget times. At VCU’s Department of Environmental Conservation find out how you can take part in 2010 RecycleMania, a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities.

Community Engagement

The VCU community has the opportunity to make a contribution to the Greater Richmond community over the semester through the various service activities highlighted on the Caring to Act Calendar. Faculty, staff, students, and alumni are encouraged to get involved – as individuals or as teams from a university unit or student organization. The Caring to Act Calendar provides a way to mobilize and organize VCU volunteers to address real needs in the community. For more information on the activities and how to participate, visit or contact Mr. Ron Brown in the Division of Community Engagement at 827-1904.

Global Education

VCU’s Office of International Education hosted more than 75 colleagues in international education at the Colonial Academic Alliance (CAA) Global Education Conference on February 18-19, 2010. Attendees were engaged in discussions of best practices in the areas of education abroad, international student services, faculty development, international admissions, and ESL instruction, as well as collaborative relationships among various disciplines. The CAA, which was founded in 2002 by the provosts of the institutions of the Colonial Athletic Association, includes: The University of Delaware, Drexel University, George Mason University, Georgia State University, Hofstra University, James Madison University, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Northeastern University, Old Dominion University, Towson University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and The College of William and Mary. The next CAA conference to be hosted by VCU will be the Undergraduate Research Conference, April 16-17, 2010.


Many thanks to Vice President Macrina for his work and that of my other faculty colleagues in developing the VCU Presidential Research Incentive Program (PRIP). This Program will afford all VCU faculty members the opportunity to apply for internal funding to support new, emerging, or continuing research. Faculty grants will be awarded based on a two-step review process involving the schools and the VCU Research Development Advisory Council. PRIP awards will require school or departmental matching funds. Applications for the first round of funding under the PRIP will be due on May 1, 2010. PRIP will provide new opportunities for VCU faculty to expand their scholarship, and it affirms the commitment to enhancing the research enterprise across the institution.

Family Medicine physicians are accepting new patients

We occasionally receive inquiries about whether we are accepting new primary care patients in family medicine. Drs. Christopher Burri, Steven Crossman, and Daniel Lawrence are accepting new patients and are conveniently located in the Nelson Clinic. To schedule an appointment, please call 828-5883.

Successful Site Visit by Commission on Dental Accreditation

The twenty-three member site-visiting team from across the U.S. and Canada evaluated the Predoctoral Dental Education Program (DDS), the Advanced Dental Education Programs in Endodontics, Orthodontics, Dentofacial Orthopedics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics, Advanced Education in General Dentistry, and the Dental Hygiene Program.

2010 Healthy Lifestyle Expo

The VCU Medical Center partnered with WTVR-CBS 6 to present the 2010 Healthy Lifestyle Expo on Saturday, February 13, 2010, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. More than 4,000 Central Virginians attended this year’s expo, which featured special guest Nathan Lyon of A Lyon in the Kitchenon the Discovery Healthy Channel. About 120 VCU physicians, staff and students staffed nearly 30 booth spaces, including VCU Pauley Heart Center, VCU Massey Cancer Center, Evans-Haynes Burn Unit, VCU Children’s Medical Center, Women’s Health, Interventional Radiology and VCU Hume-Lee Transplant Center just to name a few. The Medical Center also provided free wellness screenings for children and adults, as well as provided dental, posture and geriatric screenings. Thanks also to members of the women’s soccer and field hockey teams who kindly demonstrated children skills and playing techniques.

Bully Free in the Workplace Workshops

A positive working environment is critical to VCU’s continued success. On April 15, the Office of the Faculty/Staff Ombudsperson will host a series of workshops called “Bully Free at Work.” The three workshops will be led by Valerie Cade,considered one of the top experts in workplace bullying. The workshops will be open to all faculty and staff. Registration information will be available soon. For more information, visit Ms. Cade’s Web site at

Clinics to move as preparations begin for demolition of A.D. Williams Building

Construction has begun on a new 200,000-square-foot, 12-story VCU School of Medicine building, to be completed in spring 2013. The building will be located on the site of the A.D. Williams Building and will represent the next major phase of VCU’s oldest educational program. Departments and clinics currently in A.D. Williams have begun to move. For the duration of the construction project, 12th Street, between Broad and Marshall, will be closed; the traffic circle in front of West Hospital will remain open for drop offs and pick ups, but parking will be prohibited. For additional information on facilities projects, please visit

Governor McDonnell recognizes VCU heart researcher as one of Virginia’s Outstanding Scientists for 2010

Warm congratulations to Rakesh Kukreja, professor of internal medicine and the Eric Lipman professor in cardiology in the School of Medicine, who was recently recognized as one of the state’s Outstanding Scientists of 2010 by Gov. McDonnell for his research with male impotence drugs protecting the heart or minimize damage following a heart attack. Professor Kukreja also was recognized at last fall’s convocation as the winner of the University’s Distinguished Scholarship Award.

Information Technology

Information technology impacts almost every aspect of our everyday lives. This is certainly true in our academic and administrative activities here at the University. VCU Technology Services and IT support units in the schools and departments provide a variety of technology tools and services to help you in your classes, labs and offices. In the ever changing world of IT, these tools and services are frequently upgraded or expanded. A good source of up-to-date information about the current offerings is the Technology Services Web site: Check this site often for news and updates.

VCU Technology Services actively seeks your feedback on their services and offerings. In addition to the “Feedback” tab on their Web site, they conduct customer satisfaction surveys annually. Survey results, action plans for critical issues identified in the surveys and periodic progress reports are posted here:

VCU Technology Services is also updating its IT strategic plan — the roadmap for technology at VCU for the next five to 10 years. They have developed draft goals, objectives and initiatives. These proposals are currently being presented to various University constituencies for their review and feedback. The review process will continue through the spring semester and a final plan is expected by July 1. The proposal is available for your review and comments here: