About the position
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) seeks as its next Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs an innovative and collaborative leader to advance a diverse, engaged and ambitious institution. The university and its academic health sciences center serve as one national urban public research institution dedicated to the success and well-being of its students, patients, faculty, staff and community.
The provost is the chief academic officer with oversight of the curricular, student life, and faculty affairs of the institution. The provost is the second-ranking executive officer at VCU and serves as the president’s partner in the articulation and execution of a compelling vision that builds on a history of excellence and access in higher education.
Virginia Commonwealth University is a Carnegie I Research University and a designated top 100 Research University by the National Science Foundation. Many of the universities, schools and colleges are among the top 100 in the U.S., including engineering, the arts, business and medicine. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Twenty-two of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges and a robust Division of Student Affairs to support student success and well-being. The VCU Health brand represents the health sciences schools of VCU, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU and MCV Physicians. Today, VCU serves an integral role in the economic health of the city of Richmond and the region by providing the highest quality education for the current and future workforce, advancing research across a broad range of academic disciplines and enhancing the translation of research to serve the needs of the Commonwealth and Nation. The university and its health system combined contribute more than $6 billion annually to the region’s economy and therefore plays a significant role in regional development and community planning.
The ideal candidate will hold a terminal degree and bring a distinguished academic record that merits appointment as a tenured full professor at VCU. In addition, the individual must have significant administrative experience appropriate to the size and complexity of VCU.
Inquiries, nominations and application materials should be directed to: Storbeck Search at email@example.com
The search is being supported by Susan VanGilder, Julie Tea and Beth McCarthy of Storbeck Search, who are a part of the Diversified Search Group. The search committee is comprised of:
The Provost reports directly to the President and partners closely with the President, the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences & CEO of the VCU Health System and other executive officers of the University in formulating the goals, priorities and policies of the Institution. They will work with the deans and all campus leadership to design and implement the programs, organizational structure, and resource distribution for the institution. Direct reports to the Provost include 12 campus Deans, the Vice President for Strategy, Enrollment Management and Student Success, the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, the Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, the Senior Vice Provost for Student Affairs, the Vice Provost for Life Sciences and Research, and the Executive Assistant to the Provost, as well as executive leadership of the Institute for Contemporary Art, Continuing and Professional Education, the Global Education Office, Online@VCU, Institutional Research and Decision Support, Academic Finance and Administration, Strategic Communications and the Office of the VCU Ombudsperson. The university's Chief Information Officer (Technology Services) and Vice President for Athletics are dotted line reports to the Provost.
Key opportunities and challenges
Serve as a voice for the University. As the second ranking official and chief academic officer of VCU, the Provost will represent the President in his absence and in doing so, represent a united vision for VCU. They will disseminate information to the campus community in a clear and thoughtful manner that empowers faculty, staff and students to fulfill the mission and achieve the strategic goals that position VCU as the premier urban public research university. The office will have oversight for the collection and analysis of academic and institutional data and must always deliver an evidence-based message, to all constituents in advancing institutional priorities. The Provost will stay abreast of issues relating to the State of Virginia and higher education as they impact the institution and disseminate that information as appropriate. In addition, they will engage in crisis and reputation management, addressing institutional challenges and clearly communicating those challenges and resolutions to both the campus community and external constituents.
Promote a culture of shared governance
The Provost must have a commitment to shared governance and be a consistent and vocal advocate for faculty, tapping into its great potential to advance research, creative endeavors, teaching, mentoring and service. They will work to promote a culture of transparency and collaboration across all constituencies by building consensus and trust in policy decisions that will advance institutional priorities. The Provost will offer decisive management after seeking input and valuing contributions from the campus community and will communicate a clear sense of direction, then advocate for and empower community members to advance priorities and the larger vision and goals of VCU. Foster an inclusive academic community.VCU takes pride in both its intentionally diverse community and its access mission which is designed to provide underserved populations, first-generation students and low-income families’ entree to an outstanding and transformational education through blind admission to the University. The institution has evolved to reflect the diverse city it calls home and the increasing diversity and complexity of the world. With a focus on equity and inclusion, the Provost will lead efforts to attract and retain students, faculty and staff who will contribute to the diversity of individuals and thought at VCU. In addition, they will cultivate an inclusive and supportive environment that enables and promotes all student success and full engagement in the academic enterprise. The provost must have also demonstrated executing thoughtful strategies to recruit, retain and develop underrepresented faculty and staff at VCU.
