Attain preeminence 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
VCU has made great strides in increasing its profile as a major research university both in extramurally funded research and in scholarly and creative contributions across a broad spectrum of academic disciplines. Long recognized for excellence in the arts, social work, health sciences and medicine, the university is poised to reach greater heights in its research, scholarship, creative expression and clinical practice over the next six years.
With the initiation of the MCV Campus Strategic Research Initiative (SRI) in 2006, external funding and the amount of assigned square footage for research space increased significantly over the last five years. With a focus on oncology, the MCV Campus has significantly increased the number of cancer-focused researchers and has continued to invest in the Massey Cancer Center with the goal of achieving National Cancer Institute (NCI) Comprehensive Status. The emergence of core centers and institutes has provided an avenue for supporting further research growth in medicine and the health sciences.
However, recent economic trends have begun to erode federal grant funding capacity, creating an uncertain future that most likely will be characterized by reduced or flat federal support for research. It is imperative that VCU continue to diversify its research expenditures to include non-federal sources such as private foundations and corporate-sponsored research. While the MCV Campus has developed a comprehensive research plan, the Monroe Park Campus has not created a focused agenda for sponsored research and high level scholarship. It is imperative that the Monroe Park Campus develop a focused research plan that includes growth across a broad spectrum of academic disciplines.
The goals of Theme II have been developed against this backdrop of national concern and constrained resources. Embedded in Theme II is a mandate to the institution to consider and implement change in the academic administrative system to promote, support and enhance faculty research and scholarship. We must critically examine policies and practices and creatively address the urgency of sustaining and growing, wherever possible, our research activities to reach preeminence. In particular, we must enhance the structure that defines and supports faculty development. This will mean evaluating and modifying, if necessary, faculty appointment tracks, research expectations and metrics, and the process and timing of promotion and tenure. The landscape by which scholars are attracted to and retained at VCU is going to change, and we must meet the competitive challenges by optimizing our environment to enable faculty to conduct important and meaningful research and scholarship.
Theme II articulates four major goals designed to move VCU toward attaining preeminence as a learning-centered, urban, public research university. These goals are built upon values that affirm a balance between research and teaching and celebrate their interdependency at our institution. The goals revolve around current successes in our research and scholarship and are grounded in unprecedented strategic research planning across the institution. First, to achieve the goals it will be necessary to recruit research-focused deans, department chairs and faculty at every available opportunity in the next six years. Second, it is essential to the vitality of the university research enterprise to continue the institutional support of the Strategic Research Initiative. The success to date of the SRI makes this support critical to broadening the research enterprise of the institution. Finally, this theme mandates the development of campus- and school-based strategic research plans across the entire university.
All university strategic research planning should be grounded in the goals of this theme. Further, strategic research plans must embrace these guiding principles. In particular, strategic research plans should consider mechanisms to enhance interdisciplinary research as well as to develop and retain faculty who conduct high impact scholarship.
Theme II – Goals, metrics and initiatives
|Goals||Metrics||Illustrative university initiatives|
|II.A||Contribute to the discovery of new knowledge and the advancement of clinical applications by increasing and diversifying the university’s sponsored research||
|II.B||Increase university-wide productivity in high impact research, scholarship and creative expression||
|II.C||Grow the next generation of researchers and scholars who will focus on the discovery of new knowledge and the advancement of clinical applications||
|II.D||Increase the commercialization of intellectual property and university-based technologies to advance innovation and economic development||