Team Projects

Each year, VCU Leadership Development Program participants develop a project where they work in assigned teams to address issues of current importance to the University community that align with the University Strategic Plan. Together with a team sponsor from upper administration, these teams develop a project to be carried out at various levels of the University. The interdisciplinary nature of the teams provides excellent opportunities for learning new perspectives and networking across campuses. Project teams also provide a venue for applying new skills, developing creative strategies for solving problems, as well as a laboratory for working on diverse teams. Many of these projects have gone on to be implemented into successful University programs. 

VCU Leadership Development Program team projects focus on capitalizing on:

  • The outstanding assets of the VCU experience that truly distinguishes us as a major research university committed to academic quality and student success (Quest for Distinction, 2011);
  • Our will to innovate better, faster and with greater focus than our peers around the nation; and
  • Our will to stay true to our roots of discovery in science, scholarship and creative expression to unfailingly serve the public good

"...as we rise as a preeminent urban, public research university, committed to advancing equitable access to social, economic and health success."  (Quest 2025, 2018).   

 VCU Quest 2025 focuses on four major themes: 

  • Theme I: Student Success - Transform the lives of our distinctive and diverse student population through a university culture that supports every student’s success through inquiry, discovery, innovation, civic engagement, and creative expression.
  • Theme II: National Prominence - Distinguish VCU as a preeminent urban public research university by growing areas of strength as researchers, educators and innovators.
  • Theme III: Collective Urban and Regional Transformation - Mobilize VCU's human capital and economic resources, collaborating with the community to address social and health inequities.
  • Theme IV: Diversity Driving Excellence - Translate our value philosophy of diversity and inclusion into practices related to excellence and success.

2020 Team Project Presentations

Friday, October 9, 2020

Team Bridge Builders

Members
Ilvy Cotterell, Assistant Professor, School of Medicine
Collin Cox, Administrative Coordinator, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
Parthenia Dinora, Associate Director of Partnership for People with Disabilities, School of Education
Zachary Hilpert, Interim Director of Interdisciplinary Studies, University College
Veronica King, Executive Director of Payroll and Tax Services, University Controller's Office
Carmen Rodriguez, Associate Professor, College of Humanities and Sciences
Alexis Shockley, Art Specialist, VCU Health System

Team Sponsor
Thomas Briggs
, Assistant Vice President for Safety and Risk Management, Division of Administration

Team Gap Busters

Members
Mary Fain, Project Manager & Process Engineer, VCU Health System
Nicholas Georges, University Development Officer, Office of Development and Alumni Relations
Janina Golob Deeb, Associate Professor, School of Dentistry
Lisa Mathews-Ailsworth, Advisor, Division of Student Affairs
Rita Shiang, Associate Professor & Graduate School Director, School of Medicine
Patrick Smith, Associate Professor, School of the Arts

Team Sponsor
Maggie Tolan
, Senior Associate Vice Provost of Student Success, Office of the Provost

Team VCU Connect

Members
Jason Jacobus, Infrastructure Team Lead, Division of Administration
Amy LuteroAssistant Director of Post Award Manangement, Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation
Mary Peace McRae, Assistant Professor, School of Dentistry
Shravan Renapurkar, Assistant Professor, School of Dentistry
Kristin Richardson, Executive Director of Prospect Development, Office of Development and Alumni Relations
Christian Wernz, Associate Professor, College of Health Professions
Tonka Williams, Director of Nursing Medicine, VCU Health System 

Team Sponsor
Marcus Messner, Director, Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture

Team Transformers

Members
Katherine Donowitz, Fellow, Children's Hospital of Richmond
Carole Ivey, Associate Professor and Interim Chair, College of Health Professions  
Aniket Jadhav, Associate Professor, School of Dentistry
Marcel Jennings, Assistant Professor and Interim Associate Director, Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture
Emily Lillley, Administrator, Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation
Patricia Sobczak, Librarian, VCU Libraries
Tammy Williams, Clinical Assistant Professor & Undergraduate Program Director, School of Nursing 

Team Sponsor
Paula Otto, Senior Director of Special Projects, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

VCU In Motion

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From 2015-2018 there were 84 pedestrian accidents on the ONE VCU campus with 1 fatality. This project is designed to increase awareness of the risks to pedestrian safety on campus through eye catching street decals that focus pedestrian attention to “Stop, Look, Listen” at busy intersections and to educate the ONE VCU community of their responsibilities as pedestrians, through brief learning modules that will lead to a reduction of fatalities and accidents.

Members
Renee Adams, Clinical Transformation Support Specialist, VCU Health System
Tracey Dawson Cruz, Professor, College of Humanities and Sciences
John Glover, Humanities Research Librarian, VCU Libraries
Brianne Jackson, Instructional Designer, Online@VCU
Mark Marinello, Medical Director, VCU Health System
Rashmi Pershad, Associate Director of Research Administration, Training, and Compliance, School of Medicine
James Wasilewski, Director of Development, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs 

Team Sponsor
John Venuti
, Associate Vice President for Public Safety

One VCU Art

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One VCU Art generates dynamic rotating temporary public art installations. At its heart is a VCU public art curator, assisted by key university area representatives who identify inclusive meaningful transdisciplinary collaborations that both inform and directly engage commissions. The public art installations elevate VCU’s contributions to Richmond and building meaningful engagement. As the number one public art school in the nation, VCU has the unique opportunity to show leadership and making the true power of art real.

Members
Jeff Eastman, University Planner, Facilities Management
Soundarya Gowda, Associate Professor, School of Medicine
Elaine Reeder, Instructional Designer, ALT Lab
India Sisler, Associate Professor, School of Medicine
Claudia Testa, Professor, School of Medicine
Matthew Wallin, Associate Professor, School of the Arts

Team Sponsor
Dominic Willsdon
, Executive Director, Institute for Contemporary Art

Expanding First Generation Student Support Services at VCU

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One third of Freshmen at VCU are first-generation. Strategic Enrollment Management has spearheaded programming for this target group, resulting in increased retention and quicker adjustment to campus life for existing participants. The innovative nature of this program and its record of success warrants increased investment. Building upon the YouFirst program, the new initiated FirstGen faculty network will champion the success of first generation students at VCU, expanding the university’s national recognition and extraordinary capacity for growth.

Members
Megan CoeFellow Physician, VCU Health System
Becky DurfeeAssociate Chair, College of Humanities and Sciences
Jessica LauxDirector, Risk Management, Division of Administration
Milos Manic, Professor, College of Engineering
Kristin Reed, Associate Professor, University College
Wei Zhang, Professor, College of Engineering 

Team Sponsor
Tomikia LeGrande, Vice Provost for Strategic Enrollment Management

Mind Your Meds: Safe Opioid Disposal Awareness

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On average, over 2/3 of opioid prescriptions are leftover and lead to later misuse or abuse. To help combat the nationwide opioid crisis, the Mission Possible GEHLI team of 2019 seeks to promote awareness of safe opioid disposal to VCU and its surrounding community. This will be accomplished by educating providers in the VCU Health system and spreading the knowledge to VCU patients, students, faculty, staff, and citizens within our community.

Members
Mary Ann Davies, Director of Strategic Account Services, Division of University Relations 
Jenny Fox, Assistant Professor of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, School of Medicine  
Kenneth Johnson, Clinical Transformation Support Specialist, VCU Health System
Jenn Papenfuse, Senior Director of Stewardship Programs, Office of Development and Alumni Relations  
Michelle Schmitt, Director and Assistant Professor, School of Education
Shijun Zhang, Associate Professor, School of Pharmacy 
Lori Zoghby, Practice Manager, School of Dentistry 

Team Sponsor
Omar Abubaker, Chair, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, School of Dentistry

RAMS Research Maker-Space

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RAMS Research Maker-Space is an online platform that aims to strengthen the research collaboration infrastructure across both campuses and to facilitate innovative partnerships inside and outside of VCU. Designed as an open access, resource rich maker-space, it promotes creativity, inclusion, and trans-disciplinary research and scholarship.

Members
Leila Brinegar, Assistant Dean for Curriculum, School of Medicine
Ashley Carroll, Associate Professor, VCU Health System 
Stephanie Hart, Service Center Director of Operations, College of Humanities and Sciences
Larry Medina, Real Estate Asset Manager, Division of Administration
Elicia Preslan, IRB Operations Qa/QI Manager, Office of Research and Innovation
Melissa Throckmorton, Coordinator of Research Development Services, Office of Research and Innovation
Jeffery Wilson, Associate Professor, School of Education 

Team Sponsor
Garret Westlake
, Executive Director, VCU da Vinci Center 

VCU Brew

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VCU Brew is an innovative proposal to create a signature beer to represent VCU. The Campus Connectors will present a business plan that describes opportunities for distribution at VCU athletic and community events, potential revenues to benefit VCU scholarships, and experiential learning by engaging VCU students in product development, branding, labeling and marketing. Members of VCU Ram Nation (21+) can enjoy a sample of VCU Brew, created in collaboration with a local craft brewery. 

Members 
Denise Bullock, Talent Management, VCU Health System
Lauren Dunn, Social Worker, VCU Health System
Brian Fowlkes, Director, Foundation Services, VCU Finance
Hermine Maes, Associate Professor, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics
Elizabeth Marlowe, PCM Education Director, School of Medicine
Fernando Tenjo-Fernandez, Associate Professor, College of Humanities and Sciences
Zakia Williams, Administrative Assistant, School of Education  

Team Sponsor
Ed McLaughlin, Vice President & Director of Athletics 

Mental Health First Aid for VCU Faculty and Staff

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The Mental Health First Aid program offers professional development opportunities for VCU faculty and staff to receive training to better assist those who may be living with mental health, and provide self-care. This program will provides VCU an opportunity to become a leader in establishing health work environment that address the needs and concerns of all faculty, staff and students. VCU faculty and staff will be better equipped to recognize and find help for their colleagues. This program is consistent with other programs such as Safe Zone, Green Zone which have helped open doors to address issues within the LGBTQ population and military veterans in the VCU community.