Advance One VCU
The leadership of VCU and the Health Science campus along with the boards of VCU and the Health System are committed to One VCU, an entity that emphasizes that together through integration, a greater level of success can be achieved. This is reflected in the development of one strategy that incorporates public relations and communications, research, fundraising, development, government relations, and audit and compliance. The Provost will partner with President Rao, the Senior Vice President of Health Sciences and CEO VCU Health System and other senior leadership to create opportunities that will have a greater impact on the success of the entire enterprise.
Support and grow funded research
Enhancing the University’s reach, impact and productivity in research, scholarship; creative activity, and outreach across the disciplines, with a particular focus on expanding VCU’s funded research portfolio, will be an important area of focus for the next Provost. Since President Rao’s arrival at VCU, funded research has increased by more than 60 percent. The Provost will continue this trajectory as VCU establishes itself as the premier urban public research university in the country. They will bring a holistic view of the research funding landscape and present a research program strategy that positions VCU for success in identification of funding opportunities and receipt of awards. The Provost will be an important partner to the Vice President of Research and Innovation and Deans to promote the VCU research agenda.
The Provost is expected to wisely and creatively allocate resources to achieve the academic mission of the University while also helping to develop additional resources to further the mission. In addition to managing the academic budget for the institution, they will actively engage in University-wide budget discussions and decisions and participate fully in fundraising and donor relations. They will work to create an environment where innovation and excellence are priorities in resource allocation. In addition, the Provost will drive discussions surrounding financial barriers that impact student access and persistence and work to ensure resources are available to support students in overcoming these barriers.
Inspire the deans and academic leadership
The Provost will serve as a cooperative and supportive partner to the University’s Deans in further integrating their efforts and encouraging synergies and partnerships across disciplines and colleges—while also allowing each academic unit the autonomy to create compelling opportunities and define success. The Provost will clearly outline the integrated role the Deans play in advancing the institutional agenda and define clear goals surrounding enrollments, fundraising and curriculum that will contribute to the larger University success. They will ensure alignment between the academic units and the University by providing consultative and transparent leadership and mentoring to the Deans on educational, organizational, resource management, fundraising and leadership agendas. In partnership with the Deans, the Provost will ensure learning and research infrastructure is in place to support the academic initiatives and priorities of VCU.
Focus on students
The Provost must bring a student-centric approach to their work and ensure all decisions are made with consideration given to student engagement, success and persistence. Addressing the unique barriers to retention and graduation for underrepresented students will be essential in increasing overall student outcomes. They will assure students have opportunities for learning, participation and leadership both in and out of the classroom. They must address crisis situations and student activism directly and swiftly, guiding conversation and seeking resolution. Integrating new technologies to strengthen learning opportunities and outcomes will be important as VCU expands delivery options. The Provost must provide direction and leadership support for the Division of Student Affairs which is tasked with supporting the academic mission of the university.
Experience and qualifications
The ideal candidate will hold a terminal degree and bring a distinguished academic record that merits appointment as a tenured full professor at VCU. In addition, the individual must have significant administrative experience appropriate to the size and complexity of VCU. Additionally, the next Provost will possess many of these skills and attributes needed to be an effective Provost at VCU.
Knowledge of the research/teaching environment in an urban public research University will require:
Experience in higher education and a vision for the future of urban public research universities will require:
Personal skills and values that result in effective leadership at VCU will require:
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Semi-finalist search committee interviews
Status: In progress
Status: Not started
With a total student population of more than 31,000, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is a public research university located in the capital city of Richmond, VA. The VCU Health System is an urban teaching hospital and is home to VCU Medical Center, the #1 ranked medical center in the Richmond metropolitan area with the only Level I trauma center in central Virginia. Together they make VCU the largest employer in the city of Richmond (22,888 including VCU and VCU Health employees).
Founded in 1838 and currently belonging to the elite group of R1 – Doctoral Universities with Highest Research Activity by Carnegie Classification, VCU enrolls students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 108 countries. Students choose from 59 undergraduate, 69 master’s, 42 doctoral programs, three first-professional programs and 44 certificate programs offered by 11 schools and three colleges. With two main campuses on 173 acres in the historic downtown area, as well as satellite campuses located across the state and internationally, VCU boasts a diverse campus community, including approximately 43 percent of the student body identifying as minority, as well as an 18:1 student-faculty ratio, and more than 500 student clubs and organizations.
One of the largest academic health centers in the nation with a 52-acre footprint one block from Capitol Square, VCU Health System also maintains over 2.5 million square feet of facilities in satellite locations surrounding the city, including research space at the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park. In addition to VCU Medical Center, the $3.2 billion health system includes Community Memorial Hospital, the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, the Virginia Premier Health Plan (a 220,000-member non-profit Managed Care Organization), and the MCV Physicians (a faculty practice plan with more than 700 members and 770 residents and fellows).