The Center for Community Engagement and Impact works with faculty, staff and community partners as a central university hub to facilitate mutually-beneficial partnerships and relationships that enhance student learning and address community-identified needs.
High-quality academic-community partnerships are built using values and principles that guide us in our work. VCU encourages partnerships that strive for:
- Impact by aligning efforts to meet community-identified needs.
- Connections that foster new understanding.
- Mutual benefit and reciprocity for all parties.
- Communication that honors shared goals and supports continuous improvement.
- Contributions that recognize the knowledge, skills and experiences that everyone contributes to the pursuit of common goals
Executive director: Heidi A. Crapol
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is a public research university in Richmond, Virginia. VCU was founded in 1838 as the medical department of Hampden–Sydney College, becoming the Medical College of Virginia in 1854. In 1968, the Virginia General Assembly merged MCV with the Richmond Professional Institute, founded in 1917, to create Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2018, more than 31,000 students pursue 217 degree and certificate programs through VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health System supports the university’s health care education, research, and patient care mission.
VCU had a record $310 million in sponsored research funding in the fiscal year 2019 and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. A broad array of university-approved centers and institutes of excellence, involving faculty from multiple disciplines in public policy, biotechnology and health care discoveries, supports the university’s research mission. Twenty-eight graduate and first-professional programs are ranked by U.S. News & World Report as among the best in the country. VCU’s athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the VCU Rams. They are members of the Atlantic 10 Conference. The VCU campus includes historic buildings such as the Ginter House, now used by the school’s provost.
Your time at VCU is a gateway to finding your life-changing experiences, your best friend or mentor, and getting involved in your community. Check out the endless list of ways to connect with people in our community for the greater good!
The Wilder School encourages students to participate in for-credit, structured and supervised internships with government, nonprofit and business organizations. Internships provide students with experience in a professional setting outside the classroom and enrich the learning process by supplementing theory with practice.
For guidelines, policies, requirements and application details click links below:
Department of Political Science
VCU Political Science students can earn up to six credits for internship hours earned during fall, spring and summer semesters: one credit=50 hours working on an internship.
Students may apply for internship credits with a variety of politically-relevant organizations, including, but not limited to, government offices, non-profit groups, political campaigns, law offices, media outlets, lobbying groups, etc.
Students may also apply for POLI credit through the Wilder School’s Virginia Capitol Semester program in the Virginia General Assembly.
Although it is each student’s responsibility to find an internship that best suits their interests and talents, this is a list that keeps a live-updated record of potential internship opportunities.
In order to receive VCU Political Science course credit for an internship, students must:
- be declared a political science major, or be minoring in nonprofits or public management,
- have completed at least nine upper-level credits (300 level or above) in political science courses and
- have earned at least a cumulative 2.7 GPA in political science major coursework
In some cases, the Political Science internship director may grant an exception if students do not meet one of the criteria listed above. Students in this situation should speak with their Political Science adviser first, and then contact the internship director with a formal written request for an exception. It is likely the internship director will want to meet with students face-to-face before making any decisions of this nature.
If you are unsure about whether you meet the above requirements, or whether doing an internship for course credit is right for you, please contact your political science adviser at email@example.com.
L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
At the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, we’re all about taking advantage of everything our city has to offer.
You’ll find our students making a difference in internships across Virginia, from the General Assembly to state agencies and nonprofits. Our faculty is immersed in research — and partner with students on it, too. Our alumni (10,000 strong) open doors to the Wilder School network at Fortune 500 companies, local governments, advocacy groups and public interest firms.
At about 1,000 undergraduates and 400 graduate students strong each year, we’re big enough to offer bold opportunities and small enough for individualized instruction and true faculty mentorship.
The 2020 U.S. News & World Report rankings confirm the Wilder School among the nation’s top 20% of graduate schools of public affairs at No. 45. The school also ranks No. 39 in Public Management & Leadership, marking the first time the Wilder School has ranked in one of the specialty areas!
Our strategically designed programs mean you can really customize your study based on your interests. Mix and match classes in:
- Criminal justice
- Homeland security and emergency preparedness
- Public administration
- Public policy and administration
- Urban and regional studies and planning
VCU Department of Political Science
VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, with concentrations available in
- U.S. government
- Civil rights
- Comparative politics
- Human security
- International relations
- Political theory and methodology
- Politics and government
- Public policy and administration
Our faculty have expertise in a broad spectrum of subjects, including: international health; Russian politics; the intersections between politics and religion in both historical and contemporary contexts; Anglo-American political thought; feminist political theory; U.S. presidential decision-making for national security and foreign policy; information politics (e.g. government secrecy, mis/disinformation and public ignorance); national security intelligence; governance responses to human migration; global environmental politics; immigration; labor politics; Latin American politics; legislative behavior; partisan gerrymandering; campaign finance; political communication; political behavior; public opinion; international relations; local economic development in the US; public administration; constitutional law; European politics; political theory; comparative political development; African democratization; public administration; and public and nonprofit management.
Graduates of our program have gone on to professional degree programs in law, public policy, business, and medicine, while others have pursued graduate studies in political science, international affairs/international relations, and public administration. In addition to finding employment in the private sector in fields including risk analysis, government relations, lobbying, and consulting, our graduates have also been successful in securing public-sector jobs at the local, state, and federal levels, and with non-governmental organizations in Richmond, Washington, DC, and around the world.
Political science is the systematic study of institutions, behavior and ideas in order to further our understanding and explanation of government and politics at the local, state, national and international levels. The discipline has a rich history that bridges the present with the past and future, is pluralistic in its modes of inquiry and adopts a critical approach that makes use of qualitative and quantitative analytic methods.
VCU Political Science uses its unique position on an urban campus located in the state capital and just a short distance from Washington, D.C. to provide our students with transformative learning experiences that promote active and engaged citizenship, domestically and globally. We integrate our teaching with cutting-edge scholarship that advances the boundaries of the discipline and meaningfully impacts public debate and policy.
The department values diversity of thought and identity, inclusive pedagogy, informal mentorships, active citizenship and the free expression of ideas through innovative scholarship, teaching and community engagement. We are dedicated to developing programs and a curriculum that prepare our graduates to be informed and inquisitive citizens who are positioned to make a difference as professionals and lifelong learners.
Research Centers & Initiatives
Wilder School’s Center for Public Policy
The Wilder School’s Center for Public Policy aims to advance research and training that informs public policy and decision-making to improve our communities.
Drawing on the wide-ranging expertise of Wilder School faculty, we provide diverse public-facing services including leadership development and training, economic and policy impact analysis, survey insights and program evaluation to clients in state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses and the general public, across Virginia and beyond.
THE DIVISION OF RESEARCH AND OUTREACH
leads the effort to create effective public policy in Virginia by connecting local and state policymakers to academic experts within VCU through the Translational Research Fellows Program. It also conducts public policy polls multiple times per year to provide policymakers and the public with an up-to-date snapshot of public opinion in Virginia, and engages in community outreach activities with Girl Scouts, homeschool groups, Rotary Clubs, and others.
THE GRACE E. HARRIS LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE
promotes the development of current and emerging leaders in academic institutions, other public, private, and nonprofit organizations, and communities. Consistent with the mission of VCU, the Institute is committed to identifying and nurturing the next generation of leaders through leadership training and public policy research.
UITY AND DIVERSITY PROJECTS
The Wilder School and the Center for Public Policy have a long history of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within our community and across Virginia. Through offerings in research, training, and leadership, we leverage the expertise of Center for Public Policy faculty and researchers as we work with state and local governments, as well as with businesses and nonprofits, to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive commonwealth. Click here to learn more about this work.