How We Got Here: Our Values, Vision, and Mission

The RH 2025 Steering Committee is happy to present to the GVSU community the latest draft Values, Vision, and Mission statements (May 2021). These statements have emerged from our community’s 2019 Grand Huddles, as well as our more focused efforts of the past five months—soliciting and considering input from all segments of GVSU’s stakeholders.

These statements are GVSU’s public declaration of why we exist as an institution, and for whom. They state what animates our work now and in the future, and signal our priorities for improvement. Thus, the varied audiences for these statements include our students, faculty and staff, community partners, and the wider public.

This page provides additional context and information on the process, conversations, and your input, that resulted in our draft language. These emerging strategies will be engaged by each division and college over the Fall 2021 semester and inform the formation of divisional and college strategies to fuel our success in coming years.


What's New

Values

We have intentionally listed our five values first, as these are the foundations for the mission and vision, and reflect the concepts we share for how we work, live, learn, and teach together. Since we shared earlier drafts with the campus community in January, the Values statements have changed the least, though we did add a fifth value, titled Internationalization.

Vision

Student agency centers this statement, which intentionally features “equity,” as well as the importance of lifelong learning for all. Both the vision and our mission statements use the more inclusive and expansive term “learner” to underscore the reciprocity of learning that emerged as important from the Grand Huddles and 2020 huddles. All in the GVSU community are both educators and learners, and it is the act of learning that centers all we do. Stemming from our shared values, our vision statement is meant to be aspirational and expansive in its forward-looking messaging.

Mission

The mission statement is one, succinct sentence; the 2016-21 statement is two full sentences. What we have moved away from since the January version is to attempt to list values in the mission statement. Like the vision statements, our mission’s economical language is meant to holistically reflect our shared values and imbue a forward-looking tone.


​​​​​​​Feedback on the First Draft (Jan. 2021)

The RH2025 Steering Committee shared a draft M/V/V with the President’s Cabinet on 27 Jan., and concurrently posted it on the RH2025 website for the larger community. The specific draft of 27 January included four values (the same four we have now, with the exception of the additional “Internationalization” value we have since added). See the 27 Jan. draft of the M/V/V.

We invited all stakeholders to provide feedback through their unit/college/division leadership, through their respective representation or directly, via the feedback section of the RH2025 website. Many faculty provided us with feedback at the UAS meeting on 12 Feb. 2021.

The specific feedback we sought from students, faculty, staff, trustees, and community partners was:

  1. What do you like about this draft Mission/Vision/Values statement?
  2. Is there anything that is essential that is missing from the draft statements?

Feedback on the Values

What we heard was generally supportive of the draft M/V/V. The most consistent and widespread support was for the Values, their solid representation of what’s important to stakeholders, their economical language, tone, and the fact that there were fewer than the current seven.

Feedback on the Mission

What we heard about the draft Mission statement included themes that showed concern about:

  • it signaling a move to open admissions and an erosion of standards
  • its syntactical “clunkiness” and its obvious effort to include specific words that already are part of the values
  • its length
  • its apparent dichotomy between liberal education and professional skills, whereas GVSU is aiming for an integration of the two concepts, not continuing to see them as distinct from one another
  • it not clearly identifying our core “business” as a university
  • its absence of student/learner agency as the central focus

Feedback on the Vision

What we heard about the draft Vision statement included themes that showed concern about:

  • its overlap and repetition of the draft mission statement
  • its lack of aspiration
  • its length and wordiness
  • its dichotomy of liberal education vs. professional training

After several dozen more iterations, and polls and discussions with the RH 2025 Steering Committee, the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), and others, we believe that the current statements reflect the feedback we are grateful for from all of you. Thank you.


What's Next

These statements will be further refined in coming months, prior to their presentation to various stakeholder groups before the final version is presented to the Board of Trustees for their approval at the November 2021 meeting. The Senior Leadership Team (SLT) as well as deans and the steering committee will continue its work on emerging strategies, which we plan to bring to the campus for input sometime in May. These emerging strategies will be engaged by each division and college over the Fall 2021 semester and inform the formation of divisional and college strategies to fuel our success in coming years.