Students co-design GVSU programs, create deeper impact
Two ideas from a GVSU virtual design challenge for high school students have been developed into university pilot programs.
One idea focused on a life readiness class to help students see opportunities that lie ahead of them; the other idea called for a theme-based curriculum with a goal of making clear connections to careers.
The ideas came out of the 2020 Summer Learner Engagement Challenge, an initiative by President Philomena V. Mantella to position learners as co-designers of new strategies for higher education.
The challenge brought together teams of area high school students, mentored by Grand Valley representatives and student advisors, to focus on ways to create equitable and inclusive future-focused learning experiences for high school and college students. Watch a video about the Learner Engagement Challenge.
The two ideas now have sponsors, GVSU student advisors and avenues for experimentation.
Student Summer Success Program
Ideas from the "Life Readiness 101" team have been incorporated into the Oliver Wilson Scholars’ Student Summer Success Program at GVSU, a comprehensive six-week experience for incoming first-year students.
V’Lecea Hunter, senior director of Diverse Populations and Initiatives at GVSU, said six focus areas, developed from the pitch ideas, will now be part of the summer program. They include: finding your passion, academic strategy and campus resources, financial literacy and planning, bridging community and personal wellness, life readiness and social skills networking, and personal reflection.
“Students will attend classes during the day and then build a rapport with faculty and staff in the evenings to develop soft skills,” said Hunter.
Students will receive success coaching, Hunter said, to ensure they are supported emotionally, academically, mentally and physically. Students will attend skills sessions on a variety of topics, including time management, course preparation and how to utilize campus resources. Participants will earn six or seven academic credits.
The Student Summer Success Program is sponsored by the Division of Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach.
College Prep Week
Ideas from the"Theme-based Curriculum" pitch are being incorporated into College Prep Week, an initiative offered through the Charter Schools Office.
This annual summer event brings about 150 high school juniors and seniors to campus for a week of academic and cultural exploration.
Students experience what it’s like to be a college student; they stay in the living centers; attend mock classes; meet with representatives from Admissions, Financial Aid and student organizations; and explore Grand Rapids and the lakeshore.
Barry Hall, manager of charter-through-college programs, said plans are underway to incorporate a theme-based curriculum for College Prep Week 2021.
“The goal of College Prep Week is to connect with high school students when they are in the process of formulating their next steps,” said Hall. “We are working on incorporating themes that were suggested. This will bring a greater focus on careers, and focus that will set students up for success as they make plans for college and beyond. It will give them a platform they can utilize and follow.”
GVSU student advisors for the Student Summer Success Programare Stepha’N Quicksey, Jordan Richardson, Jordan Bernal and Dd Pinto-Guerra. Student co-designers represented Grand Rapids Public Museum High School, NexTech High School of Grand Rapids, Union High School, East Kentwood High School, Grand Rapids University Preparatory Academy, and Holland High School.
GVSU student advisors for College Prep Week are Stepha’N Quicksey, Dd Pinto-Guerra, Sarah Krishef and Tanthalas Taggart. Student co-designers represented University Preparatory Academy, City High Middle School, Northview High School, Wellspring Preparatory High School and East Kentwood High School.
The Learner Engagement Challenge and follow-up pilot programs are part of President Mantella’s Reach Higher Together initiative, which aims to activate the entire community to lead change in higher education.