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Across Campus

April 24, 2017


Provost surprised by announcement of scholarship, naming of center

Provost Gayle R. Davis was surprised by her colleagues by announcements at both of her retirement celebrations. 

President Haas and Provost Davis

Photo by Amanda Pitts

President Thomas J. Haas announces a scholarship fund created to honor Provost Gayle R. Davis' years of service to Grand Valley.

Faculty and staff members are invited to donate to the Gayle Davis First Generation Endowed Scholarship; to give, visit

During her tenure, Davis shepherded a major reorganization of the university’s colleges, and oversaw major growth in enrollment and significant success in retaining students through graduation.

President Thomas J. Haas made the announcement and said the scholarship's goal is to reduce the financial pressure on students and their families and make a Grand Valley education accessible to students from all backgrounds. 

A scholarship fund in her name was detailed April 18, and the announcement of the naming of the Women's Center as the Gayle R. Davis Center for Gender Equity was made April 20. Both recognitions honor Davis' 15 years of service at Grand Valley as provost and executive vice president for Academic and Student Affairs.


Graduate Showcase highlighted scholarly research

More than 30 graduate students presented their research and scholarly activities during the 2017 Graduate Showcase April 18 in DeVos Center. 

Student explains his research during graduate showcase

Photo by Adam Bird

Rakesh Neela explains his research project during the Graduate Showcase April 18 in DeVos Center. 

Students gave poster presentations to explain their research methods and conclusions. Topics included cancer research, local government and affordable housing, osteogenesis research, bilingual family literacy programs, undergraduate women who abandon STEM majors, and the impact of graduate leadership on land management work.

The event is sponsored by The Graduate School and the Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence. For more information on the Graduate Showcase visit


School of Communications to undergo reorganization

Provost Gayle R. Davis has announced a reorganization of the eight programs within the School of Communications.

Davis said, once completed, the changes will better meet and support the educational needs of students, faculty and staff; the reorganization will take effect prior to the 2017-2018 academic year.

The following changes will take place in August:

The Theater Department will become part of what is currently called the Music and Dance Department, while the photography, and film and video production programs will join the Art and Design Department. The School of Communications will continue to facilitate the communications studies, advertising and public relations, broadcasting, multi-media journalism and health communications programs, in addition to the communications graduate program.

No units will be closed or created by these changes, nor will curriculum in the majors be affected. 

Davis said the realignment will better support students, faculty and staff members by offering increased opportunities for visibility, collaboration and innovation as the programs will be housed with others that have operational parallels. She added that the new formulation will also more closely meet the expectations of the university’s accreditation bodies.  

Fred Antczak, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said that he is enthusiastic about the future of the SOC and other reorganized CLAS departments.

“Provost Davis is right in citing both the expectations of accrediting bodies, and the efficiencies that operational similarities can capture in everything from space and equipment use, to safety monitoring to curricular cross fertilization,” he said. 


Civic action plan detailed at showcase

Grand Valley celebrated civic engagement at a showcase April 13 at the DeVos Center by highlighting the collaborative work of 56 teams of students, faculty and staff and community members, and by detailing the university's civic action plan.

The plan will drive Grand Valley’s future work around sustainable partnerships, student civic engagement, place-based contributions, and challenges to social and economic inequalities. Provost Gayle R. Davis said the plan is a timely response to local and national issues.

"There is so much inequity and polarization in our country," Davis said. "This plan will help our students go out and talk to our community partners and residents civilly to understand their issues from their point of view. This prepares students not only to be employees but to be leaders in a complicated society."

Davis also said the civic action plan sets the stage for Grand Valley to apply for the Carnegie Foundation's classification of a "community engaged" campus by 2020.

The plan follows the commitment President Thomas J. Haas made to the Campus Compact, a coalition of 1,000 institutions committed to the public purposes of higher education. Haas called the public purpose of higher education vital to maintaining a healthy community.

Three campus-community partnerships earned Distinguished Engagement Initiative Awards, recognizing a sustainable partnership of shared power that incorporated the voices of community members and student-leaders.

• West Side Education Initiative: The Liberal Studies Accelerated Leadership program for adult learners has partnered with Harrison Park and Westwood schools, and the West Grand Rapids Neighborhood Association on multiple projects to create a college-going culture among students. 

• Spectrum Health Innovations Partnership: The Padnos College of Engineering and Computing has partnered with Spectrum Health Innovations to develop new health care products and technologies, such as medical devices, hospital equipment and software.

• Pathway Home Project: Students in a social work class, over three semesters, have partnered with Family Promise and Mel Trotter Ministries on projects that provide case management and temporary emergency shelter for families experiencing homelessness.

Learn more about Grand Valley's civic action plan online at