By hiring faculty teams with a variety of backgrounds to solve real challenges. Challenges related to education, empowerment, health disparities, and justice. Challenges identified by the communities these faculty teams will serve. It is just one way Virginia Commonwealth University is a model urban, public research university.
Four themes that drive iCubed.
- Broadening access to education for students of diverse backgrounds.
- Creating an inclusive environment for diverse faculty.
- Being a catalyst for connections within the university community and with the community at large.
- Fostering innovative research and solutions to societal problems across boundaries.
Why is this important work? Today more than 50 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas. By 2050, according to the United Nations, that percentage will increase to 70.
Four ways iCubed will lead.
VCU’s strategic plan, Quest for Distinction, outlines themes and goals related to hiring and retaining diverse, talented faculty and students, offering staff development and training opportunities, and establishing strong university-community partnerships. iCubed is collaborating with the offices of the President, Provost, Vice President for Health Sciences, and Research and Innovation; the Division for Inclusive Excellence; Human Resources; and the colleges, schools, and institutes and centers to administer the following:
- Cluster Hiring Initiative and Program will recruit a diverse cadre of faculty scholars to VCU each year in an effort to promote a highly inclusive academic context that fosters transdisciplinary collaborations in the redress of challenges that impact urban areas.
- Pathways to the Professoriate Program will establish formal relationships with historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions with high percentages of underrepresented minorities in STEM-H, in an effort to expand and enhance the pipeline of diverse pre- and postdoctoral scholars in critical areas of need at the university.
- Visiting Faculty Scholars Program will provide a forum for diverse scholars to engage in creative activity, public teaching and scholarship that explores the intersections of class, culture and race in urban contexts.
- Commonwealth Scholars Program will recruit talented freshman students from diverse backgrounds to participate in a learning community designed to engage them in applied, basic and community-based research, from their freshman through senior years.
VCU is primed to become a national model for diversity, inclusion and educational excellence among urban, public research universities in the U.S.
We are a national model for community-engaged research as exemplified by the 2014 C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award.
We have a successful track record in discovery and innovation, as exemplified by our distinctive academic programs and institutes and centers of excellence. We are one of only 28 public institutions with both a “Very High Research Activity” and a “Community Engaged” designation from the Carnegie Foundation.
We are a university that believes opportunities and excellence are not compromised — but are elevated — by diversity and access. Our programs, centers and institutes — led by talented faculty and students — have contributed significantly to our university’s premier status in Virginia over the past decade. They have helped to bring economic, health and social equity to the Richmond region.
Today, our capacity to develop promising solutions that enhance the vitality of urban communities rests in our ability to smartly grow, nurture and sustain the human and social capital of our academic programs, research institutes and centers. iCubed was conceived and inaugurated in the hope and need to carry on this tradition of excellence with a view specifically to inclusivity.