University College News & Events
January 23, 2024
“Memory Wars,” a six-part podcast series that explores how societies confront their difficult histories and sin, has been selected as the 2024-25 VCU Common Book. It is the first podcast selected in the decade-plus history of the Virginia Commonwealth University program, which introduces first-year students to complex social issues through a common text.
December 11, 2023
University College’s Interdisciplinary Studies Program graduated 59 students Friday, December 8 at its Fall 2023 graduation ceremony held at the Singleton Center for Performing Arts on Virginia Commonwealth University's Monroe Park campus.
November 13, 2023
How does a city tell its story to residents and visitors? To explore a question that has challenged Richmond like few other American locales, VCU’s Hilary Levinson and her students took a trip … to Italy.
October 12, 2023
College can be a lonely time of change, but instead of feeling overwhelmed, students can make it a launching point for who they will become, author Kristen Radtke told a Virginia Commonwealth University audience on Wednesday.
September 25, 2023
Richard Quarshie is the Senior Advisor for the Interdisciplinary Studies Program in University College. He has been with IDS and the College since 2019 where he has helped advise hundreds of IDS students navigate their college careers and earn their Bachelor's of Interdisciplinary Studies.
May 22, 2023
University College donated more than 350 copies of previous Common Books to several high schools in the City of Richmond, where the texts will be used in courses aimed at teaching critical thinking and writing.
May 15, 2023
University College’s Interdisciplinary Studies Program graduated its largest class–92 students– to date Friday, Mat 12 at the Singleton Center for Performing Arts on Virginia Commonwealth University’s Monroe Park Campus.
April 26, 2023
Class of 2023: Frustrated on the traditional college path, Kian Thornton pivoted in a direction all his own
Kian Thornton nearly dropped out of Virginia Commonwealth University, but a conversation with faculty members turned everything around.
April 20, 2023
Nikki Fernandes, an instructor in University College’s Department of Focused Inquiry, has received the Presidential Award for Community Multicultural Enrichment for faculty–one of the highest honors bestowed to faculty by the university.
April 14, 2023
When Akhila Kunuthuru first came to Virginia Commonwealth University to tour it as a prospective student, the university and the city of Richmond made a strong impression on her. She found a place that was vibrant and exciting, diverse and community oriented.
April 11, 2023
Class of 2023: IDS Student Finds Her footing with an Interdisciplinary Approach and a New Interest in Research
In the end, things have a way of working out – that’s one adage that Emma Geisler, a Virginia Commonwealth University Honors College student who will graduate this spring with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from University College, knows from experience.
April 10, 2023
Two students in University College’s Department of Focused Inquiry have been announced as winners in the Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries Jurgen Comics Contest for work created UNIV 200, the last course in the three-semester Focused Inquiry sequence.
March 21, 2023
With every emergence of a new tool can come some anxiety about what change this tool will bring forth, but that has not happened in University College's Department of Focused Inquiry. Some faculty within the deaprtment have already started adapting and integrating the use of ChatGPT–an artificial intelligence chatbot–as well as other artificial intelligence technologies into their classrooms in an attempt to utilize the tools and encourage its use for writing and editing purposes.
March 1, 2023
Q Hildebrand-Travis, a long-time Peer Mentor in the University College Focused Inquiry Leaning Lounge, answers some questions about her time as a Peer Mentor, what the role has given her personally and professionally and what's next for her after graduating this spring!
January 31, 2023
“Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness,” a graphic nonfiction book by award-winning author Kristen Radtke that documents the “silent epidemic of loneliness” in American society, has been chosen as the 2023 Virginia Commonwealth University Common Book.
December 12, 2022
The Virginia Commonwealth University Interdisciplinary Studies program, which is under the VCU University College, conferred 64 Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (B.I.S.) degrees at the Fall 2022 IDS commencement ceremony, which took place Saturday, December 10 at the Singleton Center for Performing Arts on VCU’s Monroe Park campus.
November 29, 2022
Two Focused Inquiry Professors Introduce, Find Success with Alternative Grading Model for First, Second-Year Students
It can be startling for a student to come into a class and be told there is no grade, per se. It's an unthinkable concept for a lot of students because it is the polar opposite of their classroom experience up to that point.
November 18, 2022
Virginia Commonwealth University juniors Corinne Rapp and Joe Cambria call it kismet that they were stationed at the same U. S. Army base in Germany when they first met via the dating app Tinder.