Members
Roy Brown
, Research and Education Librarian, VCU Libraries
Kendra Gerlach, Director of Communications and Marketing, College of Engineering
Cristen Jandreau, Assistant Director, Office of Research and Innovation
Jennifer Lee, Assistant Director, Student Success
Anne Massey, Director of Projects and Program Planning, Office of Health Innovation
Jennifer Tennison, Enrolled Graduate Student Services Coordinator, VCU Graduate School
Peter Uetz, Associate Professor, VCU Life Sciences

Team sponsor
Michelle Schmitt
, Assistant Professor and Director of the Center for School-Community Collaboration, School of Education

RAM Opportunity

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RAM (Research Assistance through Mentoring) is a self-sustaining mentoring and experiential learning program designed to serve high school students in the local community. Partnerships will be established with local high schools and to develop a pipeline for potential students who will be paired up with graduate students, who will provide mentorship and guidance throughout the program. RAM’s focus on high school students opens new pathways to develop student skills, interest in postsecondary education, and creates networks and connections that bolster their chances of success. The program creates outreach and engagement within the community by creating a relationship with schools that encourage interest in postsecondary education and provides access to VCU resources to both graduate and high school students to develop skills in research and career development.

Members
Jaycee Dempsey,
 Senior Integrity and Compliance Specialist, Audit and Compliance Services
Kathy Gabriel, Assistant Director, Office of Research and Innovation
Sara Kohout, Director of University Academic Advision, Division of Strategic Enrollment
Joshua Mathews-Ailsworth, Information Services Manager, VCU Health System
Ben Plache, Director of Advising, Honors College
Sally Santen, Senior Associate Dean and Professor, School of Medicine
Devanand Sarkar, Professor of Human and Molecular Genetics and Associate Director of Education and Training, Massey Cancer Center

Team sponsor
F. Douglas Boudinot
, Dean, VCU Graduate School

RamStart

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RamStart provides pre-semester orientation workshops for new students granted accommodations through the office of Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity. These orientation workshops provide students and their families with tools for transitioning into the VCU community and self-advocacy. These tools include knowledge on SAEO services and responsibilities, FERPA, campus resources, and the University’s policies and procedures to improve their chances of success. Ramstart will also facilitate student ambassadors and peer mentors from the Emerging Leaders Program working with students with SAEO accommodations through monthly social gatherings to encourage and support integration into campus life and the larger VCU community.

Members
Marc Aiello, financial Analyst, Office of Budget and Resource Analysis
Justin Alexander, Interim Chair and Assistant Professor, School of the Arts
Marie Greenwood, Director of Human Resources, VCU Health System
Jeannetta Hollins, Director of Student Services, School of Nursing
Melissa Johnson, Chair and Associate Professor, University College
Lukasz Kurgan, Vice Chair and Professor, College of Engineering
Chris Mowery, Undergraduate Program Director and Assistant Professor, College of Humanities and Sciences
Grace Palmer, Senior Performance Improvement Coordinator, VCU Health System

Team sponsor
Ian Kunkes,
 Director, Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity office

Project C.O.R.E.

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Project C.O.R.E. (Coaching Opportunities with Real Experiences) is proposed as a sophomore focused program that builds upon an existing freshman course on professional development for Men of Color (MOC). Project C.O.R.E. aims to increase university retention by expanding the student support network to members of the local community.

Members
Elizabeth Bambacus,
 Student Engagement and Summer Studies Administrator, Division of Strategic Enrollment
Lee Franco, Associate Chair and Assistant Professor, College of Humanities and Sciences
Melissa Hopkins, Finance and Business Manager, School of Medicine
Marcus Messner, Associate Director of the Robertson School and Associate Professor, College of Humanities and Sciences
Cheryl Slokker, Marketing and Communications Manager, School of Business
Alison Ullman, Fellow and Physician, School of Medicine
Jon Waybright, Instructor, College of Humanities and Sciences

Team sponsor
Erin-Marie Brown,
 Director of ASPiRE, Division of Community Engagement

Ram Essentials (formerly Food Foward @ VCU)

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The underlying causes of food insecurity are complex and often intertwined with related issues that affect a student’s ability to meet even basic needs, forcing them to choose between their well-being and their education. Ram Essentials is a holistic approach to addressing basic needs
 insecurity among VCU students by asking the question, "What is essential for our students to be successful?" The project focuses on raising the awareness of all existing VCU resources and disseminating them widely through a single, user-friendly portal to enhance students’ experience, academic achievement and physical and mental well-being.  

Members
Sompop Bencharit,
 Director of Digital Dentistry and Associate Professor, School of Dentistry
Cait Burns, Assistant Director of Student and Corporate Engagement, School of Business
Kristen Caldwell, Associate Director of Development and Alumni Marketing and Communications, Office of Development and Alumni Relations
Muthoni Imungi, Director of Field Education and Assistant Professor, School of Social Work
Matt Lovisa, Director of Communications and Marketing, Division of Student Affairs
Magda Morgan, Licensing Associate, Office of Research and Innovation
Bert Waters, Assistant Director of Virginia Center on Aging and Assistant Professor, College of Health Professions

Team sponsor
Erin Stanforth
, Director of Sustainability, Office of Sustainability

Care Works: Come Home for Care

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Team Care Works completed a comparative review of health and wellness related employee-specific benefits to determine how VCU might enhance its benefits through initiatives such as on-site medical clinics, prioritized appointments, telehealth, and on-site pharmacies. Informed by the comparative analysis, Team CareWorks will provide recommendations that VCU can use to: capitalize on the integrated relationship with VCU Health to enrich the health and wellness of its outstanding assets (the employees); and provide enhanced benefits to employees by making VCU Health more easily accessible and more appealing as a Medical Home.

Members
Valerie Coleman, RN Clinician and Program Director, VCU Health System
Kenneth Warren Foster
, Assistant Professor and Instructional Technologist, School of Medicine
Katherine Haydon, Senior Director of Development, School of Nursing
Hanna Navarrete, Program Coordinator, School of Engineering
Alexandra Reckendorf, Associate Chair of Political Science, College of Humanities and Sciences
Michelle Stickler, Executive Director, Office of Research Subjects Protection
Josh Van Dyck, Associate Director, Office of Procurement Services

Sponsor
Paul Wesolowski
, Chief Operating Officer, VCU Health System

Brain Trust: Students for Students: VCU to RPS Mentorship Program

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The Students for Students: VCU to RPS Mentorship Program will connect current VCU students to current RPS freshmen through a formal, multi-year mentorship. The ultimate goal of this program is to support and positively influence RPS high school students by motivating them to improve performance in school, graduate on time, and craft a post-high school graduation path.

Members
Diana Burkett, Director of Communications and Enrollment Management, School of Education
Laura Morgan, Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Education, School of Pharmacy
Thomas Gresham, Assistant Director of News Operations, University Public Affairs
Courtney Harris, Assistant Professor and Chair of Department of Dance and Choreography, School of the Arts
Mark Meadows, Director of Enrollment, School of Engineering
Susan White, Administrator, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
Tiffany Williams, Assistant Professor and Director of Pre-Doctoral Education, School of Dentistry

Sponsor
Lynn Pelco
, Associate Vice Provost, Office of Community Engagement

Rebels with a Cause: VCU Student Emergency Fund

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The VCU Student Emergency Fund is designed to support the well-being of students who face financial emergencies and to increase student retention and academic success. The fund will provide financial relief to students facing sudden and unexpected financial hardships that can impact their ability to remain enrolled and graduate. This project provides (1) a campus outreach plan to encourage community donations and assist with recognition and referral of students in financial crises to the fund's administrators and (2) a donor outreach plan to support the work of development personnel who will raise money for the fund.

Members
Brian Canaday, Director of Academic Technology, School of Pharmacy
Julie Gorlewski
, Associate Professor and Chair of Department of Teaching and Learning, School of Education
Courtenay Leahman
, Director and Interim Division Director, VCU Health System 
Kimberly Lewis
, Program Coordinator, Virginia Coordinated Care
Hillary Miller
, Librarian, VCU Libraries
Jaime Petrasek
, Program Manager, School of Social Work
Eileen Truax
, Contract Administrator, Facilities Management

Sponsor
Kyle Dailey
, Associate Dean of Students, Division of Student Affairs

Team 4 VCU: Ram Resources: Helping Faculty Help Students

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This project seeks to meet the needs of VCU students by providing an environment that encourages well-being and connects struggling students with needed resources to succeed in their academic careers. The Ram Resources Project will help reduce the detrimental impact of academic performance related stress by: (a) developing a module for presentation at new faculty orientation; (2) creating a resource brochure and an easy to navigate online platform of available resources; and (3) developing a program of faculty ambassadors to serve as a department contact to help faculty help students with stress.

Members
Pemra Cetin, Assistant Dean, School of Medicine
Winnie Chan, Associate Professor, College of Humanities and Sciences
Deborah DiazGranados, Assistant Professor, School of Medicine
Quinton Johnson, Director of Export Compliance, Office of Research and Innovation
Donna Patterson, Systems Administrator, Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU
Margaret Price, Director, University Relations
Cheri Stickels, Executive Assistant and AVP for Public Safety, VCU Police

Sponsor
Linda Hancock
, Clinician and Director, Wellness Resource Center

RamPantry: A Model for Sustainability

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The VCU RamPantry: Sustainability project’s mission is to develop a comprehensive system to foster a sustainable food pantry model which will reduce food insecurity among VCU students. Food insecurity can affect anyone, whether they are an on-campus student who has run out of meal swipes or an off-campus student who is facing a financially challenging time. Food insecurity may cause anxiety, depression, poor judgment, and may lead to larger problems related to physical health due to lack of nutrition. All of these factors can negatively impact student retention. A sustainable food pantry can mitigate these risks by providing basic food items to students in need.

