VCU Engineering Leader Heads University’s Diversity Efforts

Richmond, VA (April 25, 2017) - Interdisciplinary thinking and multitasking are just two of the many skills that Rosalyn “Roz” Hobson Hargraves, Ph.D., brings to her role as VCU’s acting chief diversity officer. In addition to her new position as associate vice president in the university’s Division for Inclusive Excellence, Hargraves is an associate professor in the VCU School of Engineering, where she teaches electrical circuits.  “Hargraves was one of the first professors hired by the school and remains one of its most sought after professors,” said Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., dean of Engineering.

As an associate professor at the School of Education, Hargraves is an inspirational figure and serves as a bridge between engineering and education. She is providing on-campus leadership in diversity and inclusion while Kevin Allison, Ph.D., Interim Vice President for Inclusive Excellence, is away on a fellowship.

Hargraves, a former associate dean for graduate studies at VCU Engineering, has received honors for her work throughout her two decades at the school for improving minority participation in VCU’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs.  She is the VCU principal investigator on the NSF funded Virginia-North Carolina Alliance for Minority Participation, a $3.5 million project with 9 institutional partners across Virginia and North Carolina.

Hargraves joined the Division for Inclusive Excellence in June, 2016, as a special assistant to then-vice president Wanda Mitchell, with the mission to assess progress on diversity issues. Hargraves, whose parents also came from science and math fields, said her engineering background and analytical problem-solving skills prepared her for her new responsibilities.

“I like the way numbers can describe our world,” Hargraves said. “We are carefully assessing where we are as an institution on both representation and inclusiveness for diverse groups of people.”

The focus of her work is to reinforce VCU’s commitment to an inclusive, welcoming and supportive environment for all members of the university community. ​​Even as she teaches and advises graduate students, Hargraves is busy overseeing the approval process for the university’s diversity and inclusion strategic action plan. Hargraves also oversees programs for the division such as the Curriculum Development Awards, which is open for applications until May 1, and the Diversity & Inclusion Symposium on May 23-24.

“The role of our office is to continue to help ensure all members of our community feel valued and respected, whether that is through programming, education, community building, resources, leadership or facilitation,” she said. “What I value most about VCU is our commitment to our students and our community. As long as those remain core to our institution, we can’t go wrong.”