Philosophy for an Academic Community
Academic institutions exist, among other reasons, to discover, advance and transmit knowledge and to develop in their students, faculty and staff the capacity for creative and critical thought. At Virginia Commonwealth University, members of the academic community should strive to exemplify the following specific ideals in addition to other worthy ideals:
To demonstrate academic and personal integrity.
One who is committed to this ideal respects and observes the VCU Honor System and practices honesty, loyalty and faithfulness in personal relationships.
To respect the rights and property of others.
A commitment to this ideal respects all aspects of the personal rights of others and refrains from all forms of theft, vandalism and destruction of the property of another.
To be open to others’ opinions.
This ideal requires one to listen to the opinions of others and respect the right of all persons to a free and open exchange of ideas and opinions.
To uphold academic freedom and freedom of intellectual inquiry.
The university is committed to educating its students in an atmosphere of freedom of expression, critical thinking, intellectual curiosity and scholarship to permit students to realize their full potential as informed, productive citizens with a lifelong commitment to learning and service.
To appreciate diversity and to value and learn from the uniqueness of each person.
The university values racial and cultural diversity in its community to enhance and enrich a stimulating environment for teaching, learning, research and creative expression.
To uphold the right of all persons to be treated with dignity and respect and to refrain from all forms of intimidation, harassment and illegal discrimination.
One who is committed to this ideal practices courtesy and consideration toward others and refrains from any action that denigrates another person.
To demonstrate and respect intellectual courage in situations that demand it.
Commitment to this ideal requires one to uphold the highest standards and ideals of teaching, scholarship, research and intellectual integrity.
Statements in bold are the approved VCU Creed. Statements in italics are for illustration only.
- Academic Campus Student Government Association: December 6, 1993; March 4, 1996; September 14, 1998; February 22, 1999
- MCV Campus Student Government Association: Fall 1998. February 1999
- University Council Committee on Student Affairs: March 23, 1999
- Faculty Senate: June 4, 1996; February 2, 1999
- University Council: May 11, 1999
- Board of Visitors: May 14, 1999
A brief history of the Creed
Recommendations for revisions to the Rules and Procedures at VCU were approved by the Board of Visitors and became effective in fall 1993. The Revisions Committee also made other recommendations, including one that the Provost should assume responsibility for “… ensuring that steps are taken to promote a greater appreciation of the importance of expression and freedom from harassment in an academic community.” More specifically, the committee proposed the development of a statement of responsibilities in an academic community, and two different drafts were submitted in the committee’s report.
During fall semester 1993, the Academic Campus Student Government Association took on the task of reviewing the two draft documents and decided on one of the versions with some amendments suggested by SGA members. The first draft of what is now the VCU Creed was approved by the SGA on December 6, 1993.
Since that time, various campus groups such as the MCV Campus Student Government Association, the Faculty Senate and the University Council have discussed the document and suggested modifications. Adoption of the document was one of eight goals for the 1998-99 academic year established by the Academic Campus Student Government Association. The document was approved by the University Council on May 11, 1999, and by the Board of Visitors on May 14, 1999.
The rationale for the Creed
The VCU Creed addresses the all-important issue of community on the college campus. It identifies the values we believe in and strive to uphold as an academic community. The late Ernest Boyer, writing in “Campus Life, In Search of Community,” called on colleges and universities to “… return to their roots and to consider, not more regulations, but the enduring values of a true learning community.” This was precisely the motivation of the Rules and Procedures Revision Committee – after spending nearly a year revising the rules and regulations, it was felt that we needed to focus on the positive, the things we do not because we have to do them but because we want to do them.
In a time when college campuses often must deal with such issues as sexual harassment, substance abuse and disruptive conduct in classrooms, the values of the Creed help us focus on civility with each other, compassion for all people, empathy for others and the importance of being open to the ideas and beliefs of others.