There is a community need for such a program, but the need for this service is greater than what the current RamPantry structure can support. For this project, our team will present a 3-year proposed plan which will include: seeking to find a more permanent location for the organization; assisting with development of operations and procedural manuals; and creating development strategy to increase donations while bringing this need to the attention of the Richmond community. While there are many VCU students who can benefit from RamPantry, we also have many community members who can contribute in a number of ways including the use of Volunteer Service/Community Service leave and hosting departmental food drives.

Members
Carrie Connolly
, Assistant Dean, Honors College
TyRuben Ellingson
, Assistant Chair, Communication Arts
Nathan Hanger
, Creative Director, University Marketing
Laura Napky
, Executive Assistant, School of Social Work
Stephanie Nickerson
, Senior IT Auditor, Audit & Compliance Services
Quamrun Masuda
, Assistant Director, Pharmaceutics
Kasey Mattison
, Assistant Director, Student-Athlete Support Services

Sponsor
Mitzi Lee
, Director of Real Estate Services, FM Real Estate Services

Real Voices, Real Questions, Real Engagement: VCU Speaker Series

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You come here for something more than schooling. You come here for deep education and deep education is about learning how to die so that you learn how to live because when you examine certain assumptions that you have, certain presuppositions that you’re holding on to, when you let them go, that’s a form of death. And there’s no growth, there’s no development, there’s no maturation without learning how to die and giving up certain dogma, giving up certain doctrine.

- Cornel West, Ph.D., VCU Siegel Center, Fall 2015

VCU is a large, public, urban research university situated in the middle of a capital city. Its faculty, staff, student body, alumni, and the surrounding community are remarkably diverse as are the academic offerings. It is, and should be viewed as, the intellectual and cultural engine of the region.  Our project proposes the creation of a large-scale, high-profile speaker series designed to highlight emerging trends and provide students, faculty, staff, alumni and the Richmond community with a forum for conversation.  The speaker series will cover topics that are critically engaging, have national relevance, and introduce ideas that propel the next generation of leaders. In addition to a large speaking engagement, the speaker series will also incorporate other activities to cultivate interactions and build relationships such as classroom lectures, book signings, and a dinner through the development office.

The speaker series will host at least one speaker annually, with the addition of a second speaker as the event builds momentum. At least one of the lectures will occur at the beginning of the traditional academic semester, allowing for the greatest opportunity for participation across VCU and Richmond. Internal support from VCU students, faculty, staff, and colleges will ensure that the project is connected to the mission, vision, goals, and pursuits of VCU. A speaker series committee will help sustain and coordinate efforts across the university and community. Committee members will include stakeholders that require buy-in and cooperation for activities that complement the speaker series (e.g., other lectures, panel discussions, classroom activities). A survey will be used to gain insights into topics and speakers of interest. The committee will review the survey responses in order to make informed decisions during the planning process.

The ongoing presence of hosting influential speakers will allow VCU to emerge into the national spotlight as thought-leaders. This speaker series will serve many purposes. First, the series will serve to inspire VCU students, faculty, staff, and the Richmond. Through frank and open conversations attendees will be exposed to new concepts and ideas. Second, the series will unite the diverse groups that make up VCU and the Richmond community. The lecture series will expose attendees to new ideas and open doors for possible opportunities for collaboration through classroom and community engagement activities related to the topics discussed. Third, the series will serve as a cultural conduit, solidly connecting the VCU and Richmond communities around engaging ideas of importance. Opening a new market-place of ideas will ensure that the students of VCU interact with new information in exciting and transformative ways.

Members
Nital Appelbaum, Assistant Professor, Office of Assessment and Evaluation Studies, VCU School of Medicine
Suzanne Fairman, Coordinator of Operations, Office of Learning Innovation and Student Success, Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Emily Hurst, Head, Research and Education, VCU Libraries
Danielle Parker-Mangum, GME Operations Manager, Graduate Medical Education, VCU Medical Center
Ravi Perry, Associate Professor, Political Science, College of Humanities and Sciences
Juliana Rasnic, Director of Student Services, Office of Student Services, Associate Dean’s Office
Daniel Woodward, Director, Executive Communication, VP University Relations

Sponsor
Marti Heil, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations

RAMSTRONG: An Employee Wellness Initiative (formerly titled Great Place Project)

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The RAMSTRONG project’s mission is to create a mobile website accessible online and through the VCU Mobile app that provides VCU employees with user-friendly, accessible resources to support their holistic well-being.

The RAMSTRONG project seeks to meet three basic needs. First, while VCU and the Greater Richmond area offer a plethora of resources to promote health, information about these resources is not readily accessible, and especially not accessible from one website or mobile app. RAMSTRONG aims to provide an accessible means for employees to learn about and take advantage of these resources. Second, while a growing body of scientific literature indicates employer sponsored health promotion programs increase job satisfaction, productivity, and retention, these programs are only effective if they are utilized. RAMSTRONG aims to increase their utilization by promoting awareness of their availability. Third, our society invests a substantial sum of resources to the care of those suffering from injury and illness and less to promoting our health and well-being. The RAMSTRONG project is motivated by a vision of a society that invests significantly in the promotion of wellness so as to reduce the incidence of injury and illness and to increase the prevalence of personal and social satisfaction at work and in life.

Our model for the RAMSTRONG app draws from the public health concept of the Wheel of Wellness, which specifies eight interrelated and interdependent dimensions of health: emotional, environmental, financial, social, spiritual, occupational, physical, and intellectual. When a person can demonstrate strength and well-being in each of these areas, they are more productive and receive greater satisfaction in life. Universities, including Princeton University, that have implemented similar website resources and the National Wellness Institute define wellness as “an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence”. Our RAMSTRONG website and mobile app will provide employees with an efficient, friendly means for becoming aware of campus and community resources and making choices that actively contribute to individual and community well-being in each of the eight dimensions. It is our hope that with the implementation of this project, VCU employees will have the resources to take charge of their wellness in each dimension and become RAMSTRONG. 

Members
Teraya Donaldson, Assistant Director of Education, Office of Research
Tina Hamlet, Associate Administrator, VCU Health System
Lucy Hudson, Department Administrator and Assistant to the Chair, College of Humanities and Sciences
Will Martin, Sr. Real Estate Manager, Real Estate Services
Anjum Shah, Assistant Professor, School of Dentistry
Mark Wood, Director, College of Humanities and Sciences
Lynanne Yndestad, Director, Division of Strategic Enrollment Management

Sponsors
Cathleen Burke, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources
Tammy Jackson, Organizational Culture Admin, Human Resources

Valuing Adjuncts as Liaisons for University Excellence (VALUE) Program

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Adjuncts are increasingly becoming more important in higher education and make up nearly one-third of VCU’s teaching faculty. While VCU has made strides in increasing the number of tenure-track and term professors, the size and needs of certain departments will always make adjunct instructors necessary. A number of schools on both the Monroe Park and MCV campuses utilize professionals from the Richmond community to enhance experiential learning, thereby making a university investment in adjunct faculty a means by which to elevate VCU’s strategic mission. Adjuncts often provide a community perspective that comes from the professional work they do outside of the university setting and as a whole are reflective of VCU’s diverse student population. As a result, they serve a critical role in student success and diversity initiatives. Keeping adjuncts connected with campus resources and engaged with the larger VCU community is also an important step in making the university more inclusive. This project will study opportunities associated with the orientation and support of adjunct faculty at VCU on both Monroe Park and MCV campuses.

This project is research-oriented and will serve as an important foundation for developing and implementing a plan for institutionalized adjunct support. To develop a detailed proposal for implementation, our team consulted with several key stakeholders including:

  • academic leaders who hire and support adjuncts in the current decentralized process
  • students who have taken classes with adjunct instructors
  • adjunct faculty who have recently taught at VCU

Through a combination of methods, we aim to determine how adjuncts are utilized across the university, identify resources currently provided, and assess additional resource needs in an effort to inform a new orientation and support program for adjunct faculty at VCU.

Members
Erin Brown, VCU ASPiRE Director, Division of Community Engagement
Alaina Campbell, Instructor and Director of Undergraduate Student Advising, Department of Biology
Christal Holmes, Assistant Director for Admissions Communications, Office of Admissions
Deborah McGuire, Associate Dean for Research, Scholarship, and Innovation, and Professor, School of Nursing
Miki Skinner, Staff Psychologist, University Counseling Services
Paula Spencer, RAM Care Program Manager, VCU Health System

Sponsor
Timothy Davey, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Recruitment and Retention, Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

RAM$mart Financial Wellness for Health Profession Students

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College students today are graduating with more debt than ever before. As such, it is critical that our graduates are equipped with the right skills and frame of mind to manage their finances. This includes understanding their income, taxes, and expenses; managing debt; budgeting; saving; and retirement planning. Money management can be intimidating for anyone, regardless of background or education. While online resources are made available to our students, these resources are often overlooked, and do not necessarily set out to engage students or address the issues they may face in a convincing or compelling way.

Most of the financial resources easily accessible on the web and on VCU’s sites are intended for undergraduate students. However, graduate students and in particular students in the health sciences professional programs (medicine, dentistry, pharmacy) can accrue a tremendous amount of debt, but are not exposed to as many mandatory or voluntary budgeting and financial resources.
The RAM$mart Financial Wellness Program is a set of online modules that will allow students the opportunity to learn the basic principles of money and debt management. We are focusing this phase on professional students in the Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, and Dentistry, with the intent to engage the whole VCU student population in the future. The RAM$mart Financial Wellness Program will include modules on a variety of money management topics designed to get the attention of students and to provide them with practical steps they can take at the beginning of, and throughout, their graduate professional education to minimize debt accumulation. There will also be modules designed to inform students of various loan payback options upon their degree completion, and of available community and online financial resources.
Through attention-grabbing and entertaining modules, including such things as humorous video snippets and interactive questions, students’ awareness of budgeting and financial responsibility will increase significantly.

