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Real-world Applications in Multidisciplinary and Project-based Studies (RAMPS) – VCU’s 2024 Quality Enhancement Plan

A hallmark of a VCU undergraduate education is learning from incredible faculty members, looking into today’s critical questions, and bringing fresh knowledge to shape the answers we need. 

An UNCOMMON education gives students a place on those front lines, seeking answers to those important questions – and improving lives throughout our community.

Through RAMPS, or what we colloquially call “Every Ram’s a Researcher,” we’re driving research-supportive project-based learning into ConnectEd general education courses across the disciplines, preparing students to make the most of VCU’s transformative learning opportunities, gaining the skills and experience that will set them apart as they enter today’s workforce.

Along the way, we’re expanding and elevating how, when, and where research happens. From biology to ballet, our students will play expanded roles as participants in our research university’s mission to find meaningful answers.

How will this work?

“Every Ram’s a Researcher” will offer VCU students, regardless of major or career aspiration, an opportunity through their ConnectEd general education coursework to begin acquiring the skills they need to become problem solvers, including the abilities to:

  • Investigate: Gather meaningful information, whether in the library, lab, or local community – wherever they need to find the right data.
  • Reflect: Consider what information and observations are telling them.
  • Collaborate: Bring together different perspectives to address common challenges. This will mean working with both their peers and accomplished faculty researchers.
  • Connect: See how classroom and personal experiences are essential in solving real-world issues.

multiple images showing vcu students engaged in research activities

Research at VCU

VCU is a leading R1 doctoral university with a focus on excellence, impact, and access. (Only 3.7% of universities in the United States have earned that designation. Read about the benefits that brings for our students.) In 2023, VCU earned a record of $460+ million in sponsored research, including increases in every academic unit.

VCU has long supported undergraduate research opportunities, but “Every Ram's a Researcher” will provide students with the opportunity to fulfill a curricular requirement while obtaining a research experience.

Building research-supportive project-based learning into the ConnectEd general education curriculum reflects VCU’s commitment to inclusion, access, and excellence as we deliver an innovative and transformational – yes, UNCOMMON – learning environment.

How do I participate?

While the program is still in development, both students and faculty can begin to plan for “Every Ram’s a Researcher” RAMPS courses.

Program Background

The RAMPS "Every Ram’s a Researcher" plan is a faculty-driven effort that evolved as VCU prepared for the February 2024 reaccreditation visit with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The organization specifically asks members to present a plan that continues to enhance academic quality and student outcomes and success. Our program, which has been in development since the 2021-22 academic year, is officially known as RAMPS (Real-world Applications in Multidisciplinary and Project-based Studies).