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​​Valerie Holton, Ph.D, LCSW - Former TDC Fellow

​​Valerie Holton, Ph.D, LCSW - Former TDC Fellow

Valerie Holton, PhD, LCSW joined the Division of Community Engagement in 2012 as the inaugural director of community-engaged research. In her role, she develops infrastructure to support VCU faculty, staff, students and community partners in developing innovative and effective partnerships that positively impact our students, faculty, staff and community partners. Holton designed and led the university’s initial examination of partnerships, and was appointed to the presidential VCU Partnerships Task Force reporting to the Board of Visitor’s Governance and Evaluation Committee. She works across the university to establish research infrastructure that advances the university’s commitment to be a premier, urban, research university. She designs innovative approaches to educate university and community researchers in collaborative research, including a connected learning course on CEnR.
In collaboration with the CTSA-funded Center for Clinical and Translational Research, Holton established and co-chairs the Community-Engaged Research (CEnR) Federation that is responsible for building infrastructure to advance high-quality, high-impact CEnR. She developed and established an IRB-linked tracking mechanism for CEnR, and is currently overseeing the developing enterprise data collection and reporting mechanisms for experiential learning (internships, service, co-curricular) activities, community-university partnerships and impact as an anchor institution. 

In support of VCU’s national recognition for community engagement, Holton leads the data collection and oversaw the application process to achieve “with distinction” recognition for the first time from the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll (2013, 2014) and participated in the leadership team responsible for preparation of the successful Carnegie Community-Engagement Classification. 

Holton’s scholarship focuses on the role of urban universities in their communities and the infrastructure needed to enhance their impact within their institutions and across their communities. She is the executive editor of the Metropolitan Universities Journal, a publication of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, which focuses attention on change in higher education, providing direct information about immediately important ideas and replicable practices.

A native of Richmond, Virginia, Holton has worked extensively on the intersection of housing, homelessness and poverty. Prior to her current role, she provided technical assistance to human and state organizations in the areas of strategic planning and board development as well as program planning, development and evaluation. Holton also has developed and led innovative training programs for case managers throughout Virginia. Holton has taught in the VCU Schools of Education and Social Work at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels and served as an adjunct instructor at VCU in the Nonprofit Learning Point. As a licensed clinical social worker, Holton maintains a part-time, community-based practice with a focus on supporting adolescents and women during life transitions. She is a member of the board of directors for the YWCA of Richmond.