Members
Marquita Aguilar, Director, H & S Great Place Initiative, College of Humanities and Sciences
Cheryle Caplinger, Director, Marketing and Communications, School of Engineering
Dave Dixon, Assistant Professor and Vice-Chair for Clinical Services, Department of Pharmacotherapy & Outcomes Science, School of Pharmacy
Micol Hutchison, Instructor, Focused Inquiry, University College
Christiana Lafazani, Interim Department Chair, VCU School of the Arts
Jenifer Murphy, Patient Safety Manager, Performance Management, VCU Medical Center
Ashlie Tseng, Pediatric Hospital Medicine Fellow, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, VCU Medical Center

Sponsor
Marc Vernon, Executive Director, Office of Financial Aid, Office of Strategic Enrollment Management

Retention and Mentoring (RAM) Initiative

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The RAM Initiative's project focus is retention of excellent faculty and staff, particularly from underrepresented groups, so VCU can continue to deliver a premium higher education to a diverse student body. The national economic travails of recent years created numerous challenges for VCU, among them salary compression, compromising the university's ability to retain some excellent faculty and staff. Complicating this situation is the lack of a strong mentoring and culture-building process for employees. To address this issue, we consulted with Tim Davey, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Recruitment and Retention, and researched successful mentoring programs at peer institutions. We then developed was a new software program for mentor matching, a suggested model for permanent mentoring program, from outreach to management and support and also a training module for mentors.

Members
Susan DiGiovanni, Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean for Medical Education, Internal Medicine
Donna Gibson,Associate Professor and Program Coordinator, Counselor Education, School of Education
Anne Hofler, Senior Director of Donor Relations, Development and Alumni Relations
Florence Johnson, Compliance Audit Supervisor, Audit and Compliance Services
Michael Southam-Gerow, Professor of Psychology and Pediatrics, Department of Psychology
Jenilee Stanley-Shanks, Executive Coordinator, School of Engineering

Sponsor
Timothy Davey, Associate Vice Provost for faculty Recruitment and Retention, Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

The Artfulness Initiative: Art as a Tool for Mindfulness

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“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh.

Mindfulness can be described as a mental state achieved through nonjudgmental awareness and acknowledgement of thoughts and physical/feelings in the present. Preliminary data suggests that mindfulness exercises are effective in decreasing burnout rates of oncology nurses, who are responsible for managing care of cancer patients and working with their family members. Burnout, however, is not only felt within the healthcare fields. Mindfulness-based stress reduction programs have proven effective for reducing perceived stress in the workplace (Wolever et al, 2012). VCU faculty and staff experience pressures at work, from family responsibilities, or from financial stressors. Seeking mindfulness through therapeutic arts practices and paradigms has the potential to maximize health benefits for broadly diverse populations.

Through the Artfulness Initiative, VCU is poised to develop and pilot an online modular curriculum in mindfulness through the therapeutic arts. The program will be designed to be adaptable for various environments, but is intended to be piloted online with VCU faculty and staff. In time we see the Artfulness Initiative being implemented with community organizations, such as Boys and Girls Clubs or the Richmond Peace Education Center; in educational settings both within VCU through course offerings, and outside VCU, such as arts, mentorship, or after-school programs in K-12 public schools; and in community college programs and courses, or continuing education programs.

Members
Dvora Courtland
, Program Manager, Graduate Studies, VCU School of Business
George Deeb, Associate Professor and Director of Implant Programs, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, School of Dentistry
Sarah Golding, Instructor and Director of Undergraduate Research, Department of Biology
Arnold Kemp, Chair and Associate Professor, Painting and Printmaking, School of the Arts
Whitney Lovelady, Assistant Director, Transfer Center, Division of Strategic Enrollment Management
Tito Luna, Neighborhood Outreach Director, Division of Community Engagement
Molly Ransone, Assistant Director of Learning Media Innovation, Academic Learning Transformation Lab, VCU ALT Lab, Division of Learning Innovation and Student Success
Mary Shelden, Associate Professor, Department of Focused Inquiry, Division of Learning Innovation and Student Success

Sponsor
Jonathan Becker
, Director, Online Academic Programs and Learning Innovation

Promotion, Education, and Marketing of an Expanded VCU Bike Share Program

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The Promotion, Education, and Marketing of an Expanded VCU Bike Share Program propose to help promote, market, and provide education about an expanded bike share program at VCU. The goal of the bike share program is three-fold: 1) improve travel between campuses, 2) encourage alternate transportation to reduce traffic and parking difficulties and 3) be a "green" initiative on the VCU campus. The expanded bike share program will include additional bikes and bike stations, managed by an outside company.  Recently, VCU’s office of Parking and Transportation has received funds for the program, and is looking for assistance to promote, market, and provide education about the program.  We will also explore additional aspects of a bike sharing program such as encouraging the use of helmets/safety issues, using technology to track bikes, and conducting a needs assessment to determine consumer demand and preferences.

Members
Kellie Archer
, Professor and Director, Massey Cancer Center Biostatistics Shared Resource, Department of Biostatistics 
Tom Arodz, Assistant Professor and Graduate Program Director, Department of Computer Science
Alison Breland, Assistant Research Professor, Department of Psychology
Dawn Crichlow, Director, Enrolled Graduate Student Services, VCU Graduate School
Tom Klug, Associate Vice President, University Relations

Sponsor
Erin Stanforth
, Director of Sustainability, Facilities Management

RAMSWay Safe Path

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RAMSWay Safe Path promotes safety for students, faculty, staff, and visitors with a series of safe walkways connecting key locations, such as classroom buildings, gyms, libraries, residence halls, and parking decks, on Virginia Commonwealth University’s sprawling urban campus. RAMSWay Safe Paths are designed to be consistent with the theoretical framework referred to as CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design). CPTED suggests that altering the physical design of communities or areas in which people congregate can deter criminal activity. CPTED-compliant landscaping and lighting, security features (e.g., cameras, ERTs phones), and increased police presence on the paths promote the sense of safety. Further, increased foot traffic provides safety in numbers, consistent with VCU’s current Bystander Intervention initiative. VCU branded RAMSWay Safe Path aluminum signs will designate walkways on both the Monroe Park and MCV campuses, showing pedestrians a preferred route. When traveling on RAMSWay, members of the VCU community will have more opportunities to interface with VCU Police, pass by ERTs phones, and share the route with fellow students, faculty, and staff. By using the path, we all help do our part to promote safety on our campus. Existing organizations and communication platforms, such as VCU Public Relations, Student Government Association, VCU Mobile and LiveSafe, will promote the use of RAMSWay Safe Path to the VCU community. RAMSWay Safe Path will be executed in coordination with VCU Police and VCU Facilities. 

Members
Stephen Barkley
, Operations Librarian, Tompkins-McCaw Library, VCU Libraries 
Mary Beth Heller, Director, VCU Center for Psychological Services and Development
Elizabeth (Libby) McDaniel, Catalog Librarian for Special Collections, VCU Libraries
Kelechi (KC) Ogbonna, Assistant Professor, Geriatrics, Department of Pharmacotherapy & Outcomes Science, School of Pharmacy
Kendall Plageman, Assistant Dean, Division of Student Affairs
Angie Wetzel, Director of Assessment, Department of Foundations, School of Education

Sponsor
John Venuti
, Chief, VCU Police

A Website to help the International Students Experience (WISE)

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VCU was recently featured in an issue of International Educator for leading the way in educating international students.  According to the article, VCU currently has more than 1,500 international students studying at the institution.  This population is a significant part of the VCU community and presents a rich source of experience and varied perspectives.  Given the increasing globalization of our campus, the Global Education Office (GEO) has identified the need for tools to connect faculty and staff with important resources that will enhance the academic experience of international students at VCU and raise awareness of multi-cultural differences that enhance the diversity of the university. We feel that educating faculty/staff about likely struggles international students face will aid in improving the experience international students have at VCU while also improving the effectiveness of that faculty/staff in their interaction with the student and in their own understanding of the culture.  Our Team is proposing designing a blueprint for that website that would act as a resource to help meet this need. Within the website, we would include information about various cultural and educational aspects to aid in communication.  We feel this could be the foundation for additional content including ‘one sheets’ that would be easy to read and understand for all of the users, webinars on multicultural communication, and a process to identify and train global liaisons who may become a resource to other faculty and staff.

Members
David Allen
, Associate Dean for Business and Administration, School of Nursing 
Agnes Chojecka, Patient Access Supervisor, Multi-Specialty Surgery, VCU Medical Center
Tori Keel, Clinical Case Manager, University Counseling Services, Division of Student Affairs
Norma Ortiz-Robinson, Assistant Chair, Director of Undergraduate Studies, and Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics
Susan O'Shea, Director of Financial Reporting and Accounting, VCU Qatar School of the ArtsS

Sponsor
Amber Hill
, Director of International Studies, Global Education Office

Make Art Real

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The Make Art Real project aims to introduce new audiences to the arts. It supports Theme II of Quest to promote creative expression and enhance quality of life. This venture will provide regular programming at “The Depot” in downtown Richmond. Exhibits will demonstrate collaboration between art and other disciplines, allowing faculty, staff, and students not enrolled in arts programs to share the artistic side of their work. The project also corresponds well with efforts to develop the nearby VCU Institute for Contemporary Art and with the university’s ongoing efforts to work with the City of Richmond and local business owners to bring reinvestment to nearby sections of the city.

Members
Dolores Carrington-Hill
, Division for Inclusive Excellence
M. Teresa Doherty, VCU Libraries
Alison Jones, Vice President for Health Sciences
Michelle McGregor, Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach
Mike Porter, University Public Affairs
W. Scott Street, Statistical Sciences and Operations Research
Patricia White, Office of Admissions

Sponsor
Ashley Kistler
, Anderson Gallery

Bridging Opportunities in Human Health Services

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This project aims to develop a facilitated, in-depth site visit for VCU faculty interested in exploring human health services opportunities in the Richmond community. The site visit experience in intended to provide exposure to various community organizations specializing in human health, essentially creating a “bridge” between VCU’s campus and these facilities. The goal of this initiative is to motivate employees to action by enabling them to observe first-hand the services that these organization provide and to interact with representatives on site.

