Faculty, staff discuss mission and values during Reach Higher 2025 huddles

screenshot of Zoom meeting with President Mantella and other leaders
Campus leaders joined faculty members for a discussion about the university's mission and values.
Image Credit: Elizabeth Lienau

President Philomena V. Mantella listened and engaged with faculty and staff members December 3 during two virtual huddles continuing the process of formalizing Grand Valley's strategic plan through 2025.

"Especially during a presidential transition, a strategic plan is a time to think about our shared values, the essence of the university, the opportunities that lie ahead, and the things we think are unique to Grand Valley and want to preserve," Mantella said.

The university's current strategic plan continues through the 2020-2021 academic year. 

Mantella said responding to the COVID-19 has slightly extended the timeline, adding the pandemic makes strategic planning more imperative. "We now know about the disparities and the impact of COVID-19 on our students. The stakes are higher than ever and we need everyone on this journey," she said.

Chris Plouff, senior associate vice president for Academic Affairs, said the work of shaping the plan builds from last year's conversations about the university's strengths and opportunities, working toward formal endorsement of the plan in November 2021.

screenshot of campus staff members discussing mission and values on Zoom meeting
A staff huddle to continue progress toward a strategic plan was held December 3.
Image Credit: Elizabeth Lienau

Three people are leading the Reach Higher 2025 Steering Committee: Tara Bivens, benefits manager, Human Resources: Mark Schaub, dean of Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies; and Janet Winter, associate dean, Kirkhof College of Nursing. The list of committee members is posted online.

Faculty and staff members who participated in the December 3 huddles focused on the university's values and mission statement

After breakout sessions and discussion about what was liked and disliked about the statement and values, Schaub said participants wanted clarity in the mission and a decision if values were aspirational or practiced.

During the faculty huddle, a particular emphasis during discussion was highlighting the collaborative learning environment in which faculty members engage with learners in ways that can lead to transforming lives and communities.

"I think what’s really key here is we need to create several spaces for the various phases of this conversation," Mantella said, in conclusion. "The way in which we’re imagining this plan is to create a framework we all speak to and embrace as a part of our work."

Virtual student huddles are set for Tuesday, December 8. Members of the campus community can also provide feedback online by filling out the online form or sending an email to reachhigher2025@gvsu.edu. 

— Peg West contributed to this article.

Reach Higher 2025