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News Highlights

faye belgrave in her office at v.c.u.
"An equitable, inclusive and diverse College benefits all and moves us forward in accomplishing the College’s mission and VCU’s Quest goals," says Belgrave.

New Associate Dean of Equity and Community Partnerships

In October 2020, Faye Belgrave, Ph.D., was named associate dean of equity and community partnerships for the College. This newly created position in the dean’s office seeks to improve diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as elevate and promote community-engaged research and teaching in the College. Belgrave hopes to implement more inclusive hiring practices for faculty and staff searches, create policies and practices that acknowledge disproportionalities in teaching and service for faculty of color and women, and work collaboratively with community- based organizations to decrease social injustices and other disparities within the community and at VCU.

Belgrave is a university professor in the Department of Psychology, where she has been a faculty member since 2001, and founding director of VCU’s Center for Cultural Experiences in Prevention. Her work is community focused, promoting the welfare of African American adolescents and young adults. More recently, her projects involve substance abuse and sexual education health care, such as HIV prevention and education to Black students and young adults in the community.


signatures on a beam

STEM Building Celebrates Topping Out

The STEM building reached a major construction milestone on May 4, 2021 when the final steel beam was put in place for the new structure. To celebrate, the College of Humanities and Sciences held a modified “topping out” ceremony. Students, alumni, donors, faculty and staff were invited to virtually sign the beam in the weeks leading up to the ceremony.

Signatures were printed onto decals that were then adhered to the steel beam, while a small group of faculty and staff, including President Michael Rao and Dean Jennifer Malat, signed the beam in-person. Members of the community then joined a live stream to watch as the beam was hoisted into place.

Once completed, the six-story STEM building will feature 169,000 square feet of space dedicated
to the natural sciences and mathematics in the College, and more than 10,000 students will take up to 70 different courses in the new building each semester. The building is slated to open in spring of 2023.

Learn more about the STEM building and watch a live feed of the construction.


rodney the ram encouraging students at v.c.u. to register to vote

College Creates Election Website for November 2020 Race

In anticipation of an eventful election, the College of Humanities and Sciences launched a website that provided important information on the nuts and bolts of voting — how to register, how to request an absentee ballot, where to find one’s polling place, who will appear on the ballot — as well as expert, nonpartisan commentary and analysis by VCU faculty. The project’s goal was to help the VCU community, as well as the general public, make well-informed decisions come Election Day.

“Faculty in the College of Humanities and Sciences [were] eager to support the democratic process by providing tools to understand current complex issues, for both our students and the broader community,” said Jennifer Malat, Ph.D., dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences.

The website was coordinated by faculty in the Department of Political Science and the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture, and received heavy traffic during the election season, coming in only second (in terms of page views) among all of the College’s many websites.


letter figurines that spell v.c.u. outside shafer court

12 Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's Programs Added

The College of Humanities and Sciences added 12 new fast-track opportunities in fall 2021 that allows academically qualified students to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from numerous areas of study in as few as five years. As a result, students can opt to accelerate their path to earning a graduate degree while saving time and money. They include options in chemistry, English, math and exercise science that will offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the same field.

The offerings also include accelerated options that allows students to combine different areas of study. In the School of World Studies, undergraduate students are able to pursue a bachelor’s degree in foreign language, concentrating in French, German or Spanish, and then go on to earn a master’s in business with a concentration in marketing management from the School of Business. Another option offers students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology to seek a master’s in counselor education from the School of Education.

Read the full VCU News feature for additional information about this initiative.


Clarence Thomas sitting in a v.c.u. classroom
Clarence Thomas, Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture

New Annual Awards Celebrate Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Initiatives

Every year, the College gathers together to honor faculty and staff who go above and beyond in their work at the Annual Faculty/Staff Awards. In 2020, four new awards were presented to honor excellence in inclusion, diversity and equity (IDE) initiatives within the College.

Recipients included Gerron Scott, an academic adviser in the Department of Biology, who seeks to eliminate bias in student support services; Clarence Thomas (pictured), a faculty member in the Robertson School of Media and Culture, with a long-time record of contribution to teaching and service of racial and ethnic minorities in journalism and mass communication; and the Department of Psychology’s Committee for the Promotion of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, which worked to create a community of inclusion for the department through training and networking events for our students, faculty and staff. Two students, Amanda Parks and Rebecca Alema, were also honored for their work in the IDE field.

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