Members
Tim Gibbs
, Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU
Jessica S. Hill, University College
David Holland, School of the Arts
Valerie Holton, Division of Community Engagement
Antoinette Light, VCU Health Systems, Human Resources Department
Stephanie D. Tignor, Global Education Office

Sponsor
Lynn E. Pelco
, Associate Vice Provost for Community Engagement

If You Can, You Can

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“You Can Play” is a national campaign that seeks to ensure equality and respect to all athletes regardless of their sexual orientation.  Our project brings this campaign to VCU through the creation of a promotional video, the collection of data about the perception of the climate within VCU Athletics, and with programming events from nationally recognized speakers during LGBTQ History Month.  While this initial focus is on equality with regard to sexual identity in athletics, our hope is that our program will be used as a template for addressing other aspects of diversity across the university.

Members
Amy Chesky
, Office of Clinical Transformation
Rima Franklin, Department of Biology
Sandra Fritton, Disability Support Services
Alena Hampton, University Counseling Services
Demetrius Shambley, University College
Gokhan Yucel, Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Sponsor
Dorothy Fillmore
, Department of Psychology

Math in Motion

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Everything we know about the universe rests on the foundation of mathematics. Somehow, though, the magic of mathematics – the true power of numbers and their beautiful wildness – gets lost in math class. Children, our most magical thinkers, get turned off math in grade school and miss out on a language through which they could learn to read and change the world. VCU Math In Motion will generate a creative, dynamic STEM education initiative within the Richmond community using an innovative curriculum and a customized mobile unit to bring the beauty of math to City school children in grades 5-9, through partnerships across VCU and within the Richmond school system.

Members
Jose Alcaine
, School of Education
Diana Barden, Surgery
Lori Floyd-Miller, Graduate School
Blake MacIver, Office of Development and Alumni Relations
Lea Marshall, School of the Arts
Angela Nelson, Facilities Management
Thomas Vahdani, Department of General Practice Dentistry
Tarynn Witten, Center for the Study of Biological Complexity, VCU Life Sciences

Sponsor
D'Arcy Mays
, Department of Statistical Sciences and Operations Research

Must Do @ VCU

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Must Do @ VCU is a set of annual collegial activities that can be performed throughout the year, by faculty, staff and students. These VCU-centered activities are considered to be the things that give VCU its identity. The goal of Must Do @ VCU is to generate a sense of community and of belonging to the University. VCU is a relatively new University and its traditions are therefore not  well-established. Must Do @ VCU aims to build on shared experiences as a method to establish VCU culture.

Videos
Intro and Must Do @ VCU Project Video

Members
Katherine Beck,
 New Student Programs 
Philip "Muzi"  Branch, Cultural Programs/Arts In Healthcare
Tom Diehl, Recreational Sports
Joyce Lloyd, Department of Human and Molecular Genetics
Claudia Mangum, Physical Plant
Yaoying Xu, School of Education

Sponsor
Pamela DiSalvo Lepley,
 University Relations

Make It Real - Undergraduate Research Opportunities

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Theme one in the Quest for Distinction is for VCU to 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. Quest is grounded in a commitment to providing students with a diversity of experiences which are available at a premiere public research university.  The goal of this project is to take advantage of the wealth of research resources at the Medical College of Virginia Campus, coordinate cross campus efforts to facilitate the use of these resources and increase faculty participation in mentoring undergraduate research projects.  

Video
Undergraduate Research Opportunities Project Video

Members
Lisa Abrams,
 School of Education
Maria Carlton, VCU Health Systems Human Resources
Preetam Ghosh, School of Engineering, Computer Science
Joseph Kuttenkuler, University Marketing
Juanita Sharpe, Office of the Provost

Sponsor
Herbert H. Hill,
 Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Do 2 with VCU: A Community Engagement Initiative

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This project will develop and host a Community Engagement Expo, showcasing local community partners to encourage faculty and staff participating in community engagement and service learning initiatives in our local community.   We anticipate that those visiting the expo will be able to sign-up for community engagement opportunities on site. Additionally, to promote community engagement on campus, we propose that we collaborate with other interested university groups to host a speaker on the topic of community engagement as a culminating event to close the expo.

Video
Do 2 with VCU Project Video

Members
Ashlyn Anderson
, University College
Kimberly Brown, Gender Sexuality and Women’s Studies
Harinder Dhindsa, Department of Emergency Medicine
Ronnie Evans, Department of Health and Human Performance
Mary Slade, ASPiRE

Sponsor
Lynn E. Pelco
, Division of Community Engagement

Making Disability a Part of Diversity

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When given the necessary materials to succeed, qualified students who require special accommodations, can make a meaningful impact in society. The project will make a case statement as to why the disability services program at VCU needs to be redesigned to fit the needs of today’s disabled student. Our project will provide suggested changes to address staffing needs, financial resources, and the materials required to adequately support qualified students at VCU. Our goal is to increase the services provided by the school, which will increase the retention rate for students with disabilities.

Video
Making Disability a Part of Diversity Project Video

Members
Arianne Dowdell
, Division of University Relations
Stefanie King, School of Social Work
Scott Sherman, Advertising
Lauren Shiver, Development and Alumni Relations
Bhavna Shroff, Orthodontics

Sponsor
Velma Jackson-Williams
, Division for Inclusive Excellence

Transfer Student Peer Mentorship Initiative

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Transfer students have unique needs that differ from those of incoming freshmen. The TRAM Transfer Student Mentorship Program connects incoming transfer students with students who also began their VCU journey as transfer students. Through a one-on-one relationship with a trained mentor, transfer students who participate in this program will access guidance and information to help them navigate the university and its resources, programs, and culture.

Members
Melinda DeBrew
, Partnerships for People with Disabilities
Artis Gordon, VCU Transfer Center
Rebecca E. Jones, School of Business
Teri Kuttenkuler, VCU Health System System Human Resources
Irene M. Lubker, Tomkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences
Dewey Taylor, Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics

Sponsor
Daphne L. Rankin
, University College

Commit and Connect: VCU Goes Green

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In alignment with Theme IV of VCU’s Quest for Distinction, this university volunteer project will help to commit and connect faculty, staff, students, and alumni with a community education partner to help launch a green or sustainable project while promoting, teaching and educating participants on the value of sustainable living.

Members
Holly Alford
, Fashion Design & Merchandising
Melanie Goodman, Office of the Vice Provost for Instruction
Shelley Jordan, Graduate School
Margaret Kelland, Facilities management
Rachel Riley, Non-Invasive Cardiology
John Skaritza, College of Humanities and Sciences

Sponsor
Jacek Ghosh
, Physical Plant

Tour the United VCU, The Premier Urban Research University

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This project will capitalize on the existing Open House weekends by offering a 60 minute tour of the MCV Campus. The tour will expose prospective students to VCU as a whole, highlighting the diverse range of studies and to present VCU as one university. The bus ride and walking tour will showcase the connection and relevance of both campuses, allowing prospective students with a myriad of interests to see all that VCU has to offer.

Members
Mary Eisendrath
, Sculpture
Melanie Irvin, Office of Development and Alumni Relations
Ellen Leverich, School of Pharmacy
Susan Lipp, School of Nursing
Karla Mossi, Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering
Mark Roberts, Grants and Contracts

Sponsor
Sybil C. Halloran
, Office of Under Admissions

The Administrative and Professional Faculty Experience at VCU

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At a time when Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is striving to become a premier research institution, Administrative and Professional (A&P) Faculty are essential to the university’s ability to provide and sustain the quality educational programs that are the foundation of the academic enterprise. While essential, A&P Faculty are not always factored into University efforts to the same extent as instructional faculty. Recognizing that A&P Faculty represent a population diverse in educational background, professional focus, role, responsibility, and contribution, Team Our Time conducted a mixed methods study on the experience of A&P Faculty at VCU.

Members
Leslie Bozeman
, Global Education Office
Melanie Christian, School of the Arts
Colleen Davis, School of Business
Harold E. Harris, Jr., VCU Health System Information Technology
Sydney B. McDonald, University Counseling Services
Nicolle Parsons-Pollard, Virginia State University

Sponsor
Cindy H. Andrews
, Human Resources

Working Collaboratively to Fully Integrate Our Campuses

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This project would be one dimension of a larger initiative to fully integrate the campuses. The idea is to establish a program to link the campuses through networking opportunities where faculty, staff and students are encouraged to develop "friendships" throughout the two campuses. The project would be launched on a select key date; i.e., anniversary date of VCU (or other important date), by the formation of a human chain connecting the two campuses between Broad and Belvidere Streets and Sanger Hall, about 1.2 miles of people committed to the cause. This would be a major campaign for VCU with the potential for positive visibility. (The campaign would be an important marker in the history of VCU’s progress and require senior level commitment for program development and funding for memorabilia (t-shirts, lanyards, etc.) and the cost of marketing. (Of important note is the fact that the team would also be tasked with defining the context of friendship in this project. Further, the group would want to explore friendship is the outcome of the project that fosters integration/connections between the people on the two campuses.)

Members
Kristin Caskey
, School of the Arts
Danielle Edgley, Children's Hospital of Richmond
Mitzi Lee, Procurement and Payment
Samantha Marrs, University Development and Alumni Relations
Scott Oates, Office of the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Shajuana Payne, University College

Sponsor
Cynthia Andrews
, Executive Director, Human Resources

Every Day a New Discovery: Share History

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This project aims to strengthen the sense of community and shared identity within VCU through a historical understanding of the interconnectedness of the formerly standalone institutions (i.e., the Medical College of Virginia and the Richmond Professional Institute). Additionally, it will seek to cultivate a sense of pride and greater esteem for our community by facilitating knowledge of the significant contributions to innovation that were developed at VCU.

