Portrait of Daphne Rankin

Daphne Rankin, PhD

Associate Vice President for Special Programs, Virginia Commonwealth University

Bringing more than twenty-five years of higher education experience to her credit, Daphne received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and her MS in Sociology and PhD in Public Policy and Administration from VCU. 

An innovative and enthusiastic educator, administrator, and communicator, Daphne has extensive experience in student transition, retention, and success. Since joining the university’s administration in 2004, she has assumed progressive leadership responsibilities in curriculum development, student retention, first-generation student and family programs, enrollment management, and summer studies. She served as VCU’s first Director of Student Engagement and helped to develop the University College. Recognizing that one-third of the students in VCU’s first-year class are first-generation students who often bring a unique set of needs with them to campus, her team developed the You First at VCU First-Generation Student Success and Faculty Research Center. Composed of two branches, the Center’s mission is to increase first-generation student success through student programming and engagement efforts, as well as through faculty research and development.