Skip to main content

Community-Engaged Scholarship

For  ten years our College has wrestled with creating a common identity. We have talked about our mission. We have crafted our elevator speech. We have outlined our marketing plan.

It is time to do something else. It is time to put our identity crisis behind us and embrace a shared vision, a common purpose, a raison d'être. Over  the next ten years, I want the College of Community and Public Service to become a model of an “Engaged College.” That is, I want us to expand our various community connections, deepen our commitment to service learning, and promote our faculty’s participation in community problem solving. I want us to do these things more and I want us to do these things better. I want CCPS to become the model not only for the rest of Grand Valley State University, but for any college that wants to do community engagement and do it right.  I want us to be a leader in reinvigorating the community and public mission of American higher education .

Dean George Grant Jr, August 2015

Dean George Grant

Dean George Grant, Jr. of the College of Community & Public Service


VoiceGR rates the neighborhoods

A study released by the Johnson Center for Philanthropy revealed how residents of different neighborhoods within the Grand Rapids area rate the city as a place to live. The study was based on results of the VoiceGR survey conducted by the Johnson Center both through paper and online.  VoiceGR is uniquely designed to connect demographics with opinions and perceptions of greater Grand Rapids area residents and is meant to be a baseline to stimulate conversation on pertinent issues to our region. A full breakdown of the study results was explained by Dr. Petersen at a data summit in March. 

chart from VoiceGr


SAFE alliance logo

SAFE Alliance

Dr. Patrick Gerkin and Dr. John Walsh were part of SAFE Alliance, a community group that developed neighborhood violence reduction initiatives within the city of Grand Rapids. The group, led by Grand Rapids City Commissioner, Senita Lenear, met for nine months and on March 24 presented recommendations to city leaders.  Both professors served as authors on the report and Dr. Walsh also served as a SAFE Alliance member.  The report includes 50 recommendations and introduces new community crime prevention initiatives and identifies several crime prevention strategies that serve as “best practice models” across the country. The report also suggests ways the city and police departments can improve collaborative efforts with neighborhood associations, churches, schools and other organizations.


Partnership Showcase

The Partnership Showcase

The Office for Community Engagement hosted The Partnership Showcase, which highlights community-based teaching and research initiatives. The showcase featured presentations and provided a forum for exchanging ideas with community partners and Grand Valley faculty, staff, and students. Five of the projects were affiliated with CCPS faculty and students, and involved sixteen community partners: Calvin College, Spectrum Health’s Heartside Nutrition Project, Dwelling Place, Mel Trotter, Degage,  Indian Trails Camp, Kent County Health Department, YWCA West Central Michigan, MEDC, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Alpena Community College Marine Tech Program, NOAA Thunder Bay National Sanctuary, SeaView Systems, GVSU Annis Research Institute, East Grand Rapids Public Schools and East Grand Rapids Historical Society.: For more information on these and other community-based projects that were presented, please see the Partnership Showcase Booklet