Members
Donna Gilles
, Partnerships for People with Disabilities
Carolyn Hawley, Rehabilitation Counseling
Katherine Oliver, School of Business
Timothy Reed, Student Commons and Activities
Patricia D. Wallace, Human Resources
Jill Wilson, Statistical Sciences

Sponsor
Tom Huff
, Life Sciences

VCU Stress Relief: Programs and Tools to Ease Student Stress

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Examine how VCU can support students who are having trouble, especially in the freshman year, due to economic challenges their families are facing (parent's loss of jobs, parent's loss of home, students tuition debt, etc). Explore ways to address these issues in the classroom or in individual or group settings.

Members
Caren Girard
, Planning and Design
Ramana Pidaparti, School of Engineering
Lisa Shickle, Massey Cancer Center
Mary Ellen Spencer, VCU Libraries
Anna Wagg, School of Business

Sponsors
Henry Rhone
, Vice Provost Student Affairs
Jihad Aziz, Director University Counseling

It's Ten O'clock: Do We Know Where Our Students Are?

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Do we know where our students are will ensure that Virginia Commonwealth University has the ability to identify the current residential location of students at any time such contact is warranted, for instance during an emergency. We propose a system that secures at regular intervals up-to-date contact information. Conceptually, the project is designed to help VCU better serve its students, promote a safer environment, raise student awareness of how crucial it is to provide the university with up-to-date contact information, and ultimately improve the relationship between the institution and its neighboring communities.

Members
Leena Joseph
, School of Engineering
Maike Philipsen, Foundations of Education
Joan Rhodes, School of Education
Diane Stout-Brown, VCU Alumni Association
Danielle Terrell, Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies
Franklin Wallace, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

Sponsor
Reuben Rodriguez
, Associate Vice Provost and Dean Student Affairs

Student Engagement

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Over the past nine years, The Grace E. Harris Leadership Program has developed seven projects commonly grouped under the topic Student Engagement. The projects reflect different approaches to school spirit generation, student retention, student mentoring and student financial aid. Of the seven projects that our team reviewed, six were implemented or partially implemented. It was not uncommon to see GEHLI team ideas incorporated into unrelated University initiatives, basically achieving the goals of the project, but without the team involvement.

Members
Janet Bishop
, Assurance Services
Mary Cate Griffith, Department of Dermatology
Heidi Jack, Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Jennifer Rivers, VCU Student Services
Reuben Rodriguez, Dean’s Office of Student Affairs

Sponsor
The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute

Work Study Students at VCU: Quality versus Quantity

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VCU Libraries’ student full-time equivalents and budget are lower than its peer institutions in the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries, resulting in a significant lack of funding for student workers. The initial project goals were 1) to identify which steps the VCU Libraries could take to resolve this problem and 2) to investigate if this problem were university-wide in scope. Shortly following this determination, the president’s office VCU Update #10 proposed a “substantial increase in funding for student financial aid” and a university-wide survey on work-study was initiated by the VCU Career Center and distributed by the provost to university employers. The team goals were adjusted to 1) investigate the student’s perspective in obtaining work and the employment experience at VCU and 2) query both students and employers on how to improve the hiring process. Using a questionnaire to survey work-study employers along with experienced and prospective work-study students, the team collected both quantitative and qualitative data to be used by the university.

Members
Denise Branch
, VCU Libraries
Patti Ferguson, VCU Creative Services
Daniel Park, School of Social Work
Mary Beth Taormina, Environmental Health and Safety

Sponsor
The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute

VCU Internal Alignment Project

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The purpose of this project was to see how many projects were actually implemented fully throughout the years of the program. The group members contacted others who they personally knew on the project teams of six prior projects that related to VCU Infrastructure (VCU Internal Alignment projects). Interestingly, in many cases these alumni volunteered input and constructive feedback on the institute as well. The projects included Campus Pride (2005), VCU Center for Research Excellence (2005), Monroe Park Fall Festival (2006), MERCI (2006), University Link Tank (2008), and The Next Generation (2009). All of the projects were drafted and presented in completion at the end of GEHLI. We found that only one project, Monroe Park Festival, was subsequently implemented in full.

Members
Bonnie Brown
, Department of Biology
Leonard Dillgard, VCU Police Department
Alicia Hodges, International Admissions
Anne Hawkins, Patient Care Services
Mark Jacubec, Capital Program

Sponsor
The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute

VCU Volunteers

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VCU Volunteers follows VCU’s history of developing mutually partnerships with the community and is supported by VCU 2020 Theme 5- A model for community-university partnerships. VCU Volunteers will make VCU a better place to work by fostering a sense of belonging and pride in employees at all levels. The mission of VCU Volunteers is to build a collaborative employee community through the shared experience of volunteering. An employee-driven steering committee will guide the activities of the program. This committee will be denied by an employee and will include representative’s membership for Human Resources – Work/Life Resources, Community Engagement, the VCU Caring to Act Calendar Committee, and departments throughout the University. The steering committee will develop guidelines and a volunteer handbook. Volunteer activity opportunities will be presented to the steering committee, vetted according to the guidelines, and publicized to employees.

Members
James Mays
, Statistical Sciences and Operations Research
Jeanne McNeil, VCU Life Sciences
Lynn Pelco, Division of Community Engagement
Lisa Price-Stevens, Internal Medicine
Jamie Stillman, Office of the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Lydia Zirkle, VCU School of the Arts

Sponsor
Frank Macrina
, Edward Myers Professor of Dentistry and Vice President for Research

Discovery Mentoring: Creating Student Connections

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Discovery Mentoring: Creating Student Connections proposes to develop a student-to-student mentoring program which would match undeclared, incoming first year students to mentors. This program facilitates the objectives of University College by building upon their efforts to create a “small community,” feel in a large university. This project is intended to address Theme II of VCU’s 2020 Strategic Plan: “Achieve national recognition as a learning-centered research university that embraces a world-class student experience.” Such a mentoring program would enhance the student experience of our incoming first-year students and help out declared students to connect more strongly with VCU through personal relationships with students and alumni.

Members
Amy Armstrong
, Rehabilitation Counseling
Melanie Boynton, School of Business
Sylvestine Branch, Records and Registration
Bettina Peacemaker, VCU Libraries
Rebecca Pousson, School of Dentistry

Sponsor
Stephen Gottfredson
, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Cultivating Hospital Volunteers and Auxiliary Board Leadership: The Next Generation

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Cultivating Hospital Volunteers and Auxiliary Board Leadership: The Next Generation accepted the challenge from the VCUHS Hospital Auxiliary Board, Volunteer Services, and John Duval (team mentor), Team Vision proposed a project that would look more globally at volunteer recruitment, training and placement, and retention. As the project evolved, we also examined how the two organizations could draw on their deep experience and resources not only to develop a robust volunteer population, but to develop and strengthen their own organizations to better define their goals and ensure an Auxiliary Board membership of vitality and longevity.

Members
Martha Clements
, School of Dentistry
Nicole Daily, VCU Police Department
Ingrid Mercer, International Support Service
Kelly Parmley, Office of the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Michelle Peace, College of Humanities and Science
Jennifer Thompson, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government & Public Affairs

Sponsor
John Duval
, MCV Hospitals

The 1% Campaign

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The 1% Campaign was proposed to raise scholarship funds for first year VCU student who are dependents of VCU/VCUHS employees. Honoring Dr. Grace E. Harris, this fund will eventually provide tuition and fees for new students for need-based and/or merit-based scholarships. The ultimate goal of The 1% Campaign is to entirely fund one percent of the entering first year class which is approximately thirty to thirty-five students. The recipients will be named Grace E. Harris Scholars.

Members
Jihad Aziz
, University Counseling Service
Blair Brown, International Support Service
Kimberly Jacobs, Surgical Services
Debra Lyon, Family and Community Health Nursing
Carolyn Norman, Accounting
Mark Schaefermeyer, Graduate School
Sandra Wilberger, Special Education

Sponsor
Stephen Gottfredson
, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Bridging the Gaps: Building a University Link Tank

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This project proposed a University Link Tank as a mechanism by which to build bridges between employees via a network of small groups. Participation in the Link Tank would be voluntary and open to all VCU and Health System employees. The program would be modeled similarly to the Faculty Learning Community (FLC) program, which is administered by the Center for Teaching Excellence, but it would concentrate on issues that are not specifically related to teaching. Topics will be proposed annually. The program would also concentrate on effectively utilizing existing VCU resources to resolve issues.

Members
Christian Barrett
, Internal Medicine
James Frazier, Department of Dance and Choreography
Dale Jones, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
Kelly Lockeman, Office of the Provost
Brigitte Sicat, School of Pharmacy
Donna Steigleder, VCU Health System Human Resources
Linda Zyzniewski, Department of Psychology

Sponsor
Frank Macrina, Edward Myers Professor of Dentistry and Vice President for Research

Ram Resources

Ram Resources proposed the development of a mentoring program where VCU alumni would be marched with VCU student. With the use of a web based application process, the alumni would volunteer time to meet with a student in the same field of study. Targeted students would include those who are first generation college students, those who have finished their first year of study, and those with average grades. All departments can participate, and create a unique program for their students. In December, 2008, Mary Hermann presented the proposal to the school of business Alumni Board who is interested in implementing the program.

Members
Tammy Berwanger
, University Relations, University Marketing
Mary Hermann, Counselor Education
Deborah Justis, VCU Health System
Edward Kardos, School of Dentistry
John McAchren, VCU Police Department
Bruce Rybarczyk, Department of Psychology and Psychiatry

Sponsor
John Duval
, MCV Hospitals

VCU-UNITE: Identifying Recognition Mechanisms for University-Community Engagement

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The purpose of this project was to determine what process would be appropriate to recognize significant contributions of university and community partners to joint community engagement projects. This project sought to determine the awareness and extent of involvement of VCU faculty, staff and students in community engagement projects, and to find out what format of recognition process would be appealing to both university and community participants.

