The V C U circle outside the student commons building.
On Monday, VCU recognized 179 faculty members who were awarded promotion or tenure in 2020. (Allen Jones, University Marketing)

VCU celebrates 179 faculty members awarded promotion and tenure in 2020

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Virginia Commonwealth University on Monday celebrated and congratulated the 179 faculty members who were awarded promotion or tenure in 2020 in recognition of their academic and career accomplishments, their service to the university and community, and their dedication to student success.

“This is a momentous occasion in the life of any university. It’s one that shows the success and commitment of its faculty, the depths of our engagement and learning, the commitments we all make to each other,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., in a video message to the faculty members. “Thank you for being committed to the right of inquiry and the pursuit of truth and for accepting the responsibility to teach our students to challenge convention and traditional modes of human thought.”

Tenure and promotion, he said, recognize faculty members’ commitment to working together and to objectively, knowledgably and passionately address issues that matter most to humanity.

“This is a day where we, at VCU, celebrate our commitment to answering some of humanity’s greatest questions, to figuring out where we’re going together, to listen to and learn from those around us, to really, truly trying to understand each other, to working across barriers in collaboration, to solving the real problems that all real human beings face,” Rao said.

VCU normally celebrates faculty members who have earned promotions and tenure with an annual event. This year, because of the pandemic, university leaders marked the occasion virtually.

Gail Hackett, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, is responsible for reviewing and approving promotion and tenure for VCU faculty. The yearlong review process highlighted faculty members’ extensive scholarship, dedication to service and impressive achievements in teaching and research, she said.

“Research universities like VCU are places where scholars like you can challenge preconceptions in every discipline. You are the heart of this university,” Hackett said in a video message. “You are the key to our students’ success, you hold the answers to what matters most in our society, and you are the steady force that is vital to solving the world’s problems. Your advancement through promotion and tenure gives you more than the platform to focus on difficult issues — it gives you the responsibility.”

Arthur L. Kellermann, M.D., senior vice president and CEO of VCU Health System, recognized his outstanding colleagues from across the health sciences who earned promotion or tenure.

“With your combined talent and energy, our great university will continue to improve health, advance knowledge, educate high achievers and assure the commonwealth’s economic prosperity. I know the best is yet to come,” he said. “I am proud of each of you for your accomplishments and honored to be your colleague. What a tremendous milestone to reach, particularly in the midst of a global pandemic. You truly make a difference.”