With an enrollment of approximately 14,000 students, the College of Humanities and Sciences forms the heart of VCU’s Monroe Park Campus. Review our quick facts below to find out more about us and our commitment to providing excellence in both undergraduate and graduate programs.
Approximately 14,000 currently enrolled students, including just under 60% of all undergraduates at VCU and just under 50% of all VCU students.
Over 52,000 alumni (25 percent of all VCU alumni)
More than 450 total full-time faculty members
2,646 bachelor’s degrees
141 master’s degrees
22 undergraduate post-baccalaureate certificates
4 graduate post-baccalaureate certificates
Two schools and nineteen departments and programs make up the College of Humanities and Sciences:
Dr. M. Samy El-Shall (Chemistry) was the winner of VCU’s University Award of Excellence announced by President Michael Rao at the University’s 34th annual Opening Faculty Address and Convocation.
Ronald Evans (Kinesiology and Health Sciences) was named a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, recognizing his professional achievement and competence in the related disciplines of sports medicine via education, published works, and professional practice. ACSM advances and integrates scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.
Dr. Montse Fuentes (Dean, College of Humanities and Sciences/Statistical Science and Operations Research) was named a recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Achievement Medal for the American Statistical Association’s Section on Statistics and the Environment. The Distinguished Achievement Medals of the ASA Section on Statistics and the Environment (ENVR) highlight and recognize outstanding contributions to the development of methods, issues, concepts, applications, and initiatives of environmental statistics.
Dr. Mary Beth Heller (Psychology) along with Dr. Donna Gibson (VCU School of Education), helped the City of Richmond Department of Fire and Emergency Services start up a peer-support network. This will help fellow firefighters and emergency responders help their colleagues who struggle with dealing with trauma and other challenges they might face while on the job. Both Dr. Heller and Dr. Gibson led a 2-day training session at the fire department’s headquarters. Nationally, one out of every five firefighters and paramedics have post-traumatic stress disorder.
Dr. Chioke I’Anson (African American Studies) became a featured voice on NPR stations across the country. He is one of NPR’s two voices of underwriting, reaching 30 million listeners weekly.
Dr. J. Randy Koch (Psychology) was selected as the 2016 National Institute on Drug Abuse International Program Excellence in Mentoring Award winner. Recipients of the award demonstrate exceptional guidance to help NIDA fellows achieve research independence and are leaders in the institute’s efforts to develop an international community of scientists who exchange information and collaborate on drug abuse research nationally, regionally and globally.
Dr. Paul Perrin (Psychology) received the Samuel M. Turner Early Career Award for Distinguished Contributions to Diversity in Clinical Psychology. This award is conferred annually to an early career psychologist who has made exemplary contributions to diversity within the field.
Dr. Karen Rader (History) was named recipient of the Media Ecology Association’s 2016 Lewis Mumford Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Technics for her book, Life on Display: Revolutionizing U.S. Museums of Science and Natural History in the Twentieth Century, written with Victoria Cain of Northeastern University.
Dr. Tal Simmons (Forensic Science) worked with Amnesty International to investigate atrocities committed in Nigeria and South Sudan. In her written report for Amnesty International, she provided the investigators with the victims’ likely ages and sex. Dr. Simmons is a forensic anthropologist and an expert in postmortem interval estimation — estimating time-since-death.
Dr. Gregory Smithers (History) won gold in the multicultural (nonfiction) book category of the 2017 Independent Publisher Book Awards for his book, The Cherokee Diaspora: An Indigenous History of Migration, Resettlement, and Identity. The Independent Publisher Book Awards honor the year’s best independently published titles from around the world. His book previously won the Historical Book Award from the North Carolina Society of Historians and the Award of Excellence in Scholarship from the East Tennessee Historical Society. It was also a finalist for the 2016 Oklahoma Book Award, Nonfiction.
Dr. David Wojahn (English) received the literary magazine Shenandoah’s James Boatwright III Prize for Poetry, which is awarded to the best poem published in the journal during the previous year. His winning poem, Briefe Historie of the Noose in the Colonie of Virginia, will appear in his collection of poetry, “For the Scribe,” to be published by the University of Pittsburgh Press.
Dr. Kirk Warren Brown (Psychology) edited the first-ever volume dedicated to hypo-egoic phenomena with co-editor Mark Leary, PhD, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. The Oxford Handbook of Hypo-egoic Phenomena, (Oxford University Press), offers investigations into a variety of phenomena that collectively have widespread implications for personal, social, and societal welfare.
