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Academic Excellence

The University will provide students the knowledge, insight, and skills needed to understand, contribute to, and lead in a rapidly changing world, and it will embrace and support the production of high-quality scholarship.

A University of Richmond education will stimulate intellectual and personal growth, connect theory with practice, and offer the inspiration of the liberal arts and the ability to approach problems thoughtfully, critically, ethically, and creatively. Every undergraduate student will have the opportunity to enter into an intellectually engaging first-year experience based on the University’s values; ascend through living-learning, community-based, and international exposure; and pursue faculty-mentored research and internships to graduate enriched and fully prepared for challenging and fulfilling lives. In every school, a Richmond education will chart a course for transformational learning from student acceptance to graduation. That education will take place within a vibrant intellectual community that supports the production of high-quality scholarly and creative work and engages students as active partners in that work. 

Initiatives

  • Develop a signature first-year experience that will immerse undergraduate students into our intellectual community and set them on a purposeful, ambitious path of inquiry and achievement in the classroom and in their personal development.
  • Ensure that our curriculum provides students with the best possible preparation for lifelong learning, success in their chosen profession, and meaningful contributions to addressing the world’s problems. 
  • Encourage and support the production of excellent scholarly and creative work.
  • Support a robust intellectual community inside and outside the classroom, including innovations in the use of campus spaces, the structures of campus life, and the visibility of scholarly and creative accomplishments.
  • Create institutional structures to support an enhanced culture of writing, so that Richmond graduates in all disciplines are recognizable by their proficiency in this area.
  • Strengthen and expand faculty development opportunities to support inclusive pedagogy and continuing faculty innovation in the classroom.
  • Support areas of academic strength that take advantage of our disciplinary breadth to address the world’s problems from multiple perspectives. Areas of emphasis could include ethics, sustainability, entrepreneurship, data analytics, and areas of law and public policy.

Progress Highlights

Updated 2/19

At the heart of our enterprise is an unwavering commitment to providing every student with the knowledge and skills they need to live lives of purpose. To that end, we have launched a number of initiatives to advance our vibrant intellectual community.

  • Our institutional investment in the creation of the Office of Scholars and Fellowships continues to yield impressive results, including the record eight Fulbright Students selected in 2018 and 15 Fulbright semifinalists for 2019, the University’s first Schwarzman Scholar, and continued success with Gilman awards. Recently, the University was among the 11 institutions in the country included on the list of U.S. colleges and universities that produced both the most Fulbright U.S. Students and Fulbright U.S. Scholars in 2018–19. 
  • Many faculty are actively engaged in faculty development initiatives. The Teaching and Scholarship Initiative, a cross-school effort to design a faculty development program that supports excellence in teaching and scholarship, issued its report in February 2019, a key step toward a plan to be implemented in the 2019–20 academic year; the Inclusive Pedagogy Cohort, which has engaged faculty across disciplines to explore innovative practices in excellent teaching and to help ensure an educationally inclusive experience for students of all backgrounds, will offer a summer training program to share findings with the broader campus community; and the Program on Academic Leadership continues with its offerings designed to equip faculty for leadership at all levels of the University.
  • To ensure our curriculum provides students with the best possible preparation, the General Education Curriculum Review Committee has been consulting extensively with colleagues to assess the current curriculum and exploring the experience of students and recent graduates, in anticipation of presenting its assessment report at the March 2019 Faculty Senate meeting.
  • With strong leadership from faculty and Deans, we are bolstering areas of academic strength. Our Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship initiative is supporting faculty experimenting with creative approaches to collaborative teaching and has launched the UR Innovation Fellows program, through which students will develop ideas for enhancing CIE at Richmond while participating in an international fellows program organized by Stanford University. In response to increasing demand across majors for entrepreneurial coursework, the Robins School of Business has introduced an entrepreneurship minor, available to interested undergraduate students from Arts & Sciences and Leadership Studies majors, and more than 20 students are already engaged. We have also created a new Ethics Suite in Jepson Hall, which will serve as a hub for teaching and ethics-related initiatives; have been successfully securing generous gift funding for our Integrated Inclusive Science initiative, including support for additional summer research opportunities for our students; and based on strong interest across our schools, are exploring opportunities in data science.
  • Much has been accomplished with respect to enhancing the first-year experience of our students. The Richmond Endeavor, our innovative living-learning experience for first-year students, is in its pilot year, with 60 students participating in four communities. We are poised to expand the program to six communities (96 students) in fall 2019, and to 14 communities (224 students) in five years. These communities forge vital relationships among peers and with professors, equipping students to make the most of their UR experience.
  • The First-Year Experience Advisory Committee (approximately 20 faculty, staff, and students) has begun developing a “signature first-year experience,” focusing initially on enriching New Student Orientation, academic advising, peer mentoring, and integration of all first-year experience components.

Highlighted Accomplishments