Mission & Definitions


Mission Statement

GVSU's Community Engagement:

• Applies and amplifies the university's 2016-2021 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: Increased emphasis is being placed on co-curricular learning, which involves students in hands-on activities through public service, community development, advocacy and social change. Growing attention is placed on the value of student learning through experiences beyond the classroom (ACC&U, Making the Place for Co-curricular Programming: Integrative Learning, Internationalization, and Social Change).

Community Based Learning: GVSU values its connections to, participation with, and responsibility to local communities. We value the collaboration of faculty members, staff members, and students with external partners in addressing mutual interests and community needs. Students are encouraged to take part in various service learning and volunteer opportunities in their communities and abroad.