GVSU Board approves creating college focused on computing and advanced technology

Grand Valley's Board of Trustees took a bold step toward launching a new college focused on computing and advanced technology.

The board voted on November 3 to move ahead with a plan to create the as-yet unnamed new college by elevating and expanding the School of Computing that is currently part of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing into its own college by fall of 2024.

The move will create additional capacity for GVSU’s computing and engineering programs, enabling each program to reach the university’s goal of delivering three times as many graduates in high-tech disciplines over the next 10 years to help meet the needs of Michigan employers.

"This new college represents a visionary investment that will allow Grand Valley to stay at the forefront of technology and innovation by preparing students with future-ready skills that will drive both the local and state economies," said President Philomena V. Mantella. "At the same time, the Padnos College of Engineering can sharpen its focus on broadening the robust engineering programs, experiential learning and community partnerships that have long set our graduates apart."

An audience watches a meeting conducted by people sitting around a table.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts

The board's vote was the culmination of a comprehensive, inclusive planning process that sought to best align the programs for the future. GVSU computing-related programs, which range from computer science to cybersecurity to health informatics and bioinformatics, have experienced strong growth – such as a nearly 50% increase in master's degrees in 2021-2023 – with potential for more to meet student and employer demand.

"Along with addressing the high student demand for programs specifically related to computing disciplines, this new college will also allow us to deepen our interdisciplinary approach with all students as we prepare them for the futures they face," said Fatma Mili, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. "We are proud to build on Dean Paul Plotkowski's legacy and PCEC's track record of innovation and forward-looking approach to education and engagement. We will continue to nurture the strong relationship with industry partners and the unique experiential learning experiences of our students. Our faculty is energized by the new college’s potential for expanding such opportunities in other disciplines."

A person smiles while looking off to the side. The person is seated at a table.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts

Much work remains on this change, including establishment of programs for each college and creating a transition for current students, as well as naming the college focused on computing programs and hiring deans for that college and the Padnos College of Engineering. Current students’ programs will not be affected by the creation of the new college.

Plotkowski, the current dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, plans to retire at the end of the academic year. 

In other board action:

  • The board approved the construction of additional restroom and concession facilities at the northwest corner of Lubbers Stadium. New restroom fixtures will expand restroom capacity. Meanwhile, concession areas will be expanded on both the lower and upper levels. In addition, the project calls for providing elevator access to the upper areas of the stadium. The project is slated for completion before the start of the 2024 football season.


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