Dr. Jessica Salvatore, assistant professor of Psychology, received a new 5 year grant for her study of Genetics, Romantic Relationships and Alcohol Misuse in Emerging Adulthood. She hopes to help deepen our understanding of how genetic factors and close relationship factors come together to predict alcohol misuse.
Dr. Bryce McLeod, associate professor of Psychology, received a R21 grant from NIH/NIMH for Development of a Pragmatic Treatment Integrity Instrument for Child Therapy. The objective of the two-year grant is to develop a practical, short, and easy to use observational treatment integrity instrument capable of assessing the extent to which a therapist delivers cognitive behavioral therapy for youth anxiety with integrity and skill.
Dr. Everett Worthington, Commonwealth professor of Psychology, was named a recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. This statewide honor recognizes excellence in teaching, research, knowledge integration and public service and has been bestowed annually since 1987 to faculty members of Virginia’s public and private institutions. He also published his newest edited book, Forgiveness and Health: Scientific Evidence and Theories Relating Forgiveness to Better Health. The volume collects the state-of-the-art research on forgiveness and mental and physical health and well-being.
Dr. Joshua Langberg, associate professor of Psychology, and his doctoral student, Melissa Dvorsky, received a grant from Virginia Youth Tobacco Projects (VYTP) to fund their project, Factors Against Tobacco Use During the Transition to College for Adolescents With and Without ADHD, which will follow 150 adolescents (75 with ADHD) across the transition from high school to college to evaluate promotive and protective factors that may buffer the risks for tobacco use.
Dr. Nicholas Farrell, professor in the Department of Chemistry, was the recipient of the 2015 Distinguished Research Award from the VA Section of the American Chemical Society. His nomination from Dr. M. Samy El-Shall highlighted his research, innovation and scientific leadership.
Catherine Ingrassia, Professor of English, recently won the American Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) Innovative Course Design Competition. The competition promotes excellence in teaching at the undergraduate level
Dr. Marcus Messner, associate professor of journalism in the Robertson School, was presented with a national teaching award from the Association for Education of Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). He received the award along with Jeanine Guidry, a second year Ph.D. student, for their six-week global health and social media class.
Dr. Faye Belgrave, professor in the Department of Psychology, was named the senior career recipient of the American Psychological Association’s Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest. She was also awarded a 5-year research grant from SAMHSA to strengthen capacity to provide comprehensive HIV and substance abuse prevention services to young African American adults in the area. This is Dr. Belgrave’s 8th grant as PI and 9th as Co-PI.
Garry Glaspell, research assistant professor in the department of Chemistry, was recently named the 2015 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Researcher of the Year. Garry was recognized for his development of a prototype for a non-pyrotechnic daylight visible tracer that possesses the advantages of a non-pyrotechnic approach but is bright enough to see in daylight.
Karen Rader, associate professor in the Department of History, and her co-author, Victoria Cain, have been honored by the History of Education Society with the society’s 2015 Book Prize for their book, Life on Display: Revolutionizing U.S. Museums of Science & Natural History in the Twentieth Century.
Dr. Ravi Perry, associate professor of Political Science, was recently elected to lead the National Association for Ethnic Studies (NAES). Ravi is an activist scholar with specializations in Black politics, minority representation, LGBT politics, civil rights, social movements, and urban politics.
Dr. Christopher Brooks, professor in the School of World Studies, was selected as the 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award’s Gold Medal Winner in the category of Performing Arts for his book,Roland Hayes The Legacy of an American Tenor.
Sally Hunnicutt, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, and Thomas Eissenberg, professor in the Department of Psychology, were winners of VCU’s Distinguished Faculty Awards. Sally received the Distinguished Teaching Award and Tom received the Distinguished Scholarship Award at the 33rd Annual Faculty Convocation on Tuesday, August 18th, 2015.
Assistant professor of Chemistry Indika Arachchige and associate professor of Physics Denis Demchenko were awarded $1.16M from NSF to study novel materials for semiconductors.
Faculty in the department of Forensic Science, including associate Pprofessor Tracey Dawson Cruz, associate professor Chris Ehrhardt and associate professor Michelle Peace received a total of $833K from the National Institute for Justice to study DNA from archived fingerprints, three-Dimensional Craniofacial Variation in Modern Americans and “Personal Vaporizers” as an Illicit Drug Delivery System
Joshua Langberg, associate professor of Psychology, was a recipient of a 4-year intervention grant from the Institute of Education Sciences to examine the Educational and Social-Emotional Functioning of College Students with ADHD.
Biology faculty including associate professor Rima Franklin, assistant professor Scott Neubauer and professor Bonnie Brown were awarded an National Science Foundation grant to study climate change effects on microbial community composition in coastal ecosystems.
