Our Department

Our Mission Statement

The purpose of this faculty and department will be to cultivate in all VCU students the skills, knowledge, and attitudes needed for collegiate and lifelong success through learning-centered experiences; to foster an environment of collaboration and fairness among its faculty; and to encourage excellence in the practice and scholarship of teaching and learning.


Our department affirms the necessity of a governance policy and structure that promotes collaboration, collegiality, and fairness among a diverse spectrum of interdisciplinary faculty who come together to promote excellence in teaching and learning in VCU’s Core Curriculum. All full-time department faculty, in conjunction with a formal system of standing committees, have the opportunity to participate in the department’s shared governance addressing the particular mission and curricular goals of Focused Inquiry.

Our Chair, Associate Chair, and elected coordinators (collectively, our Department Council) play key roles in the governance of the Department of Focused Inquiry:

Curricular Innovation

The Department of Focused Inquiry is housed in VCU’s University College. The University College’s mission is to enhance student success through curricular innovation and support for teaching and learning excellence. FI instructors come from a variety of fields, such as sociology, philosophy, law, English and creative writing, music, and American Studies, but they all share an interest in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL). All of our faculty are committed to teaching excellence, and many conduct research in the field of teaching and learning in addition to their home fields. Departmental support for SOTL research comes in many forms, including internal and university-wide faculty learning communities on a range of topics within the field. Some of our internal learning communities have explored:

  • service learning
  • collaborative teaching
  • teaching English language learners
  • inclusivity in higher education
  • gaming in higher education
  • creativity