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Civic action plan detailed at showcase

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Posted on April 14, 2017

Grand Valley celebrated civic engagement at a showcase April 13 at the DeVos Center by highlighting the collaborative work of 56 teams of students, faculty and staff and community members, and by detailing the university's civic action plan.

The plan will drive Grand Valley’s future work around sustainable partnerships, student civic engagement, place-based contributions, and challenges to social and economic inequalities. Provost Gayle R. Davis said the plan is a timely response to local and national issues.

"There is so much inequity and polarization in our country," Davis said. "This plan will help our students go out and talk to our community partners and residents civilly to understand their issues from their point of view. This prepares students not only to be employees but to be leaders in a complicated society."

Davis also said the civic action plan sets the stage for Grand Valley to apply for the Carnegie Foundation's classification of a "community engaged" campus by 2020.

The plan follows the commitment President Thomas J. Haas made to the Campus Compact, a coalition of 1,000 institutions committed to the public purposes of higher education. Haas called the public purpose of higher education vital to maintaining a healthy community.

Three campus-community partnerships earned Distinguished Engagement Initiative Awards, recognizing a sustainable partnership of shared power that incorporated the voices of community members and student-leaders.

• West Side Education Initiative: Grand Valley's Liberal Studies Accelerated Leadership program for adult learners has partnered with Harrison Park and Westwood schools, and the West Grand Rapids Neighborhood Association on multiple projects to create a college-going culture among students. 

• Spectrum Health Innovations Partnership: Grand Valley's Padnos College of Engineering and Computing has partnered with Spectrum Health Innovations to develop new health care products and technologies, such as medical devices, hospital equipment and software. One project has earned a patent and four others have been licensed to external companies.

• Pathway Home Project: Students in a social work class, over three semesters, have partnered with Family Promise and Mel Trotter Ministries on projects that provide case management and temporary emergency shelter for families experiencing homelessness.

Learn more about Grand Valley's civic action plan online at