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Annual Report 2019-20

jennifer malat

Welcome to the College of Humanities and Sciences 2019-20 annual report. I realize I am a new face for many of you, because I recently joined the college as dean on July 1, 2020. I’m excited to begin my tenure at such an innovative, diverse and passionate institution.

And I invite you to learn more about me, my background and my vision for the College. I’d like to take a moment to thank Don Young, Ph.D., interim dean, for his leadership over the past year. He has set us on a solid path, and I am grateful for his help during my transition.

When I accepted the position earlier this year, the world was just learning about COVID-19. Classes were still in-person, there was no mention of social distancing and not many people owned face masks. As you know, everything changed quickly in March. VCU and the College worked hard to ensure that our students finished the semester strong—albeit online. The ingenuity and resilience of our faculty, staff, advisers and students astounded me.

I am also proud of the College’s commitment to research. Even with the global pandemic, the College finished the year with more than $20 million in awarded grant dollars. That represents a 14% increase from the prior year! Truly remarkable.

While interviewing for the deanship, I had the opportunity to meet with many people from the College community. I learned about the cutting-edge research being conducted in our labs, the inventive teaching happening in our classrooms and the experiential learning opportunities undertaken by our students. My College colleagues are doing amazing work, and I look forward to building strong relationships with them in the coming year.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without donor support. Your generosity provides our College with the resources it needs to continue to support our community, whether that is through teaching, research, outreach or student success. Thank you!


Jennifer Malat, Ph.D.
Dean, VCU College of Humanities and Sciences

jennifer malat

The Future of Our College: Get to Know New Dean Jennifer Malat

Dean Jennifer Malat comes to VCU from the University of Cincinnati where she most recently served as divisional dean for social sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences.

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News Highlights

2019-20 was a busy year with advances in curriculum, research and progress toward a new STEM facility.

grayson weiler

Honoring a Beloved Son: R. Grayson Weiler Experiential Learning Scholarship

On Feb. 4, Grayson Weiler, 26, died at VCU Medical Center of complications from severe head trauma he had suffered the previous summer. A VCU student majoring in interdisciplinary studies, he would have been a member of the VCU Class of 2020. In the face of this family tragedy, his parents, Kimberly and John, wanted a special way to remember him.

katharine moore tibbetts receiving the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from a government official

Faculty Highlights

Our faculty members in the College of Humanities and Sciences are an amazing group of educators, academics and researchers. Here are just a few faculty news highlights from the year.

fantasy lozada

Rising Stars: Faculty Profiles

Telling the story of slavery through the eyes of enslaved men and women, bringing culturally responsive teaching strategies to local schools and making research experiences real for undergraduates. Do we have your attention? Meet three of the College of Humanities and Sciences' rising stars: Michael Dickinson, Ph.D., Fantasy Lozada, Ph.D., and Dewey Taylor, Ph.D.

Grant Highlights

When not in the classroom, our faculty can be found participating in ground-breaking research. Here is a sampling of some of the many grants funded during the 2019-20 fiscal year.

regina coles

Staff Profile: Meet Regina Coles, Grant Guru

Need help submitting a research proposal? Drafting a project budget? Understanding the latest compliance policy? Regina Coles is the person to see.

raven witherspoon

Student Profile: Raven Witherspoon (Physics '21)

When do you know what you are meant to do with your life? For Raven Witherspoon that answer came when she participated in a summer program at NASA Langley and quickly realized how much she loves space.

camp adventure 2020: indoors is the new outdoors

Student Highlights

There are more than 14,000 students in the College of Humanities and Sciences, and they make VCU proud on a daily basis. Here is a sampling of our some of our stars and their noteworthy achievements.

v.c.u. scholarship recipients and donors at the 2020 donor breakfast

Funding the Future: Annual Scholarship Recipient Donor Breakfast

The College of Humanities and Sciences hosted its Donor Scholarship Breakfast at the Institute for Contemporary Art on Dec. 3 to celebrate the continued generosity and commitment of the College’s biggest supporters.

Jim O'Connor

The Power of an English Degree: Jim O'Connor (B.A. ’93/H&S)

Alum Jim O’Connor (B.A. ’93/H&S) likes to credit an unlikely source for his success in business—his VCU English degree.