Reach Higher 2025 Steering Committee co-leads guiding new drafts of GVSU's Mission, Vision and Values, next steps in strategic plan

Campus and the Cook Carillon Tower at sunrise.
Image credit - Kendra Stanley-Mills

Members of the Reach Higher 2025 Steering Committee are continuing efforts to refine the draft language of the university's Mission, Vision and Values while looking ahead to next steps in formalizing Grand Valley's strategic plan.

The language is being presented to the campus community through groups of stakeholders, ranging from student groups to faculty governance, said the three co-leads of the Steering Committee, Tara Bivens, Mark Schaub and Janet Winter.

These statements will ultimately be the foundational elements and guideposts for the university's vision and strategy, the co-leaders said. The language reflects input from huddles held late in 2020 as well as other feedback from those in the campus community.

Even as the language refining continues, the Steering Committee will also start addressing next steps in envisioning how the university will incorporate these priorities into the work that everyone does, Schaub said. More campus community huddles are being planned for this next step in the process.

The three co-leads of the Steering Committee are working to ensure the input, which started with huddles convened in 2019 by President Philomena V. Mantella for conversations about Grand Valley's future, is threaded throughout the Reach Higher 2025 effort.

They all said they are grateful to play key roles in shaping the university's strategic plan.

Tara Bivens
Tara Bivens, benefits manager for Human Resources
Mark Schaub
Mark Schaub, dean of the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies
Janet Winter
Janet Winter, associate dean for undergraduate programs in the Kirkhof College of Nursing

Bivens, benefits manager for Human Resources, is excited to work toward a central goal of creating a plan that resonates throughout Grand Valley and the community it serves.

"This is an amazing opportunity to be a part of a process that will shape the tone of the university for the next four years," Bivens said. "I also thought it was important for me as a woman of color, and in my position in Human Resources, to be a strategic partner in this work." 

Schaub, dean of the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, values the chance to work closely with colleagues on the process, though he laments that not being able to do so in face-to-face sessions.

"As a faculty member who teaches writing courses, I know that language has great power, and statements of our shared purpose can affect how we do our jobs," Schaub said. "I’m a Laker through and through, and love having this chance to work with colleagues and students across the university on our shared purpose."

Winter, associate dean for undergraduate programs in the Kirkhof College of Nursing, said this work aligns with extensive experience as a strategic planning consultant.

“My appointment to co-lead the Steering Committee comes after many years of working and collaborating with numerous GVSU faculty, staff and students," Winter said. "It is my hope that all university constituents, both internal and external, feel engaged, informed and energized over this approach in gathering diverse perspectives.”

You can find more information about Reach Higher 2025 here.


Sign up and receive the latest Grand Valley headlines delivered to your email inbox each morning.