six people seated at tables, three standing to sign papers

Leaders from GVSU, Alabama State sign articulation agreement

Leaders from Grand Valley State and Alabama State universities signed an articulation agreement April 25 that establishes pathways for degree completion for ASU students who are interested in pursuing master's degrees at GVSU.

Alabama State is an Historically Black College/University (HBCU) in Montgomery. This is the third agreement Grand Valley has signed with an HBCU. President Philomena V. Mantella said these agreements serve multiple purposes. Read more about Grand Valley's HBCU/HSI Consortium.

"By inviting and then supporting students from Alabama State who want to pursue advanced degrees, Grand Valley is enriching and continuing to diversify our community," Mantella said. "Public education must partner in new ways to expand opportunities for one and other and, ultimately, our students. We are so pleased to welcome our colleagues and, soon, their students to Grand Rapids."

The agreement will begin in the Fall 2022 semester and, initially, supports Alabama State students who want to earn master's degrees in cybersecurity or applied computer science from Grand Valley. 

VP Truss stands at podium, addressing audience, people seated at table on his left
B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, makes remarks at an event April 25 with representatives from Alabama State University.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts
group of people walking down hallway
Dean Paul Plotkowski, right, leads Quinton T. Ross Jr., president of Alabama State, on a tour of the Innovation Design Center.
Image credit - Kendra Stanley-Mills

Quinton T. Ross Jr., president of Alabama State, led a delegation from Montgomery to tour GVSU's Pew Grand Rapids Campus and its engineering facilities. 

"These two institutions are dedicated to the success of the student no matter where they come from," Ross said. "It was so important for us to travel here today. As lifelong learners, we will take back what we learned to make Alabama State stronger."

B. Donta Truss, GVSU vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, said the agreement builds on the strong ASU education students receive and adds the opportunity for them to succeed in advanced technical degree programs, graduate and find jobs.

"We are not competing against each other for students, rather meeting students where they are in their journeys and ensuring that they have opportunities beyond their imaginations," Truss said.

group of people standing in front of windows
Current Grand Valley students who are part of the HBCU-HSI Pipeline are pictured with President Philomena V. Mantella, Vice President B. Donta Truss and Dean Paul Plotkowski. Also pictured are staff members who help support the initiative.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts

Paul Plotkowski, dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, said systems are in place at Grand Valley to support ASU students, including lessening financial barriers. 

ASU students will have access to in-state tuition, internship/co-op experiences, mentoring and student support services. Two ASU students will be selected to receive a $5,000 scholarship and a graduate assistantship.

Plotkowski said West Michigan businesses are poised to support students in the HBCU consortium. "The concept of collaboration is at the heart of this agreement," he said. "We have had many community partners step up with support for this initiative and offer resources for students."


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