Mission, Vision, DEI Statements


DEI Statement 

The Departments of Patient Counseling and Pastoral Care

Virginia Commonwealth University and VCU Health


  • Inclusion refers to the respectful reception, treatment, and incorporation of all people with recognition of their individual and social identities and perspectives regardless of how they differ from yours.
  • Equity refers to justice in practice with consideration of unequal access to resources and opportunities afforded to various communities, as well as the removal of structural and systemic barriers that limit potential and possibilities. 
  • Diversity refers to distribution of all members of the department (faculty, students, staff, University and Academic Professionals and Chaplains) who hold different social identities, backgrounds, belief systems, and experiences. 

Goals for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity 

  • We will foster and sustain an environment of inclusion, equity, and diversity through training, recruitment, and peer support.
  • We will incorporate inclusion, equity, and diversity assertively into our research, teaching, practice, outreach, assessment, operations, and decision making at all levels.
  • We will challenge long held opinions and assumptions and act in order to change them.
  • We will educate our department members to be social justice advocates, creatively providing curricula, programs, and environments that reflect the diversity of our communities, and elevate cultural awareness.
  • We will evaluate and rectify organizational structures, policies, and practices that cause differential impact and limit access and opportunities for all members of our department.
  • We will foster a culture of respect and inclusion that values the experiences and perspectives of all members of our department. 

Promises Regarding Recruitment and Retention 

  • We will address intergroup disparities in representation and retention through consistent dialogue and training, and intentional efforts to make our environment welcoming to individuals from underrepresented groups.
  • We will support and advance a diverse department and make intentional efforts to recruit individuals from underrepresented groups.
  • We will provide resources and programs to promote individuals that enhance our ability to reach our goals of diversity, inclusion, and equity.
  • We will advance our workforce by attracting and developing talented faculty, staff, University and Academic Professionals and chaplains from diverse backgrounds.
  • We will advance and build our workforce by assessing hiring practices and performance review procedures to attract, retain, and develop talented faculty, students, staff, University and Academic Professionals and chaplains from diverse backgrounds.

Department of Patient Counseling Mission

Provide clinical education for pastoral care professionals as well as other health care providers in the spiritual care of patients and families within an interdisciplinary context.

In pursuit of this mission, specific objectives are:

  • To teach care and education in a manner that is theologically/philosophically aware and cognizant of current theories and skills in caring for people in crisis.
  • To work collaboratively with other disciplines and to advocate for care that restores and preserves spiritual health for all people as an integral part of their comprehensive care and wellbeing. 
  • To provide sensitive and competent pastoral care to patients, families, and staff in which the dignity of culture and the experience of each individual is valued.
  • To promote a supportive environment of a caring community in which to develop students who are in the professional formation process.
  • To promote the advancement of research literacy and evidence-based practice for health care chaplaincy.
  • To invest in the community through clinical and educational partnerships.

VCU Vision Statement

Our vision is to send out highly diverse and skilled spiritual caregivers for the transformation of the world.  At VCU, advanced education is designed to enlighten those people whose purpose in life is to ease the heart's pain and comfort the grieving soul.  Our programs offer the essential knowledge, education, and research literacy necessary to equip students for professional healthcare chaplaincy and for caring ministries in other settings. 

VCU will be a premier urban, public research university distinguished by its commitment to:

  • The intellectual and academic success of a diverse student body
  • Research and discovery that advances knowledge, inspires creativity and improves human health
  • The global engagement of students, faculty and staff that transforms lives and communities

As the premier urban, public research university in Virginia, VCU’s mission is to advance knowledge and student success through its commitments to:

  • An engaged, learner-centered environment that fosters inquiry, discovery and innovation in a global setting
  • Research that expands the boundaries of new knowledge and creative expression and promotes translational applications to improve human health
  • Interdisciplinary collaborations that bring new perspectives to complex problems and mobilize creative energies that advance innovation and solve global challenges
  • Health care that strives to preserve and restore health for all people, to seek the cause and cure of diseases through groundbreaking research, and to educate those who serve humanity as an integral part of their comprehensive care and wellbeing. 
  • Diversity that provides a climate of inclusion, a dedication to addressing disparities wherever they exist, and an opportunity to explore and create in an environment of trust
  • Sustainable, university-community partnerships that enhance the educational, economic and cultural vitality of the communities VCU serves in Virginia and around the world