A team of researchers led by Thomas Eissenberg, professor of psychology and director of the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products, continue an $18.1 million federal grant to study modified risk tobacco products, such as electronic cigarettes. This work will help inform United States tobacco regulatory policy.
Andrew Eckert, assistant professor of Biology was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to study the effects of climate change on the southwestern white pine.
Faculty from the Department of Psychology including associate professor Terri Sullivan and professor Al Farrell, were Principal Investigators on a 4 year $2.7M grant from the National Institute of Justice to study the Effectiveness and Sustainability of the Olweus Bullying Prevention in middle schools across the country.
Mathematics faculty Sean Cox and Dan Cranston, received an award from the Simons Foundation for a Collaborative Grant for Mathematicians.
Brian Daugherity, Assistant Professor of History was a co-PI on a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide school teachers with an in-depth look at civil rights in Virginia.
Ed Acevedo, chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, was inducted as a Fellow into the National Academy of Kinesiology at its 84th annual meeting.
Christopher Brooks, professor in the School of World Studies, was selected as the 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award’s Gold Medal Winner in the category of Performing Arts for his book, Roland Hayes The Legacy of an American Tenor.
Rosalie Corona, associate professor in Department of Psychology, was the recipient of a VCU Presidential Award for Community Multicultural Enrichment (PACME) and the 2015 American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship Program Dalmas Taylor Award.
Tom De Haven, professor in the Department of English, was presented the University Award of Excellence at the 32nd Opening Faculty Address and Convocation on Wednesday, August 20 at the Siegel Center. This award is the highest honor the university can bestow, and is awarded only to an exceptional individual who has distinguished themselves and our university through their commitment to excellence, innovation and service.
Carolyn Eastman was awarded a residential fellowship from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities to study the international history of the media in the 19th century. She also received a research fellowship from the Library Company of Philadelphia/Historical Society of Pennsylvania, as well as a Franklin Grant from the American Philosophical Society to fund research in the United Kingdom.
Adam Ewing, assistant professor in the Department of African American Studies, was awarded the Bernath Book Prize by The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations for his first book, The Age of Garvey.
Albert Farrell, professor in the Department of Psychology and director of the Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development, was honored by The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia as a recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Faculty Award. The awards, which are the highest honor for faculty at Virginia’s public and private colleges and universities, recognize superior accomplishments in teaching, research and public service.
Richard Godbeer, director of the Humanities Research Center, was elected to the National Advisory Council for the National LGBT Museum, dedicated to sharing the heritage of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Melis Hafez, assistant professor in the Department of History, was awarded an American Research Institute in Turkey (ARIT) NEH Fellowship for 2015-2016.
Puru Jena, distinguished professor in the Department of Physics, was recently named one of three Virginia’s Outstanding Scientists of 2015 by Governor Terry McAuliffe. Dr. Jena was honored for his significant contributions to the theoretical understanding of nanomaterials with potential applications in clean energy, medicine and information technology.
Jason Merrick, professor in the Department of Statistical Sciences and Operations Research, was awarded the Prize for the Teaching of Operations Research/ Management Sciences Practice by The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS).
June Nicholson, professor in the Robertson School of Media and Culture, was recipient of the 2014 Outstanding Woman Journalism and Mass Communication Educator by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Commission on the Status of Women (AEJMC).
Christina Stanciu, assistant professor in the Department of English, was awarded an American Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship by the AAUW (American Association of University Women) for the academic year 2015-2016.
Everett Worthington, professor in the Department of Psychology, was named a Commonwealth Professor by the VCU Board of Visitors — one of the highest distinctions that the board can bestow upon a VCU faculty member.
Claire Bourne, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of English, has been awarded a Charlton B. Hinman fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. for the 2014-15 academic year. Claire will spend the year working on her book-in-progress, Set Forth As It Hath Been Played: Printing the Performance in Early Modern England.
Susann Cokal, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of English, has received a Michael L. Printz silver medal for her latest novel, Kingdom of Little Wounds. This award, sponsored by Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association, honors literary excellence in young adult literature.
Amanda Dickinson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology, was awarded a $700,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award for her research on Pulling the Mouth Open: Coordinating orofacial tissue growth and epithelial integrity to form the embryonic mouth. CAREER awards are the most prestigious awards a young investigator can receive at the NSF.
Carolyn Eastman, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of History, was named a Distinguished Lecturer by the Organization of American Historians for 2014-2017. Her research examines how men and women engaged with publications, oratory, and visual imagery during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She is also the author of the prizewinning A Nation of Speechifiers: Making an American Public after the Revolution.
