The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing is committed to ensuring diversity and inclusion among our students, staff and faculty. As a community of scholars and lifelong learners, we value diversity in its many forms and believe that a diverse and inclusive community makes for a better working and learning environment. We are committed to achieving meaningful and intentional diversity and inclusion in nursing education, research, scholarship, practice and service. Our VCU School of Nursing Diversity Plan outlines are priorities in these areas.
Diversity is one of the five major themes embedded in our school’s five-year strategic plan – Beyond 125: Connecting Our Legacy to the Future. Each year we create a strategic action plan to guide our operations. Diversity, equity and inclusion is one of the three areas of focus in the Beyond 125 Action Plan for FY2020-21.
Jean Giddens, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean and professor, shares a video message discussing how our school is working to help eliminate racism and ensure equity in our environment and the curriculum.
Fall 2020 Actions
- Our school began the process of auditing and enhancing its undergraduate curriclum to address racial equity concerns students raised earlier this fall.
- Our Development Office hosted a panel discussion in September on “Accepting the call: Nurses’ ethical obligation to confront bias and inequity in health care and the profession” for alumni, our school and the university and VCU Health community.
- Our leadership, faculty and students planned a town hall style panel discussion in September on “Nurses’ Role in Social Justice for Black, Indigenous and People of Color” for students, faculty and staff.
- In kicking off our School of Nursing Lectureship Series for this fall, we hosted a virtual forum featuring Dr. Kupiri Ackerman-Barger, associate dean for Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and associate clinical professor at the University of California Davis Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, in October discussing “How Nurses Can Promote Health Equity Through a Framework of Cultural Humility.”
- We shared a video message from Dean Jean Giddens on our school's commitment to DEI on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's Gallery of Leadership Diversity Segment in November.
Spring 2021 Actions
- Our school hosted Susan Kools, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, associate dean of diversity and inclusion at the UVA School of Nursing, who presented on "Transforming Our Culture: Becoming an Anti-Racist School" on Jan. 22 as part of our 2021 Lectureship Series. Kools shared insight on how UVA has focused on becoming an anti-racist school through using best practices to improve faculty, staff and student diversity and working to promote an engaged and respectful community for all. The presentation is available here.
- Celebrating February as Black History Month - Virtual lectures and discussions - including VCU alumni panels and a talk about Richmond's African American cemeteries - highlight this year's university events for Black History month, which recognizes achievements of African Americans.
Our school participated in virtual listening sessions in March that provided an opportunity to talk about recent events discriminating against Asian American and Pacific Islanders.
- Our school participated in virtual listening sessions in April held following the Derek Chauvin verdict to provide a forum to talk about recent events and share lived experiences.
Student diversity at the School of Nursing increased from 25.5% to in 2013 to 36% in 2020.