Becoming the College of Engineering: FAQs

Introducing the VCU College of Engineering

On April 26, 2018, Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Engineering announced that it changed its name to the VCU College of Engineering. The name change reflects the college’s increase in programs, research, faculty and student census, and supports its mission to advance a collaborative, creative and entrepreneurial engineering culture.

What’s the difference between a school and a college?

VCU defines a college as a large academic unit with a broad scope of degree-granting programs covering multiple disciplines. In general, a school is focused on research and degree programs. A college offers degrees and conducts advanced research, as well, but is also focused on building connections for economic development and community partnerships.

Why did we change our name and logo?

VCU’s engineering program has seen remarkable expansion since its founding in 1996. It now offers six undergraduate degrees, six master’s degrees (plus a Master of Product Innovation degree affiliated with the VCU da Vinci Center) and five doctoral programs. It also houses four interdisciplinary centers and institutes: the VCU Institute for Engineering and Medicine, the VCU Nanomaterials Core Characterization Facility, the C. Kenneth and Dianne Harris Wright Virginia Microelectronics Center and the Medicines for All Institute. Between 2013 and 2017, the number of engineering faculty has doubled and extramural research funding has quadrupled.

Whose decision was it to change the name?

The college’s administration and faculty first began discussions about a possible name change and submitted a formal proposal to VCU. When the proposal was approved at the university level, it was submitted to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) for final approval.    

When did this change take place?

SCHEV approved the name change to be effective April 15, 2018.

What has changed at the VCU College of Engineering and what has remained the same?

There are no changes to the college’s staff, leadership or budget as a result of the name change. The title change to college recognizes the breadth and scope of the engineering program’s activities and more clearly communicates the expansive role it plays in the region and state. It also broadens the college’s current and future platforms for engineering research, student engagement and degree programs, economic development and organizational partnerships.

What’s new and exciting at the VCU College of Engineering?

A new 133,000 square-foot Engineering Research Building is underway and will open in 2020. The facility will support advanced research, student innovation and economic development initiatives. The college’s robust sponsored research program with collaborations across the Monroe Park and VCU Health campuses, and the Virginia Bio+Tech Park continues to grow. Recently the college received a $25 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish the Medicines for All Institute and a major gift from Altria to foster the college’s development of a maker culture, which promotes active, hands-on, collaborative learning.