Diversity is an important core value at VCU and one of our core assets. It is one of our strongest distinctions as a major public research university. Many of our students select VCU, in part, because of the richness of our student diversity and the inclusive living-learning campus climate we work to create and develop. We are proud to celebrate diversity and to promote an environment that supports inclusion while engaging in intentional efforts to create a safe environment. We must serve all members of our community well, with a clear and steadfast commitment to diversity and its contributions to our students and our university. These commitments are reflected in many areas of our work, including our efforts on the Great Place Initiative, Quest for Distinction and the university’s Five-Year Diversity plan.
In 2009 and 2013, my statements on diversity, the importance of inclusion, our fundamental commitments to equal opportunity and non-discrimination were shared with the university community. While there have been modest increases recently in the overall number of faculty who are minorities, we are concerned about the percentage decline in African American faculty since 2007 and the data demonstrating that under-represented minority faculty are not growing at the rates expected of this diverse urban public institution. In order to address these concerns, the members of my senior leadership team have been charged with developing and updating plans to strengthen our access to and use of data in understanding our work and progress in new faculty recruitment and faculty retention and promotion. Recommendations and proposals from each division for strengthening inclusive hiring practices, retention and professional development among faculty and staff have also been requested. All of these are due to me within the first two months of 2015.
VCU has made exceptional advancement in supporting academic progress and degree attainment among all our students. We reaffirm our commitment to strengthening our university community’s work to support inclusive excellence.
Thank you for your commitments to inclusion and equity and thank you for your continued efforts to support our institutional commitment to diversity.