Board to review president Rao’s performance this month

Hannah Khan
Contributing Writer

VCU president Michael Rao will receive a professional development review by the VCU Board of Visitors during the week of April 21.

In accordance with the VCU Board policy, the review is scheduled every three years and will assess Rao’s leadership qualities, effectiveness in carrying out the VCU mission, communication skills, management abilities, collaboration and stewardship, according to an email sent to the students by the VCU rector’s office.

“(The Board of Visitors) assures that the university is enhancing in its specific goals,” said Pamela Lepley, a VCU spokesperson.

On the Board of Visitors are Thomas F. Farrell II, CEO of Dominion Power, Kay Coles James, president and founder of the Gloucester Institute, and Richard Wagoner Jr., the former chairperson and CEO of General Motors, among others.

“Board representatives in the past have said publicly that they are pleased with president Rao’s leadership,” said Anne Buckley, a university spokesperson. “This year’s review seeks input from the entire VCU community.”

During his presidency at VCU, Rao has implemented many new programs like RamCamp, VCU’s freshman leadership program, as well as VCU’s srategic plan, the Quest for Distinction. During the program, Rao spoke to incoming freshman about leadership at VCU.

The review will be conducted by Patricia Cormier, Ph.D., president emerita of Longwood University.

Buckley said that all employee evaluations, including Rao’s, are confidential and will not be publicly available.

Lepley said she highly encourages students and faculty to submit their comments and suggestions for consideration during the review.

“The feedback from the community is definitely a factor to be taken into consideration,” Lepley said. “The goal is to get a more comprehensive review of how our university is doing.”

“He is a really easy-going person,” said freshman biology major Rachelle Dietzel. “He’s done a lot so far for the students and it seems like he really tries to connect with students to make the school better.”

In the future Dietzel said she hopes Rao finds more ways to unite VCU’s large campus.

“VCU is such a large community and I think a goal of the president should be to make it like a second home to students,” Dietzel said. “The only thing I would suggest to Dr. Rao to improve his presidency is to be more active on campus so the students recognize him by face.”

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