Strategic Plan

Unit/Units' Goals

  • To graduate students who gain employment in entry level positions within the healthcare industry.
  • To provide faculty the support to reach the program's mission.
  • To provide necessary resources and infrastructure for the program to meet its mission.

By 2018, public health employment is expected to grow 18% nationally and by 12% in Michigan; given the faster than average growth in public health opportunities, the employment prospects for new graduates will be auspicious. Students who have attained a graduate degree are considered to be the preferred candidate in public health organizations. Also, students who have completed an internship are deemed superior prospects for the public health program will require internships as a program component which should move GVSU graduates into advantageous positions for employment. It is our goal that all public health program graduates will find employment locally or nationally with 6 months of attaining their degree.

College/Colleges' Goals

  • The College of Health Professions provides continuously improving, high-quality and student-focused, undergraduate and graduate education.
  • Through 2015, as the need for new and/or revised undergraduate and/or graduate programs and degrees is established by Dean and college faculty, initiate the process required to modify the curricular offerings to the university and secure accreditation for these, as appropriate.
  • Through 2015, sustain or exceed current pass rate on professional certification exams.
  • Through 2015, maintain adequate quality clinical affiliations to ensure all students a clinical education.
  • The graduate program in public health embraces the goals of the College of Health Professions. We are dedicated to providing a student-focused, high quality graduate program. The program will include:
  • The MPH will be a new degree offering for students in CHP, which increases the feasibility of achieving employment once the program is completed and it adds to the curricular offerings of the university. The program will also be accredited through Council on Education for Public Health.
  • Upon completion of the MPH program, students will be prepared and qualified to take the professional certification exam. The certification exam for the students exiting the MPH program will be through the National Board of Public Health Examiners Certified in Public Health (CPH) Exam. This exam is only open for students who graduated from a school of public health or a program of public health that is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). The current pass rate is 74% for the exam and our students will sustain or exceed the current pass rate.
  • New clinical affiliations will be developed to ensure MPH students are adequately trained in the environments in which they will be employed. These affiliated organizations will be located throughout Michigan and surrounding states. In addition, these affiliations will increase the university's visibility, open the doors for increased opportunities for employment, and will strengthen our stance as a preeminent Michigan institution.

University Goals

Goal One

Grand Valley is a comprehensive university grounded in the tradition of liberal education with well-integrated undergraduate and graduate programs appropriate to its Carnegie classification as a Masters Large institution through which students earn accredited degrees.

The graduate program in public health will seek accreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health, which is appropriate for the Carnegie Masters Large classification. Students will be provided all educational opportunities necessary to qualify for the national certification. To obtain the Certification in Public Health (CPH) through the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE) students must graduate from an accredited program, and pass the CPH exam.

Goal Two

Grand Valley provides a rich, inclusive learning and working environment that attracts, retains, and supports a diverse community.

The MPH will provide an inclusive environment for the students in the program, college, and university. Members of the admissions committee, as well as faculty members, will provide and promote a program which encompasses all aspects of diversity and cultural competence. The program will interweave these concepts throughout the curriculum, learning, and working environments. We will aggressively promote, publicize, and market the program to all students, which include underrepresented students, as well as partner with organizations that promote diversity. Our marketing campaign will include marketing the MPH programs in various diverse locations which will increase the accessibility to underrepresented populations.

Goal Three

Grand Valley provides a student-centered liberal education experience that fosters academic success and prepares students for careers through degree programs at the graduate and undergraduate level that have clearly defined learning outcomes and a rigorous level of academic challenge.

The graduate program in public health will embrace this goal by preparing students for a career in public health. This will be done in such a way as to uphold a rigorous level of academic and clinical challenge through courses with clearly defined learning outcomes. Academically we will challenge students' knowledge through the integration of both practical and clinical skill sets. To better ensure successful graduates, the public health graduate program will admit students who are exceptional in their academic endeavors. Therefore the minimum admission criterion is a cumulative GPA of 3.0 (which appears to be the general GPA consensus for admission). Students will be required to maintain this standard in order to remain in the program. As a program outcome, all students will be provided the opportunity to acquire all knowledge and skills required for academic accreditation of the program and to qualify for national credentials.

Goal Four

Regular and rigorous assessment results inform decision-making at Grand Valley.

The public health graduate program will assess student learning goals and program goals based on best practices in the field and accreditation standards. Formative and summative assessments are examples. Obtaining accreditation by CEPH requires regular and ongoing program assessment to maintain accreditation as well as future self-study visits.

Goal Five

Grand Valley has the foundation of excellent faculty and program assets in place to support effective learning and teaching in all disciplines at all levels.

The graduate program in public health will build on this foundational goal by supporting all graduate programming and by providing special attention and support to the community health minor currently proposed for the Department of Allied Health Sciences in the College of Health Professions. MPH faculty will be qualified to teach as undergraduate and graduate faculty, according to the Graduate Council guidelines for tenure track and adjunct faculty as outlined below:

Tenure Track Graduate Faculty

  • Must be tenured or tenure track at GVSU, at the rank of Assistant Professor or higher.
  • Must possess an earned doctorate or other discipline-appropriate terminal degree from an accredited institution. Alternatively, and in highly limited circumstances, a faculty member may be qualified based on demonstrated exceptional scholarly, creative or professional achievement.
  • Must have had active involvement in graduate education (teaching, advising, or mentoring graduate students). If faculty members have not been active in graduate education previously they must provide a statement that identifies their potential for effective mentoring and teaching, including examples that support their request
  • Must demonstrate continuing and productive scholarship, professional achievement, performance or creative activity during the period prior to application for, or renewal of, this level of standing
  • Must demonstrate active professional service in the discipline.

Adjunct Graduate Faculty

  • An earned doctorate or other terminal degree, OR,
  • A masters degree with at least three years of qualifying experience post-master degree conferral and prior approval of the department chair of the appropriate department or program, OR,
  • In some cases, holding a college degree and being recognized by peers for distinguished professional accomplishments. In these cases, prior approval of the department chair and the appropriate college dean who will forward a written rationale for the decision to the Dean of Graduate Studies, OR,
  • Health professionals who meet the requirements of accrediting organizations, have the appropriate clinical experience and expertise, and appropriate degree for the profession.

Goal Six

Grand Valley educates well-prepared and well-rounded graduates who positively contribute to West Michigan, the state, the nation, and the world.

Graduates of GVSUs public health program will contribute to their communities in an impactful way by filling open public health positions in Michigan and across the United States. According to the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH):

  1. Estimates that 250,000 more public health workers will be needed by 2020. This due to the public health workforce diminishing over time (i.e. there were 50,000 fewer public health workers in 2000 than in 1980), forcing public health workers to do more for more people with fewer resources.
  2. The challenge is compounded by the fact that 23% of the current public health workforce almost 110,000 workers are eligible to retire by 2012.
  3. There are documented and forecasted shortages of public health physicians, public health nurses, epidemiologists, health care educators, and administrators. Without enough public health workers protecting us where we live, work and play, we all are vulnerable to serious health risks.
  4. To replenish the workforce and avert the crisis, schools of public health will have to train three times the current number of graduates over the next 11 years.
  5. In Michigan by 2018, it is projected there will be a 12% employment growth, with approximately 250 new job openings.

GVSU graduates will aid in filling this community's need, as well as a national need of employment fulfillment as evidenced by ASPH employment projections.

Goal Seven

Grand Valley's stakeholders are aware of and supportive of the university's financial decisions.

The stakeholders of GVSU are valued members of the university's financial decisions. They impact many components of programming, and are identified but not limited to: GVSU community, the educational and medical community, employers and supportive organizations within the state. To contribute to this goal, the public health program will be partnering with several area organizations that are dedicated to public health initiatives such as Spectrum Health's Healthier Communities. In addition, we will be developing additional relationships with community organizations to increase public health education and outreach efforts for the betterment of the surrounding communities.

Goal Eight

Grand Valley has extensive relationships with current and new constituencies that lead to these constituencies' involvement with, participation in, support of, and contribution of resources to the university community.

The MPH program will develop collaborations and affiliations with organizations dedicated to public health initiatives in Michigan, and potentially, nationally, as well. These relationships will solidify GVSU a preeminent institution and its GRAND persona through emphasizing our program strength and community commitment.

Page last modified September 16, 2015