VCU hosting listening sessions to help create new strategic plan

Reverse town hall events will be held on the Monroe Park and MCV Campuses through Nov. 28

Featured photo
Photo by Julia Rendleman

Members of the Virginia Commonwealth University community gathered Tuesday at the Larrick Student Center to participate in the first of a dozen listening sessions to help shape VCU’s new strategic plan.

The sessions, designed to collect broad ideas concerning the university’s future, are organized as reverse town hall events, with facilitators gathering faculty, staff and student feedback. VCU will host 12 listening sessions from Nov. 15-28 on the Monroe Park and MCV Campuses. Gail Hackett, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Marsha Rappley, M.D., CEO for VCU Health System and VCU vice president of health sciences, are co-chairs for the new strategic planning process.

This is a true co-creation and community engagement effort.

“This is a true co-creation and community engagement effort,” said Nick Hines, Rappley’s chief of staff and associate vice president for the VCU Health System CEO office. “I think it’s more community-based [than a traditional town hall event]. Philosophically it offers more opportunity for individuals to contribute.”

The sessions feature about 30 minutes of discussion, focusing on why people come to VCU and why they stay, what makes VCU unique and what opportunities exist to make the university a better place. 

Feedback gathered from the sessions will be compiled and summarized, said Kathleen Shaw, vice provost for planning and decision support.

“We will capture all the feedback during the sessions,” Shaw said Tuesday. “It will be shared with the co-chairs and will be shared with the steering committee — about 35 members representing all the constituencies of the VCU campus communities and the Richmond community.”

Quest for Distinction, the university’s current strategic plan, was implemented in 2011. The listening events are the first steps the university community is taking to create a successor plan for Quest, which ends in 2017.

Hines encouraged the VCU community to participate in the process. 

“If you want to be a part of this then come out and share your voice,” he said. “Provide us with an opportunity to hear from your perspective — student, staff, faculty, alumni or the immediate community. Give us the opportunity to co-create this strategic plan with you, not just for you.”


Subscribe for free to the weekly VCU News email newsletter at and receive a selection of stories, videos, photos, news clips and event listings in your inbox every Thursday.