M. Samy El-Shall, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Chemistry, was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Albert D. Farrell, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Psychology, was given the University Award of Excellence at the 2013 Fall Convocation.
Joshua Langberg, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology, and co-investigator Albert D. Farrell, Ph.D., Professor in the Dept. of Psychology, will be leading a $2.4 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences to compare two different school-based interventions and determine which one may offer the most effective approach to dealing with ADHD.
David Latané, Ph.D., Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of English, was awarded the Robert and Vineta Colby Scholarly Book Prize by the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals for William Maginn and the British Press: A Critical Biography.
Kathryn Meier, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of History, was awarded the 2014 Wiley-Silver prize for best first book in Civil War History by The Center for Civil War Research at the University of Mississippi for her book, Nature’s Civil War: Common Soldiers and the Environment in 1862 Virginia.
Karen Rader, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of History and director of the Science, Technology & Society Program, was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Jeff South, Associate Professor in the Robertson School of Media and Culture and director of the Capital News Service, was awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to teach at Northeast Normal University (NENU) in Changchun, China for the Spring 2014 semester.
Christina Stanciu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of English, was awarded an NEH Summer Seminar Fellowship, Bridging National Borders in North America, offered by the Dr. William Scholl Center for American History and Culture at Newberry Library.
Shawn Utsey, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Psychology, received a Fulbright Scholar grant to collaborate with faculty, staff and students at the Sinomlando Center for Oral History and Memory Work (Sinomlando Center) at the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) in Pietermaritzburg to conduct oral histories with survivors and their families of apartheid-era ethnoviolence.
Everett Worthington, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Psychology, was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters degree by the Board of Regents of Pepperdine University recognizing his outstanding work as a Psychologist. He was also Pepperdine’s commencement speaker to the entire University on May 17, 2014.
Everett Carpenter, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry, and his Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E) team were selected to participate in the National Science Foundation’s innovation-corps program.
Andrew Chesnut, Ph.D., Bishop Walter Sullivan Chair of Catholic Studies and Professor of Religious Studies in the School of World Studies, was one of the most widely quoted experts at VCU in national and international media. International interest in Santa Muerte, the subject of his book Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint, along with his expertise as a Latin American Christianity scholar, led to him having several hundred media hits in major media outlets.
Thomas Eissenberg, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, was appointed to serve as a member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections.
Samy El-Shall, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry, was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Dr. El-Shall also delivered a Jefferson Science Fellows lecture, “Nanoscale Materials for Energy Applications and New Opportunities for Middle East Regional Cooperation,” at the U.S. Department of State.
Nicholas Farrell, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry, was elected into the Brazilian Academy of Science.
Harrison Candelaria Fletcher, Assistant Professor of English, won the 2013 Colorado Book Award in Creative Nonfiction and the 2013 Independent Book Publisher Bronze Medal for his memoir Descanso for My Father: Fragments of a Life. Shiv Khanna, Ph.D., Commonwealth Professor of Physics, received an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia.
Clint McCown, Professor of English, was awarded the 2013 Midwest Book Award recognizing his novel Haints as the best work of literary fiction for 2012.
Marcus Messner, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Journalism, was awarded one of four Emerging Scholars Grants from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) for 2013-2014.
Suzanne Ruder, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Chemistry, was honored at VCU’s Faculty Convocation with the Distinguished Teaching Award for her work adapting the methods of Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) for large classroom environments.
Jeff South, Associate Professor of Journalism and director of the Capital News Service, was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach in China for the Spring 2014 semester. Jeff will teach journalism and mass communications courses at Northeast Normal University (NENU) in Changchun, China.
Cristina Stanciu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English, was the recipient of the Monticello College Foundation Fellowship, a long-term fellowship at the Newberry Library in Chicago.
Shawn Utsey, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to collaborate with faculty, staff, and students at the Sinomlando Center for Oral History and Memory Work (Sinomlando Center) at the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) in Pietermaritzburg to document oral histories of survivors (and their families) of apartheid-era ethnoviolence.
David Wojahn, Professor of English, received the 2012 Academy of American Poets Lenore Marshall Poetry prize for his work World Tree. The Lenore Marshall award recognizes the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States in the previous year. Professor Wojahn also received the 2013 Poets’ Prize, awarded annually for the best book of verse published by a living American poet in the two years prior to the award year, and the 2012 Literary Award for Poetry given by the Library of Virginia at their annual Literary Awards.
More than $9 million in total grant support involving community engagement
Areas of focus
The College maintains partnerships with the following Universities: