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A welcome message for students from Dean Malat

As the new semester begins, Dean Malat offers a welcome and shares information about campus safety initiatives and a new position in the dean's office focused on equity and community partnerships.
dean jennifer malat in front of shafer dining court

Dear students in the College of Humanities and Sciences,

I hope this message finds you well. On July 1, I became the new dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences. 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. While times may have changed, my enthusiasm for VCU and the College has not. I am excited to be your new dean and lead the College during this exceptional time.

As we begin a new academic year, I hope students have a successful return to learning at VCU and the College. Some of you have moved back on campus. Others have decided to start the semester away from campus. All of us are preparing for a unique semester where we must do what is best and safest for ourselves and our families. Whatever your decision, please know that VCU has put in place appropriate safety measures in an effort to protect our community and help further your academic journey. I encourage you to view this video with more information on these campus safety initiatives.

In addition to the pandemic, recent protests have brought racial tensions to the center of our national conversation. It is a painful and uncertain time, and we feel that profoundly at VCU and in the College. In these challenging times, VCU and the College are here to listen, grow and engage with all members of our community, including you. To begin to address these issues, I have created a new position in the dean’s office, an associate deanship for equity and community partnerships. While we search for the right person for the position, we are already taking steps to create the college we want to see. For example, we are reviewing what the college teaches and how we teach it in an effort to provide students with the best educational experience.

This year will be one of change and growth—and at times, it will be bumpy. But I believe VCU, the College and our community will come out of this stronger and better. I look forward to meeting you in the months ahead. If you have concerns, questions or suggestions, I encourage you to reach out to me at


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

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