About GPI

A great place to work, learn and live.

You can’t have a great place without great people, and Virginia Commonwealth University is no exception. The faculty, staff and students make it the wonderful place it is today.

Focusing on HR means we are focusing on you.

Our goal is to be a great place to work — where you can do meaningful work in a place of opportunity, where your success is supported and your career thrives. A new HR plan that aligns with VCU’s mission, core values and strategic direction will benefit you and VCU. It can capture the individual and collective potential of each employee, and when the workforce is focused on the university’s strategic priorities, the quality of service provided to faculty, students and patients is enhanced.

Where we started

The Great Place Initiative began in 2013 as an effort to celebrate and enhance the work environment and to ensure that everyone who interacts with VCU — whether faculty or staff, student or parent, patient or local contractor — feels valued and respected as a result of VCU’s commitment to service excellence.

As part of the initiative, we invited faculty and staff to join the conversation about not only what already makes VCU a great place, but also what they think can improve.

Initial data collection took place during the 2013 spring semester and included a faculty and staff survey, town hall meetings and focus groups.

What we found

Some examples of the new HR programs that you asked for in the Great Place Initiative survey include:

  • Merit-based pay that recognizes outstanding service to students and faculty and rewards achievements that advance university priorities
  • Meaningful performance evaluation, with goals linked to strategic priorities and clear expectations
  • Opportunities for career advancement through visible career paths across the university
  • Increased professional development and networking opportunities
  • Greater transparency and accountability
  • Ability to influence your own pay and promotional opportunities

Summary reports

Survey results

In February 2013, nearly 4,000 faculty and staff from across the campus participated in the Great Place Initiative climate survey, which asked several dozen questions to help university leaders gain a better understanding of what VCU is doing well and in which areas it can improve.

Town hall videos

Three town hall meetings were held in 2013 to discuss the results of the GPI climate survey.

Townhall1 April 10, 2013

Townhall2 April 24, 2013

Townhall3 Oct. 15, 2013


How does Tier III connect to GPI?

Tier III refers to the colleges and universities in Virginia that have been granted the highest level of autonomy over administrative operations, including finance, facilities, information technology and human resources. Findings from the GPI climate survey, town hall meetings and focus groups revealed faculty and staff loved working at VCU, valued many of our benefits and enjoyed being a part of the university community. They also reported challenges related to current HR practices. Our Tier III status allows us to redesign HR programs and policies to address those challenges. Our goal is to use the flexibility offered as a Tier III institution to create an HR plan that is more dynamic and responsive to the needs of the university and its employees. The focus of this work will impact classified staff and administrative and professional faculty.