VCU president Dr. Michael Rao addressed the Monroe Park Student Government Association at the first meeting of the year Monday afternoon.
Rao reminded and updated the SGA on the progress of VCU’s six-year plan, titled “Quest for Distinction.” The plan outlines the university’s various goals to retain VCU’s stature as a high-ranked public university and research facility.
He explained how the university’s leaders pay attention to what works best for the students, including the effect that interaction with instructors has on a student’s education.
“I think … you’ll have a better chance if you are, in almost any discipline, engaging with faculty members,” Rao said.
In order to fulfill this goal, Rao told the SGA he would be looking to add 30 more faculty members to the VCU community – a difficult feat after losing $45 million.
Rao said that since 2008 when he took his position as president at VCU, the university has lost $63.5 million and most recently lost $45 million of that this past summer.
“The theme is really very clear,” Rao told the SGA.
“It’s focused on taking the university to the next level, particularly on (the students’) level.”
Rao told the group of student senators and leaders that a large part of achieving this goal was to make sure that students selected to come to VCU are students that can be successful with what resources the university can offer.
“We need to be realistic about the resources we do have and don’t have,” Rao told the group.
“Every dollar we get out of tuition, we’re dedicating every cent to some for of academic quality, whether it’s faculty positions or student financial assistance,” Rao assured the SGA.
“It’s some form of academic quality to ensure that students can be successful.”