October 12, 2022
In writing “The Organ Thieves: The Shocking Story of the First Heart Transplant in the Segregated South,” author and journalist Chip Jones had one goal: To tell the story of how Bruce Tucker was “ensnared in a deadly web of medical research at the old Medical College in Virginia, only to be discarded into the dustbin of history.”
October 10, 2022
Katelyn Harlow’s favorite thing is to watch the metaphorical light come on in a student’s head when she is helping them through something. It’s what makes her job satisfying and what makes her believe that her peer-to-peer support position has a lasting and positive impact.
August 22, 2022
Katy Hanggi, Ph.D., was selected from a national pool of candidates to lead the Department of Focused Inquiry, which was founded in 2007 to help first-year students develop the skills and knowledge needed for collegiate and lifelong success through learning-centered experiences. Hanggi’s appointment as Focused Inquiry’s new chair became official on July 12.
May 16, 2022
University College’s Interdisciplinary Studies program conferred 81 Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (B.I.S.) degrees at the Spring 2022 IDS commencement ceremony, which took place Friday, May 13 in the Harris Hall Auditorium.
April 27, 2022
It has always made the most sense to Haya Hamid to find a way to merge her interests and passions — despite their differences — to achieve her goals and help those around her.
March 30, 2022
Two Focused Inquiry faculty members are helping lead an interdisciplinary humanities research group that uses memory studies to examine historical and social events around issues of race, power, physical structures both in Richmond and across the world.
February 28, 2022
Focused Inquiry Professor Creates Writing Collective, Book Club for High School Students in Richmond Area
Lindsay Chudzik wants to be, for all of her students, what she needed when she was younger. Chudzik, an associate professor in University College’s Department of Focused Inquiry, wants to help show her students—like she wishes her past teachers would have—that literature does not have to just be a smattering of dead white men.
January 27, 2022
The award-winning book by Pulitzer-nominated journalist Chip Jones examines a long legacy of mistreating African Americans, culminating in efforts to win the heart transplant race in the late 1960s.
December 13, 2021
University College’s Interdisciplinary Studies program conferred 67 Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (B.I.S.) degrees at the Fall 2021 IDS commencement ceremony, which took place Saturday, December 11 in the Harris Hall Auditorium.
December 7, 2021
Katelyn Harlow knew that after she completed the core Focused Inquiry courses UNIV 111, UNIV 112 and UNIV 200 that she was starting to find herself and that Focused Inquiry was largely responsible for helping her develop as a writer and communicator.
October 28, 2021
Tanya Boucicaut, an assistant professor in the University College Department of Focused Inquiry, has collaborated with TED-Ed— a youth and education initiative from the TED media organization—to write the script and corresponding lesson for an educational animated video around the acclaimed 1937 novel, “Their Eyes Were Watching God.”
October 26, 2021
Imanee Martin was exhausted. Every major she tried did not feel like the right fit. She had changed majors six times—going from pre-med her first year to fashion merchandising to creative advertising with others in between. Nothing seemed to gel and she was close to dropping out.
October 11, 2021
The Common Book Program has named five students as winners in the Cli-Fi Creativity Contest, which asked students to create a piece of art inspired by this year’s Common Book “Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore” by Elizabeth Rush.
October 7, 2021
Elizabeth Rush, author of "Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore," will deliver a virtual keynote address on Wednesday, October 13. The address was origianlly scheduled to happen at the Siegel Center, but to better align with COVID-19 protocols it was moved to be offered only in a virtual setting.
September 29, 2021
Vineeta Singh, Ph.D. talks about why she is excited to join the IDS program and the VCU community.
September 17, 2021
After more than 14 years with the Department of Focused Inquiry, Melissa Johnson, Ph.D. is leaving University College for an exciting new opportunity.
September 10, 2021
Two UC Faculty Members Chosen as Collaboratory Fellows to work with Historic African-American Cemeteries in Richmond's East End
Two University College faculty members, Ywone Edwards-Ingram, Ph.D. and Micahel Rackett, Ph.D., have been selected as Collaboratory Fellows for the East End Cemetery Collaboratory for 2021-2022 to help produce scholarship that “contributes to community dialogue about our collective past.”
Septmber 1, 2021
The Common Book Program will host a three-part speaker series on the subject of climate change. Discussions will be led by VCU faculty from a variety of disciplines.
August 20, 2021
University College has launched a new minor to help students develop the eight skills employers look for when hiring.