Grand Valley's Reach Higher Showcase is an interactive, exhibition-style public event celebrating the forward-thinking and cutting-edge work of faculty and staff.  The Showcase is part of the greater Reach Higher 2025 university initiative.  This year's Showcase will take place on Friday, April 12 from 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm at the Richard M. DeVos Center Plaza on the Grand Rapids Pew Campus. Find more out about this event on the Reach Higher Showcase webpage

GVSU's Information Technology Division will host over 15 exhibits at the 2024 event.  Below, find out a bit about these exhibits then attend the event to engage and learn more! 

Innovation + Research Exhibits

Presenters: Eric Kunnen, Ben Rapin, Milos Topic, Luke DeMott, Emil Delgado, Melissa Cunningham, Elizabeth Joyce

Through the Digital Transformation (DX) Strategy, the Information Technology (IT) Division collaborates to enhance and extend GVSU’s academic, research, and collegiate experience by establishing new opportunities, modern services, innovative approaches, and supporting technologies. This presentation focuses on the success of the past while pioneering a grand future through a focused effort to accelerate 

Presenter: Hunter Bridwell

Since last summer the Technology Showcase has occupied both LIB012 the original space as well as LIB040. This physical expansion has allowed Innovation + Research to expand in scope of what we provide the GVSU community including laser cutting and engraving, sewing, and embroidery. Furthermore, it's allowed us to show and demonstrate virtual reality (VR) and more walk-up approachable technology in LIB040 as well.

Presenters: Robert Talbert, Eric Kunnen, Jacob Fortman

Laker Learning Futures brings together faculty with inspiration to experiment with innovative pedagogies and technologies in teaching. The Faculty Futures Team is focused on accelerating and incubating ideas as well as beta-testing new tools for education while providing valuable feedback as the university designs the next generation of teaching and learning environments. Throughout the year, this initiative has brought together early adopter faculty and staff who have explored a variety of emerging technologies with the opportunity to contribute to the transformation of education.

Presenters: Jacob Fortman and Ruth Yeboah 

The perceived value of emerging educational technology is shaped by a range of media narratives. Such media narratives include corporate marketing material, independent journalism, blogs, and other media outlets. In this study, we analyze articles from two major education technology companies to understand how and why authentic learning in virtual reality (VR) is valued. Findings from our study show that these companies value learning in authentic places and engaging in authentic practices. These authentic places and practices were seen as improving teaching practices, memory retention among students, and fostering safe spaces for learning.

Presenters:  Hunter Bridwell and Justin Melick

The digital skills workshops are a cross-departmental effort between IT Innovation and Research, The Knowledge Market, and eLearning to provide students opportunities to both share knowledge and build their repertoire of skills including but not limited to using a sewing machine, ethical usage of artificial intelligence, and digital storytelling. These student lead workshops are geared toward the general student body as their primary audience who may have interest but not expertise in these subjects.

Presenters: Morgan Hamlin, Luke DeMott, Eric Kunnen, Joseph Van Harken

Grand Valley State University has been exploring the dynamic world of Artificial Intelligence and its potential to revolutionize how we learn and research. Over the past year, AI has advanced exponentially, uncovering ways we can enhance our academic and research experiences. Here at GVSU, we plan to use AI not just as a tool, but as a collaborator, reshaping how we think, learn, and innovate. Join us, as we discover AI and discuss the possibilities.

Presenter: Joseph Van Harken

What is a Digital Twin? A Digital Twin is a dynamic, virtual representation of a physical object like a campus or a human. It can be used for campus planning, student orientation, improving learning environments, personalized education, and much more. In this exhibit we feature two use cases: The Digital Doppelganger, where we use an 8-camera depth capture array created by private our sector partner, Soar Streaming, to create photo-realistic digital human avatars, which can be used in immersive XR experiences like campus tours. The other use case features the capability of prospective architectural renderings of future inspiring projects such as the Blue Dot Lab presented in AR. Users can place the Digital Twin onto the surface using their phone and walk around the experience to explore.

Teaching and Learning Exhibits

Presenters: Barbara Stevens, eLearning Technologies; Timothy Mohnkern, Disability Support Resources

Disability Support Resources and eLearning Technologies frequently collaborate to promote accessible course design using Blackboard accessibility tools and universal design principles.