Members
Cheryl Chesney-Walker
, Health Careers/ Education & Special Services for Student
Al Copolillo, School of Allied Health Profession
Jason Cottrell, Coordinator of New Student Programs
Sharon Dawson, College of Humanities and Science
Sharon Gibbs, VCU Health System
Colleen Thoma, Department of Special Education and Disability Policy
Renee Wilson, Human Resources
Andrew Yeudall, School of Dentistry

Sponsor
Stephen Gottfredson
, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

VCU Gives Back

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This project proposed the establishment of an organization wide series of community service events beginning at homecoming and culminating in April during National Volunteer Week with a large scale event, in an effort to bring a sense of unity among the students, faculty and staff within the organization while helping the communities surrounded by VCU.

Memebers
Michal Zivan Coffey
, University College
Patricia Flanagan, VCU Libraries
Justin Harris, VCU Athletic Department
Ella Maokhamphiou, Audit and Management
Debbie Quick, VCU School of Arts
Melissa Tyler, VCU Graduate School
Shawn Utsey, Department of Psychology

Sponsor
Sue Ann Messmer
, Vice President for University Relations

VCU/Monroe Park Fall Festival: Celebrating the Heart of VCU

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This project proposed the creation of a unifying comprehensive fall festival tradition for both VCU campuses. The proposal responds to the VCU2020 strategic plan by creating a festival designed to highlight VCU/community partnerships and promote “One VCU”. Theme V of the strategic plan emphasizes “maintain[ing] VCU as a model for university-community partnerships” and “develop[ing] collaborations between businesses, government agencies, [and] communities …” Ideas from this project have been implemented in the recent Monroe Park Festival which was a part of the 40th Anniversary celebration activities.

Members
Gail Bartee
, College of Humanities and Sciences
Bryan Brown, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Clare Greene, Nursing Administration
Edward Howard, Division of Community Service
Christine Isaacs, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Ronald Miller, Radiology Administration
Mike O'Berry, VCU Police Department
Patty Strong, University College

Sponsor
John Duval
, MVC Hospitals

Project MERCI (Medical Emergency Response Care Initiative)

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This project proposed a program intended to foster a greater sense of community, shared responsibility, and mutual aid within Virginia Commonwealth University. The group members saw an opportunity to develop the expectation that students, faculty and staff will come to one another’s aid, and to provide the tools necessary to help ensure our mutual safety and health. The medical emergencies as an initial project were selected, focusing their research on the current status of CPR and first-aid training and the placement of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) at VCU.

Members
Alison Baski
, Department of Physics
Brian Cassel, Oncology Administration
Zachary Goodell, Center for Teaching Excellence
Janet Hutchinson, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
Mary Nugent, Medical/ Surgical Clinical Administration
Annie Publow, Office of the Vice President for Research
Jacqueline Smith-Mason, University Honors College
Robert Taylor, Finance Insurance and Real Estate

Sponsor
Sue Ann Messmer
, External Relations

Internet Safety: Positioning VCU as a National Leader in Internet Safety

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This project proposed the collaboration of advertising and marketing professionals and the School of Education to develop a curriculum on Internet safety. This proposal targeted audience was middle-school aged children and their parents; the end results being a public safety campaign for “Safe Surfing” to support the Curriculum.

Members
Christopher Brooks
, School of World Studies
Anne Buckley, VCU Communications and Public Relations
Kim Isringhausen, Dental Hygiene
Charles Klink, Vice President for Student Affairs
Jeffrey Legg, Radiologic Technology
Shannon Mitchell, School of Business
Deborah Slayden, VCU Health System
Kiersten Ware, Family Lifeline

Sponsor
Stephen Gottfredson
, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

University Without Walls: Creating a Culture of Community Engagement

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Given the urban location of Virginia Commonwealth University, the true campus of VCU can be seen as the City of Richmond. This campus location provides many educational opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and the larger community in real-life settings. The vision of VCU is a public, urban university that is fully integrated with and interdependent upon the community. This project sought to focus on the enhancement of that two-way, mutually beneficial relationship, by bringing down the walls between the community and the VCU campuses.

Members
Ellen Byrne, School of Dentistry
Carlton Edwards, VCU Police
Martha Lou Green, University College
Sharon Jahn, Human Resources
Marlene Kustesky, College of Humanities and Sciences
Marilyn Miller, College of Humanities and Sciences
Kate Mohr, VCU Health System
Nancy Strange, School of Arts

Sponsor
Stephen Gottfredson, 
Office of the Provost

Campus Pride

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This project proposed a better means to identify what manifests a sense of pride on college campuses and identify how, specifically, VCU could enrich the campus image, the campus experience and the campus environment to nurture and enhance institutional pride. Of the ideas that were proposed, Mary Cox, University Architect, was able to implement several under the purview of facilities management. The VCU Rams logo painted on campus streets and the use of banners highlighting key university accomplishments were among the ideas proposed in this project.

Members
Mary Cox
, Facilities Management
Tim Davey, School of Social Work
Susan Gooden, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
Pamela Lepley, University Relations
Catherine Nichols, School of Medicine
Macon Sizemore, VCU Medical Center
Marilyn Stern, Department of Psychology
Margaret Williams, School of Business

Sponsor
John Duval
, MCV Hospitals

VCU Center for Research Excellence

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This project proposed creation of a Center for Research Excellence that would focus on fostering excellence in research and scholarly activity for all faculty and aspiring faculty at VCU. Research excellence is important to maintaining VCU’s Carnegie Research Extensive rating and as described in VCU 2020 goal to “assuring continued international recognition in research, scholarship, and creative expression”.

Memebers
Jennifer Burruss
, Department of Assurance Services
Sofia Hiort-Wright, University College
Ashok Iyer, VCU Engineering
Larry Little, Support Service Administration
Paula Otto, Virginia Lottery
Daphne Rankin, Office of the Vice Provost for Instruction
Susanna Wu-Pong, School of Pharmacy

Sponsor
Paul Timmreck
, Finance and Administration

The Student-Centered University: A Survey of Peer Institutions

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This Project conducted a survey of peer institutions regarding the “student centered” university concept. The team planned to produce a report for the Task Force for Building a Student-Centered University that will serve as a foundation for the initiative at VCU.

Members
Nancy Buchanan

Mohamed Gad-el-Hak, College of Engineering
Mary Ann Hager, VCU Health System
Sally Hunnicut, Department of Chemistry
Bridget Lyons
Matt Woolman, Department of Graphic Design

Sponsor
John Duval
, MCV Hospitals

Making Connections through a Virtual Community

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This project was a proposal for online connections between new students at VCU and the university community. The program is designed to be a source of information exchange about life in Richmond, university resources, and services available in the metropolitan area.

Members
Joe Borzelleca, Jr.
, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Joy Bressler, University Counseling
Debbie Brock, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
Nell Chenault, University Libraries
Jason Noble, Anesthesiology

Sponsor
Sue Ann Messmer
, University Relations

Promoting VCU Community Solutions

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This project proposed a prototype video to support the launching of VCU Community Solutions, a major social sciences initiative to concentrate the vast array of social sciences resources on addressing community priorities. The video is to be used as a marketing tool both externally with the community and internally with faculty, staff, and students.

Members
Carlos Brown
, Planning and Facilities
Jeff Green, Anesthesiology
Carolyn Henne, School of Arts
Evelyn Reed-Victor, School of Education
Cynthia Schmidt, University Marketing
Amy Unger, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Sponsor
Paul Timmreck
, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

VCU Health Careers Pipeline

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This project proposed the creation of the “VCU Health Careers Pipeline” will link and enhance existing outreach, academic, and mentoring programs on both campuses. The goal of the pipeline is to increase the number of disadvantaged students who successfully graduate with a VCU health care degree and obtain employment in the VCU Health System. Emphasis will be placed on collaborating with VCU program and community initiatives.

Members
Sheryl Garland
, Department of Community Outreach
Janis Ober, Epidemiology
Nancy New, VCU Health System
Bob Neale, VCU Computer Center
Seth Sykes, Director of Discovery Program

Sponsor
Roderick McDavis
, Provost and Vice President for Academic affairs
Herber Newsome, VCU Global Education

VCU... Making Richmond A Great Place to Work and Live

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VCU, established in 1968, is a young, vibrant and rapidly growing institution. Whereas components of VCU are well established, venerable, and well-recognized institutions, VCU suffers from a lack of name recognition and reputation in comparison with our peer institutions. Similarly, there is a general lack of appreciation for the strength of VCU programs at the regional, local and even institutional level. This project is designed to showcase, at the local and institutional level, the special contributions and triumphs of VCU and its staff, including both the cutting edge research and academic accomplishments and the powerful and compelling human interest stories that contribute to the richness and vitality of our institution. Our venue will be the offering of vignettes highlighting these stories on local radio, television or other media outlets. Our vision for the project is to provide a vehicle by which we promote a sense of pride in our campus communities, as well as promote the success of VCU in the Greater Richmond Area and throughout the Commonwealth. Appreciation of the strengths and successes of the institution will enhance morale of faculty and staff, positively affect students, staff and faculty recruitment and retention, and help to maintain VCU as a Research Extensive academic institution.

