Our vision

The road to being the premier urban, public research university

Quest for Distinction strategic plan embodies Virginia Commonwealth University’s commitment to advancing knowledge and student success — a dual commitment that is distinctive among research universities.

Our strategic plan continues to provide a framework for capitalizing on the outstanding assets that form the VCU experience — a commitment to educational quality, an environment that embraces diversity, an evolving research program with substantial increases in extramural funding, pre-eminent academic programs, an engaged community and a growing alumni base.

Refocused themes and goals 2015-17 

Click here to download a PDF version. 

Theme I

Become a leader among national research universities in providing all students with high-quality learning/living experiences focused on inquiry, discovery and innovation in a global environment

Goals and strategies:

  1. Recruit and retain talented and diverse students who will graduate at a higher rate than our Quest peers and serve as leaders in a well-educated workforce
    1. Providing the full range of 21st century advising infrastructure and tools
    2. Enhancing undergraduate degree progression
    3. Expanding our investment in financial aid and support programs
    4. Ensuring high impact educational experiences for all students
  2. Recruit and retain progressive and diverse faculty, staff and senior leadership with the skills and talents to advance quality teaching and learning, along with high-impact research, scholarship and creative expression
    1. Strategic investment in selected high-quality academic programs to strengthen their national prominence
    2. Selective investment in academic programs, institutes and centers that focus on challenges in urban environments
    3. Development and investment in infrastructure and activities for faculty and staff that value institutional goals of diversity, excellence and continuous improvement

Theme II*

Attain distinction as a fully integrated urban, public research university through contributions in human health, research, scholarship and creative expression that advance knowledge and enhance the quality of life

Goals and strategies: 

  1. Increase high-impact research, scholarship and creative expression
    1. Improving infrastructure for patent filing
    2. Increasing the number of faculty nominated for membership in national academies
  2. Grow and support the next generation of researchers, artists and scholars who will focus on the discovery of new knowledge that advances the human experience and quality of life
    1. Grow training-specific resources through the mechanisms of extramural training grants
  3. Increase interdisciplinary research and interprofessional education, scholarship and practice among arts, humanities and sciences
    1. Expanding and enhancing the contribution of institutes and centers (ICs) to VCU’s research enterprise
    2. Maintaining the regional and national distinctiveness of VCU research
    3. Enhancing the infrastructure to leverage industry funding

*This revised theme integrates original Themes II (Attain pre-eminence as an urban, public research university by making contributions in research, scholarship, creative expression and clinical practice to advance knowledge and enhance the quality of life) and III (Achieve national recognition as a fully integrated research university with a commitment to human health).

Theme III

Become a national model for community engagement and regional impact

Goals and strategies: 

  1. Advance focused and strategic university-community engagement that addresses critical needs and opportunities in the region
    1. Leveraging university strengths and assets and address community-identified needs and opportunities
    2. Ensuring all students have access to innovation/entrepreneurial pathways that support regional economic development, cultural vitality or community well-being
  2. Leverage the efforts of our students, faculty and staff to enhance, integrate and disseminate community-engaged scholarship, student service-learning opportunities and outreach
    1. Embed, support and promote community engagement within university cultures, practices and structures