Charter for RVA History and Culture

RVA History is a working group comprised of representatives from University of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Union University, Reynolds Community College, and the Valentine Museum. The group was assembled to develop a collaborative strategy to orient faculty to Richmond’s History so that they have context for their teaching, research, and community engagement and can develop authentic partnerships. The following is RVA History and Culture’s charter:


  1. Richmond is growing, many students are staying after graduation, and higher education is experiencing a pedagogical shift towards community engagement.
  2. In the past higher education in Richmond has been apart from – instead of a part of – the community. Institutes of higher education must acknowledge this history to build trust as they re-engage with the community.
  3. There is great potential for faculty in Richmond’s colleges and universities to be positive agents of change.
  4. A holistic understanding of the community is essential in order to respond to community-identified needs and to develop mutually beneficial partnerships in any discipline.
  5. Respect for community knowledge, voice, and history is an essential value.

Therefore, the purpose of RVA History and Culture is to …

  • Provide a multimodal portal to RVA history and culture
  • Provide a historic context for current systems, and
  • Orient and sensitize faculty and staff to Richmond

So that higher education in the Richmond Region can practice informed research, teaching, learning and other ways of engagement

Guiding Principles

  1. Represent history in an accurate manner that acknowledges controversies and difficult issues
  2. Acknowledge historical context of vulnerable communities and populations
  3. Value multiple community voices and sources of expertise within and outside of academia
  4. Commit to an ongoing collaboration across institutions of higher education and community organizations
  5. Take a long term perspective; this collaborative effort will require patience and persistence
  6. Incorporate existing resources and augment where there are gaps
  7. Focus on gaps in historical education to demystify, uncover and unveil invisible systems
  8. Provide an active, engaged and immersive experience

Desired Outcomes

Faculty will be…

  • Better engaged regional citizens
  • Advocates for the RVA region
  • More effective in community based-learning and community-engaged research endeavors
  • More connected across campuses and disciplines

Community members will…

  • Feel valued and respected by higher education partners
  • Be active participants sharing their own expertise and knowledge
  • Seek collaboration with higher education partners


LearnRVA has been a collaborative effort of the institutions of higher education in the region. We thank the following individuals for their contributions.

Ghazala Hashmi, Reynolds Community College

Jane Rosencrans, Reynolds Community College

Bill Martin, The Valentine

Terry Dolson, University of Richmond

Alexandra Byrum, University of Richmond

Amy Howard, University of Richmond

Julian Hayter, University of Richmond

Lynda Kachurek, University of Richmond

Jeannine Keefer, University of Richmond

Cathy Howard, Virginia Commonwealth University

Lynn Pelco, Virginia Commonwealth University

Michael Rackett, Virginia Commonwealth University

Grace Leonard, Virginia Commonwealth University

John Kneebone, Virginia Commonwealth University

Tom Woodward, Virginia Commonwealth University

Meghan Resler, Virginia Commonwealth University

Jeff Everhart, Virginia Commonwealth University

Matt Roberts, Virginia Commonwealth University

Raymond Hylton, Virginia Union University