VCU State of the University: Access and excellence

President Michael Rao stood up behind a podium yesterday and an internet camera to tell us his plans for the year(s) ahead.

After the usual “Here are all of our strong points” reminder that precedes any Official Update from a university president, Rao’s State of the University promised a concerted effort towards the following:

  • Competitive compensation • The big one. Rao said several times that he is aware that they’ve been unable to pay people what they truly deserve. They intend to announce a plan to reward those whose “contributions outpace their compensation.” “We can’t do everything we want to do,” said Rao, referring to the government funding VCU gets, “But we must do something.”
  • Eliminate obstacles to graduating • i.e. Put more classes online, so that students can move through VCU and hopefully graduate, “No matter where they are and where they learn.”
  • Invest in more general resources • Namely advising, counseling, safety, and spaces.
  • Double international student population • By the end of the decade. Rao didn’t elaborate on specific methods for doing so.
  • Expand partnerships with community colleges • Another part that didn’t get too much detail, but would benefit everyone all around.
  • Comprehensive fundraising campaign • Focusing on endowments and scholarships to help create the opportunities faculty need to excel and increase student access (like those online courses)
  • New budget model and investment managing system • One that’s specific to VCU and can allocate according to what’s best for the university.

With a rising undergraduate rate and a record number of freshmen (82%) enrolling in a full course load, VCU has to stay on top of its plan in order to keep up. Stay tuned, Richmonders, VCU fans, and haters alike!

Photo by: Gamma Man

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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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