Members
Gregory Buck, 
Center for the Study of Biological Complexity
Maria Curran, VCU Health System
Karen Guthrie, School of Arts
John Pierce, School of Medicine
Diane Simon, School of Education
Jean Yerian, Office of the Provost

Mechanisms for Increasing Federally-Funded Research at VCU: A Pilot Study of Forty Faculty in Pursuit of NIH Funding in Women's Health

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The Strategic Plan for Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) describes research as an integral and essential component of the University. The Plan promotes scholarly activities of VCU faculty and encourages research in all areas that demonstrate potential for faculty growth and development. Specifically, one of the goals in the VCU Strategic Plan is to achieve ranking among the top fifty universities in the United States in terms of external funding for research. The Office of the Vice President for Research has played a lead role in this initiative. Current economic concerns and budget deficits in the State of Virginia have had a significant impact upon State institutions, including VCU. Substantial budget cuts have adversely impacted University operations as well as faculty and student motivation and morale. It is within such an economic climate that external funding of research becomes even more important. Not only must VCU safeguard existing grant resources, but it must continue to identify and support mechanisms that will increase external funding of faculty research.

Members
Carolyn Funk, 
L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
John Guthmiller, School of Arts
Darrell Johnson, VCU Health System
Dace Svikis, College of Humanities and Sciences
Christopher Wagner, College of Health Professions

Interdisciplinary Honors Module and Sequence: Honors Seminar in Women's Health

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The proposal includes the development of a pilot involving a sequence of two honors modules (each one-and-a-half credit hours) in the Department of Psychology. Other disciplines involved would include psychiatry, sociology, women's studies, and women's health. During the first module, scheduled during the first half ofthe semester, the course would be seminar in format on alternating course days with independent experiential work and assignments with chosen faculty on interim class days. Students would write a paper on their experiences and work during the course. The responsibility for coordination of the independent study course would rest with a graduate student (or faculty member) in the home department. Resources for the frnding of this pilot seminar and module would be framed within the current structure for the ftnding of Honors modules. Any additional resources would be requested from the Dean, Provost's and President's offices. Costs for the course would include support for the graduate student coordination ofthe module and a small research fund to support the activities of each honors student. This pilot would be an opportunity to develop a model for interdisciplinary honors module development. Additional ftnding opportunities for expansion of this strategy would be identified with Samantha Marrs in VCU's Office of Corporate and Foundation Giving. In addition, this strategy could inform undergraduate course and academic program development within VCU's Social Science Initiative and ñžnding could be sought in coordination with that effort.


Improving Recruitment and Retention of Honors Students: Multidisciplinary Course Modules

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The University of the 21st century is in the throes of a paradigm shift, breaking free of the last century's discipline-bound model of education. VCU's Strategic Plan clearly articulates this forward-thinking concept: "....to promote interdisciplinary studies within the University, to bring new perspectives to bear on complex problems, and mobilize creative energies and expertise in meeting the needs of society and individuals through its unique role as Virginia's major urban university." In addition, the Strategic Plan goes on to envision the Honors Program as a "leader for excellence in undergraduate education''. Our project utilizes the Honors Program to create interdisciplinary cross-campus experiences. Implementation of the proposal will enhance the Honors Program, increase Honors students' exposure to VCU's graduate and professional programs, and indeed, initiate an innovative, modem educational model for the entire University. Moreover, our project recommends an integrative experiential learning experience in a subsequent Honors module, either through research or community service. The proposed Honors module would expose students to issues that range across both campuses, and in particular to subsequent opportunities in graduate education in our professional programs.


Two specific modules are proposed initially, in psychology/women's health and pharmacy. In our design, a directing professor coordinates a team-taught honors module in which students learn about an interdisciplinary range of scholarly and professional issues relating to a specific umbrella topic (such as psychology/women's health or pharmacy).

Members
Kevin Allison, 
College of Humanities and Sciences
Deborah Brock, School of Medicine
David Dubofsky, School of Business
Donna George, VCU Health System
Kathryn Murphy-Judy, School of World Studies
Neil Sonenklar, School of Medicine

Giving VCU A Choice... VCUHS ChoiceCare

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Virginia Commonwealth University has the opportunity to promote the quality health care services being rendered by the VCU Health System and the VCU School of Dentistry to its staff and faculty. Our project proposes that the VCUHS ChoiceCARE Health Plan be made available as an option to the entire University community. The VCUHS ChoiceCARE Health Plan is currently being offered to all employees of the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System. This is an exceptional health care plan that encourages employees to utilize the services ofthe MCV Physicians/Hospitals and VCU Dentists/Oral Dentistry practitioners. Through financial incentives of lower or no copays required and competitive monthly premiums, employees will benefit from this alternative. The VCU Health System and the VCU School of Dentistry will benefit from an improved insured patient base and from maintaining a healthy workforce. As the third largest employer in the Richmond metropolitan area, VCU employees and their families are an obvious market for the health care services. This project is another step in helping University programs become less financially dependent on governmental funding.

Members
Kimberly G. Blowe, 
School of Dentistry
Cynthia H. Earnhardt, Audit and Management Services
Thomas Mayhew, College of Health Professions 
Jeffrey A. Setien, School of Business
Grant J. Warren, VCU Police

A Concept Paper for a VCU Social Sciences Initiative

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This project proposes the development of a Social Sciences Initiative at the undergraduate and graduate levels that will provide educational, research and service opportunities for faculty and students. These opportunities are envisioned as interdisciplinary, with a focus on community issues and priorities, and with the potential to create new links among existing educational/research units within the University.

Members
Susan Kornstein
, Department of Psychiatry
Shelly J. Lane, Occupational Therapy
Allen Lewis, College of Health Related Professions
Lydia Thompson, VCU School of Arts

Come “RAP” With Us: Improving the Retention of Academically- Qualified Persons (RAP) with GPA’s of 3.0 or Higher

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Retention is an important area of concern for Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). This project involves devising initiatives to identify and retain students with a high potential for academic success as outlined in the Strategic Plan for the Future of Virginia Commonwealth University, Phase II. It is theorized that by concentrating efforts on students (both in-state and out-of-state) with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, an improvement in the six-year graduation and freshmen retention rates can be realized. This would serve to enhance VCU’s status in the academic community (moving from Tier 3 to Tier 2 status) since twenty percent of the determining ranking of the U.S. News and World Report’s rankings are derived from the category of retention.

Members
Pamela Finley Boston
, Office of the General Counsel
Ruth W. Epps, Department of Accounting
Cynthia K. Kirkwood, Department of Pharmacy
John D. Ward, School of Medicine

Sponsor
Steven Gottfredson
, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Donna Katen-Bahensky, CEO of MCVH

Life Sciences Institute for High School Students and Teachers

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A two-day institute will be developed and presented on campus in late fall or early spring semester for selected high school students and teachers. The program content and activities will be designed to focus on a theme within the Life Sciences. Each year a theme will be selected in consideration of all the programs and schools associated with the Life Sciences Initiative at VCU. This includes biology, genetics, health-care sciences, the behavioral sciences, and the integration of arts and social sciences as feasible. The institute will lead to high school students earning one undergraduate credit and teachers will earn one graduate credit for continuing education or advanced study. The program is designed to attract students to attend VCU for the Life Sciences. The high school teachers will serve as student sponsors and potential recruiters for students at their local high schools. The learning experiences will be designed so teachers can incorporate Life Sciences’ content into their high school classrooms. Given the team’s vision and mission, the proposed project is designed to enhance collaborative efforts among the Life Science disciplines and university outreach to high schools within and outside of Virginia.

Members
Terri Fauber
, Radiological Technology
Rita Pickler, Family and Community Health Nursing
Inez Tuck, VCU School of Nursing
Everett Worthington, Department of Psychology

Sponsor
Sue Ann Messmer
, University Relations
Heber Newsome, VCU Global Education

VCU Media Lab

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We propose the establishment of a VCU Media Lab – a professional creative media technology unit whose mission is to support the development, design, production and delivery of innovative media, multimedia, computer-based instruction, publications and tools in support of VCU education, research and marketing initiatives. This centrally administered, budgeted and resourced facility will acknowledge, refine, focus and expand media services that are currently being provided at VCU in a decentralized manner.

Members
Cheryl Singleton Al-Mateen, School of Medicine
Marcia Carney
Susan Diehl, Technology Services
Laura Jean Moriarty, College of Humanities and Sciences

Working Partnerships, Partnerships Working

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To define university-community partnerships and the strategies for establishing successful partnerships; and to identify existing university-community partnerships at VCU and describe them on a web-accessible database.

Members
Robert Higgins
, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Catherine Howard, Department of Psychology
Njeri Jackson, Department of Political Science and Public
Nancy Scott, School of the Arts
Veronica Shuford, School of Pharmacy

Strategies to Enhance Out-Of-State Enrollment at VCU Focusing on Name Recognition, Successful Alumni, and Faculty

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The project team has conceptualized several possible university marketing initiatives. These initiatives revolve around a central concept: increasing out-of state student enrollment at VCU. In concert with the Office of the Vice President of University Outreach, Team 3 will study and test the effectiveness of outdoor and other strategically located VCU advertising along major northeast corridor transportation routes and hubs to attract out-of state undergraduates.

Members
Susan Burgess

Carol Crosby
Mary Martin, VCU Health System

A Bridge to the Future: Cultivating Academic Leadership Today for Better Communities Tomorrow

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The purpose of this project is to develop a plan for expanding and funding the Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute (GEHLI). Currently, teams of leadership scholars selected from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) develop projects relating to the academic community in addition to studying the dynamics of effective leadership. Consistent with VCU's vision of partnering with and service to metropolitan Richmond, we propose that future teams of leadership scholars develop outreach projects that involve and benefit the local community. The training in which scholars would participate would include learning about the Richmond community, its needs and goals, as well as the dynamics of leadership. Project teams would collaborate with community groups or leaders, thereby strengthening the bonds between VCU and the community, and providing public service, in accordance with VCU's mission. Projects might include education, outreach, fundraising, mentoring, or research that would benefit Richmond and provide scholars with opportunities to network with local leaders. Financial and philanthropic resources will be investigated and a list of potential funding organizations will be generated.

Members
Ralph R. Clark
, VCU Health System
Jill E. Fox, School of Education
Diane L. Reynolds, Department of Business Services
Elizabeth J. Waterhouse, Department of Neurology