I am writing to inform you that, effective today, the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs is an independent school at VCU, separate from the College of Humanities and Sciences.
Dr. Niraj Verma, who has been the director of the Wilder School since 2010, is the independent school’s inaugural dean. I want to thank Dr. Verma for his continued dedication to VCU and for his willingness to accept his new position.
Some academic programs that had been part of the Wilder School—political science, sociology, economics and international studies—will remain in the College of Humanities and Sciences and will form a strong core for VCU’s social sciences curriculum. Criminal justice, homeland security and emergency preparedness, public administration, public policy and administration, and urban and regional planning and studies will continue to be a part of the independent Wilder School.
This announcement follows a lengthy period of thought and planning to determine the best future direction of the Wilder School, the College of Humanities and Sciences, and VCU in its progress toward meeting the goals of Quest for Distinction. This has included significant dialogue with the faculty affected in the move, and I thank all of you who have been involved for your time and thoughtful input.
While many issues have already been addressed in the months leading up to this decision, there will no doubt continue to be questions regarding the impact the move will have on faculty, staff and various programs. To assist in this process, I have established a transition team to work with Dean Verma and Dean Coleman during the transition. I also encourage everyone to maintain an open dialogue with program chairs and deans so that any concerns or challenges can be discussed and addressed.
The independent Wilder School will be a strong complement to VCU’s outstanding academic programs, and I look forward to seeing the Wilder School take its place among the premier schools of public policy and public administration.
Beverly J. Warren, Ed.D., Ph.D., FACSM
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs