VCU Quest for Distinction: Success. Discovery. Impact.
Since its inception in 1968, Virginia Commonwealth University has marched toward this moment in its history — poised to take its place among the nation’s pre-eminent public universities in one of the most challenging times to face higher education.
VCU’s achievements under the most recent phase of its strategic plan¹ resulted in high regard for our nationally ranked academic programs and academic medical center, research and scholarly productivity, and engagement with the communities we serve.
This next phase of the strategic plan — VCU Quest for Distinction — embraces our vision as a premier urban, public research university focused on student success. It does so responsibly, with a renewed focus on how VCU will pursue excellence at every level even in the face of dwindling resources and increasing calls for accountability and demonstrable value for higher education.
VCU has demonstrated its intellectual and creative mettle to achieve the plan. In a difficult economic climate, VCU strengthened its position as a top-ranked urban, public research university and is listed by the Carnegie Foundation as a Research University – Very High Research Activity as well as a Community Engaged Institution, one of only 40 national public research universities that hold both distinctions. We will continue to strive toward improving our placement in the annual report of the Top American Research Universities and will hold ourselves accountable to the highest of standards in teaching, research, and service.
Our proposed plan, VCU Quest for Distinction, provides a strategic 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 programs an engaged community, and a growing alumni base. Our Quest for Distinction builds upon the achievements realized from the current strategic plan as we aspire to a future of heightened excellence. It is an aggressive call to focused action and will require a disciplined concentration on strategic priorities and a commitment to accountability through agreed upon measurements. Progress will be tracked annually with metrics associated with each of the 14 goals identified in the plan. In addition, we will utilize a select group of peer institutions to serve as external benchmarks of distinction.
The diversification and expansion of resources is a vital action required for the success of our new vision. Furthermore, the thoughtful deployment of resources in meeting the aspirational goals of the Quest for Distinction is essential in the current climate. We will ensure that the investment made by our students and their families goes hand-in-hand with a demonstrable institutional commitment to productivity, efficiency, and cost containment. Over the past five years, VCU has clearly demonstrated its commitment to cost containment and efficiency, and every effort will be made over the next six years to identify even more administrative efficiencies to streamline our efforts to help ensure the most meaningful education for all students.
The Quest for Distinction embodies VCU’s commitment to advancing knowledge and student success — a dual commitment that is exceptional among research universities. Our Quest sets the stage for VCU to become the pre-eminent urban, public research university.
¹VCU’s strategic plan is an ever evolving document providing guidance toward the current and future priorities. Phase 1 of the plan was called Strategic Plan for the Future of Virginia Commonwealth University (1993-1998); Phase II, Strategic Plan For the Future Phase II (1998-2006); Phase III, VCU 2020: Vision for Excellence (2006-2011); and Phase IV, VCU Quest for Distinction (2011-2017).