The latest from President Rao

  • Featured video

    Welcome back: Fall 2014

    The president eagerly prepares for students to return to campus.

  • Featured video

    State of the University Address

    The president speaks to the university community in his inaugural State of the University Address.

  • Featured video

    Great Place Initiative

    The president introduces the Great Place Initiative to the VCU community.

Vision and goals

Virginia Commonwealth University’s strategic plan, Quest for Distinction, sets forth the vision for VCU to become the nation’s premier urban, public research university. It rests upon four themes that outline the university’s institutional priorities, strategies and initiatives.

A physics professor lectures in front of a class

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.

A professor works with a student in a lab

Theme 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.

A VCU Massey Center doctor talks with a bone marrow transplant patient

Theme III

Achieve national recognition as a fully integrated research university with a commitment to human health.

A child hugs a VCU School of Social Work student

Theme IV

Become a national model for community engagement and regional impact.

Graphic for more info

For more information, visit the VCU strategic plan website for the latest updates, implementation process and copies of the full Quest for Distinction document and executive summary.

Reports and initiatives

  • Graphic for the Quest for Distinction logo

    Quest for Distinction »

    Quest for Distinction — VCU’s strategic plan — embodies the university’s dedication to advancing knowledge and student success — a dual commitment that is exceptional among research universities.

  • Graphic for the 2013-14 Presidential Annual Report cover

    Presidential Annual Report »

    Read the latest annual report to learn how, all across the university, VCU broke records, set standards and achieved real successes that matter.

  • Graphic for the Grow by Degrees logo

    Grow by Degrees »

    Grow by Degrees is a statewide campaign that aims to expand job opportunities and economic growth in Virginia through reform-based reinvestment in the state’s higher education system. Priorities include awarding 100,000 more college degrees by 2025.

  • A Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology staff/faculty meeting

    Great Place Initiative »

    The Great Place Initiative aims to strengthen the human element upon which Quest for Distinction — VCU’s strategic plan — is based by focusing on aspects of benefits, culture, recognition and work/life balance within the framework of strong core values of civility and respect.

  • Graphic for the RamSmart campaign

    RamSmart »

    The RamSmart campaign steers the VCU community to a website that pools all of the university’s best resources related to safety, wellness and preparedness into one easily accessible area.

  • A stack of tables and charts

    University-level initiatives »

    University-level initiatives include student success, faculty/staff excellence, research and innovation, community impact, and resource accountability.

  • Numbers in an Excel spreadsheet

    Enterprise risk management »

    VCU’s enterprise risk management program is a comprehensive approach to identifying risks that could severely impact the university.

By the numbers

Icon graphic for a line chart $248m

in sponsored research

Icon graphic for a graduation cap 31,288

students enrolled

Icon graphic for a group of people 20,241


President’s posts Highlights from Dr. Rao’s blog

Decorated graduation cap during commencement

Celebrating our graduates

May 6, 2014

The weekend approaches quickly as the Virginia Commonwealth University spring class of 2014 — with more than 4,100 members — finishes final exams and culminating projects.

President Rao speaking at the State of the Universiy Address

State of the University Address

January 23, 2014

You are helping brighten VCU’s star on the national map. I had the great pleasure to deliver this message to the university community in today’s State of the University Address...

A classroom full of engaged students

Helping our students succeed

October 10, 2013

In the past several weeks, I have had the good fortune to attend several meetings with our students at which I have asked them to share their thoughts about what we are doing...

A photo of the VCU campus

One university with one vision

July 29, 2013

I am very proud that, as we continue to implement our Quest for Distinction strategic plan, Virginia Commonwealth University is one major university with one...