Susan Gooden named dean of the VCU L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

Susan Gooden, Ph.D.
Susan Gooden, Ph.D. (Courtesy photo)

Susan T. Gooden, Ph.D., has been named dean of the Virginia Commonwealth University L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, effective April 16. Gooden has served as interim dean at the Wilder School since May 2018.

“Susan Gooden is a proven leader in the community, in her discipline and at the university. She is a tireless advocate for the faculty, staff and students in the Wilder School and is well-positioned to lead the school into its next level of success,” said Gail Hackett, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at VCU.

Gooden began her career at VCU in 2004 as an associate professor in the Wilder School. She has served the school in several leadership roles including director of graduate programs, director of the Wilder Graduate Scholars Fellowship program, which she also founded, and executive director of the Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute, a position she held for eight years.

Prior to her arrival at VCU, Gooden was assistant and associate professor in the Center for Public Administration and Policy at Virginia Tech where she also was founding director of the Race and Social Policy Research Center. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Carolina Minority Postdoctoral Program at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

“I am honored to continue my service to VCU as dean of the Wilder School,” Gooden said. “I am dedicated to advancing the Wilder School’s critical role in engaging, teaching and inspiring our students and our leaders to solve challenges in our world through research and collaboration.”

An internationally renowned scholar in the area of social equity, Gooden has served as principal investigator for 21 grants totaling more than $1.7 million and has published three books and numerous chapters, refereed journal articles and peer-reviewed publications. A Fulbright specialist, she is a past president of the American Society for Public Administration and an elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. She was appointed to the board of the Virginia Community College System in 2016 and now serves as its chair.

Gooden holds an associate degree in Natural Science from Patrick Henry Community College, a bachelor’s in English and a master’s in Political Science from Virginia Tech, and a master’s and a doctorate in Political Science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. 

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 30,000 students in 233 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Twenty-two of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health brand represents the VCU health sciences academic programs, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, and MCV Physicians. The clinical enterprise includes a collaboration with Sheltering Arms Institute for physical rehabilitation services. For more, please visit and