Presenters: Justin Melick in collaboration with University Libraries

The Digital Creator Lab serves to bridge technology access gaps by providing new and expanded resources available to all students at GVSU. This includes an equipment checkout program (cameras, lighting kits, microphones, etc.); a podcasting booth; asynchronous online tutorials; computer stations with audio and video editing software; and peer-to-peer academic and creative support from Digital Skills Consultants that staff the DCL. More specifically these consultants help students with questions about their digital projects, including digital content creation, project approach, and data visualization. The DCL also supports faculty interested in developing assignments and pedagogy that incorporate digital skills as part of learning outcomes.

Presenters:  Vince St. Germain, Katie Clark, David Nivala,  Phuong  Vo (Assessment and Accreditation Specialist, Provost Office) 

In the university's ongoing commitment to providing students with the highest quality education, the Office of the Provost and eLearning Team have partnered with Blackboard Anthology to successfully integrate the EAC Assessment and Accreditation solution across a diverse set of programs to enhance their ability to gather and analyze assessment data. As such, we are exploring innovative ways to identify the alignment of student learning outcomes by developing crosswalks that showcase the interconnectedness of learning objectives across different disciplines. In doing so, we aim to enhance the holistic educational experience of students and our commitment to continuous improvement and collaboration.

Presenters: Kim Kenward, Kelley Senkowski, and Stephanie Webber

The successful migration of our Learning Management System, known as the Bb Learn Ultra project, marks a significant milestone in our ongoing commitment to enhancing the learning experience for GV students, faculty, and staff. This initiative aligns with our Information Technology Digital Transformation Strategy, a vital component of the Reach Higher 2025 Strategic Plan, aiming to support an empowered educational experience.

After the fall 2023 semester, 87% of all Blackboard Ultra Courses became accessible to students, marking the highest availability percentage recorded since the 2020 pandemic. Within Bb Learn Ultra, learners can easily track their academic commitments through the activity stream, calendar due dates, and course-specific progress tracking, which provides faculty with more comprehensive and quantitative insights into their students' learning. Our move to Bb Learn Ultra signifies a positive step forward in our commitment to fostering an enriched learning environment.

Technology Transformation Exhibits

Presenters:  Rory Webb, Jayne Dissette, Greg Koerner, Samantha McLaughlin and Tagny Diake

Learn about the journey that IT Services has taken to become more focused on serving the GVSU community efficiently and effectively.  This presentation includes a look into service metrics and outcomes comparing those in 2022 to those achieved in 2023. 

Presenters: Emil Delgado, Aaron Lowen (Academic Affairs), Phillip Batty (Institutional Analysis) 


Presenters: John Klein, Josh Marko, Amy Rhoades, David Bengry

This presentation explores the collaboration between the Project Management Office (PMO) and the GVSU community in driving strategic initiatives. Focused on fostering a digital transformation, the PMO plays a pivotal role in enhancing the educational experience and shaping a positive organizational culture. Insights into effective partnership models, innovative approaches, and successful outcomes highlight the synergy between the university and project management, showcasing the potential for transformative impact in higher education.


Presenters: Eric Bellmore, Keifer McCrackin, Cody Eding, Zach DeBruine, Erin Carrier

During the summer of 2023 IT and CIS collaborated to rearchitect the existing High Performance Computing (HPC) environment to better suit the needs of our researchers and students. The cluster, known as "Clipper", offers a theoretical 33.6 teraflops of peak CPU and 62.4 teraflops of peak GPU computing power. The environment is currently used by faculty and students in Computer Science, Biology, the Applied Computing Institute, and Statistics. Plans for this environment include adding capacity while planning for the next iteration of High-Performance Computing @GVSU.

Presenters: Belinda Boardman, Catherine Buyarski, Lindsey DesArmo, Katherine Fay, Erica Herwig, Josh Marko, Karen Mushong, Nick Nelson, Ben Rapin, Michelle Rhodes, Danny Velez, and Pam Wells

GVSU implemented Workday Platform in January 2024 and will implement Workday Student in 2027.

To learn more about GVSU Information Technology's accomplishments, visit the 2023 GVSU IT Annual Report.

Page last modified March 11, 2024