Reach Higher 2025 huddle participants urged to dream big while considering strategies for GVSU's future

Participants in Reach Higher 2025 huddle on a computer screen
Image credit - Elizabeth Lienau

Students, faculty and staff members envisioned as part of the Reach Higher 2025 strategic plan potential approaches for shaping Grand Valley's student-centered future amid a competitive higher education climate.

The group gathered March 1 for a virtual huddle that was designed to gather input as Reach Higher 2025 leaders move to the next phase of the strategic plan, which focuses on developing strategies.

Leaders, including President Philomena V. Mantella, urged participants to think boldly. Mantella acknowledged the constraint on university resources during the pandemic but encouraged participants to suspend those concerns.

"We need to think free of those bounds," Mantella said.

Key themes that emerged from breakout sessions included: 

  • Reinforcing for students the value of liberal education courses at Grand Valley while also finding ways to expand core competencies that address future needs. One suggestion was offering training that allows students to develop digital operation competencies, such as editing video or mastering virtual presentations.
  • Recognizing the potential value of personalized learning. Ideas ranged from creating opportunities for students to decide what modalities work best for them to allowing students to design their own graduate degrees that better meet their needs for the future, such as learning that is more interdisciplinary.
  • Ensuring more opportunities for internships, community engagement, original research and other outside-the-classroom experiences to keep students' passion for learning stoked. A key part of that strategy would also be fostering an international focus for the university and offering the chance for even more students to experience a study abroad program that is nationally recognized for its student participation.
  • Tapping the rich talent of alumni, many of whom are eager to help students, and streamlining those connections.

Mantella lauded the richness of the conversation and encouraged the creativity to continue.

The next phase has started even as Reach Higher 2025 Steering Committee members continue receiving feedback on, and refining, the draft Mission, Vision and Values. For more information, including ways you can provide input, visit the Reach Higher 2025 website


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