Celebrating our new colleges

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Virginia Commonwealth University is a nationally premier research university composed of nationally premier academic, research, and clinical units. Two of our units are now celebrating a big change that elevates them even more—they are becoming colleges.

What had been our School of Engineering since 1996 is now, very proudly, the VCU College of Engineering. It is only the third engineering college in Virginia. This change highlights VCU Engineering’s rapid increase in academic offerings, research, faculty size, and student enrollment and speaks to the new college’s commitment to engage in collaborative and entrepreneurial work. Under Dean Barbara Boyan’s leadership, Engineering has quadrupled its research activity and doubled its faculty size since 2013.

Similarly, the School of Allied Health Professions—long nationally ranked and renowned—is now the College of Health Professions. This nomenclature more accurately reflects the breadth and level of the new college’s academic programs and the breadth of its research under Dean Cecil Drain.

Both Engineering and Health Professions will graduate their first class as colleges this weekend, a landmark for our newest alumni.

This change now gives VCU three colleges, the two newest joining our distinguished College of Humanities and Sciences.

What’s the difference between a college and a school, anyway? It’s more than a name. It’s another step toward national prominence and another way VCU is committed to excellence for those we serve.

Schools typically focus on research and degree programs from related areas. A college, however, is typically large in scope, covering multiple disciplines. A college offers degrees, conducts advanced research, and focuses on building connections for economic development and community partnerships. For example, a college typically connect its research, student engagement, and academic programs with community needs, thus enhancing our university’s commitment to serve the public good.

I could not be more proud of the nationally premier work—and well-deserved recognition—that occurs every day in our College of Engineering and College of Health Professions. They are two examples, in new name and in continued achievement, of VCU’s national prominence.