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Mission, Principles, & Goals

Our Mission

As a partnership between Richmond-area school divisions and Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Education, the Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium leads research that addresses enduring and emerging issues in PK12 education with the goal of informing policy, building the professional knowledge and skills of key stakeholders, contributing to the body of scholarly knowledge, and ultimately impacting outcomes relevant to students, schools, and communities.

Our Principles

  • Relevance: Our work addresses topics in ways that are relevant to those engaged in PK12 policymaking and practice.
  • Impact: The knowledge generated through our work is focused on its use and impact on policy and practice.
  • Rigor: Our work is conducted in ways that reflect rigor and quality in design and implementation.
  • Multiple Perspectives: The relevance, impact, and rigor of our work is enhanced by engaging stakeholders that represent a range of experiences, perspectives, and knowledge bases.
  • Relationships: The strength of our partnership relies on strong relationships between individuals, organizations, and communities that are characterized by communication and trust.

Our Goals

  • Conduct and disseminate community-engaged research that has direct and indirect impacts on critical youth, school, and community outcomes.
  • Develop the research knowledge and research capacity of school division personnel and university research partners through collaborations involving professional development.
  • Build community and social networks between VCU units, school divisions, researchers, policy makers and practitioners.
  • Contribute to the local, state and national policy and scholarly dialogue on education.
  • Secure funding that supports the work of the partnership and builds the capacity of MERC to fulfill its mission.

Strategic Plan

In March of 2021, the MERC Policy and Planning Council voted to initiate a strategic planning process. The decision was based on two factors: the rapid growth of our partnership since our last strategic planning in 2016, and a recognition that the context of public education has shifted dramatically. The MERC 2022-2027 Strategic Plan was approved by the Policy and Planning Council in May of 2022. This plan (1) provides an overview of our strategic planning process, (2) shares our assessment of the strategic issues facing our partnership, (3) presents strategies and initial actions for addressing these issues, and (4) outlines an implementation plan. 

The cover of the 2022-2027 MERC Strategic Plan