Mission & Definitions

Mission Statement

GVSU's Community Engagement:

• Applies and amplifies the university's Reach Higher 2025 strategic plan and mission statement 
• Builds collaborative partnerships for mutual learning and benefit 
• Develops partnerships for sustainable and positive impact among multiple stakeholders, including students, staff, faculty, alumni, and our West MI communities and community partners 

Our University/Community Partnerships attract:

• Students pursuing a 21st century education that prepares for enrichment of society through excellent teaching, active scholarship, and public service 
• Faculty to engaged teaching and scholarship
• Opportunities for personal, professional, and organizational growth as well as building and developing community 

Our Definitions

Community engagement: Community engagement describes the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their communities (local, regional/state, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity. (Adapted from the Carnegie Foundation and cited in the Glossary of Terms for GVSU’s Strategic Plan 2016 – 2021)

Civic Engagement: Civic engagement is working to make a positive difference in the life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values, and motivation to make that difference. Additionally, civic engagement encompasses actions wherein individuals participate in activities of personal and public concern that are both individually life enriching and socially beneficial to the community. (Adapted from Thomas Ehrlich, 2000)

Civic Engagement student-learning outcomes for GVSU: access a working document here

Co-curricular: Learning activities, programs, and experiences that reinforce the institution’s mission and values and complement the formal curriculum. Examples: study abroad, student-faculty research experiences, service learning, professional clubs or organizations, athletics, honor societies, career services, etc. (Adapted from the Higher Learning Commission, 2021 and cited in the Glossary of Terms for GVSU’s Reach Higher 2025 Strategic Plan)

Community Based Learning: Students engage in a community experience. A core assumption of community-based learning is that all partners bring rich knowledge, skills, and other expertise to a problem, research question, or learning goal. Community-based learning extends beyond academic coursework and may include a field experience, practicum, internship, Capstone, research project, clinical, co-op, or co-curricular activity. The experience may be a direct service/activity that takes place on site or research or other off-site work that benefits the community partner. A community partner may include a for-profit business or industry, educational institution, health organization, nonprofit organization, government agency, professional association, and/or community group. Communities may be local, regional, state, national, or global. (Cited in the Glossary of Terms for GVSU’s Reach Higher 2025 Strategic Plan)

Page last modified March 2, 2022