Community members offer ideas for GVSU's future, creating best learning atmosphere as part of Reach Higher 2025 discussion

The Alumni House
Image credit - Amanda Pitts

Grand Valley alumni, community partners and external stakeholders shared their thoughts on topics including the university's reputation, its future and the best way to prepare students for a lifetime of learning during the latest Reach Higher 2025 virtual huddle.

Participants were asked to provide their unique perspectives as GVSU moves into the next phase of its strategic plan.

President Philomena V. Mantella commended those gathered for the support the community has shown during a trying year.

"Your university is doing well. I think we have managed incredibly well through the Covid crisis," Mantella said. "I want to express my gratitude to the community because everyone has led through this crisis."

As she has in other sessions, Mantella encouraged participants to think boldly as they explored strategies for unlocking value for the people GVSU serves. She asked them to consider the student experience; the lifetime value Grand Valley brings to students; inclusive, purposeful growth as well as the structure that supports all of these things happening.

The value of learning and accommodating a wide range of student needs was a key takeaway during the discussions. Janet Winter, one of the Reach Higher 2025 Steering Committee co-leads, said in her breakout session, they noted that every day, faculty and staff "inspire students, and are inspired by the students."

Part of ensuring meaningful learning is creating an atmosphere where people are able to be their authentic selves, participants said.

Many in the session also noted how important it is to create multiple modalities for learning and to find ways to attract and accommodate students of the future who may not be seeking a traditional student experience. Optimizing both online and in-person learning is a must, they said.

An overriding sentiment from those participating was that, based on their experience in the workforce, experiential learning, co-ops and other hands-on training are vital for graduates to be successful. In summarizing remarks, Mantella said it was clear that participants emphasized the need for degree programs to be industry-informed and to provide the kind of preparation that allow students to be successful wherever they go.

Another strong view was the pride in Grand Valley's growth and influence and the need to promote that even more fully.

For more information on the strategic plan and how you can provide input, visit the Reach Higher 2025 website.


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