Photography - Mission, Vision, Values

Studies in Photography at Grand Valley State University encompass the history, critical and aesthetic theory, and varied practice of photography as a medium of visual communication and expression in culture and society.

As in all forms of communication, the study of photography requires that students synthesize analytical and creative capacities and apply them to the critical interpretation and creative production of meaning. Mastery in photography requires an understanding of the visual language of the medium, the acquisition of technique, and a disposition of intellectual curiosity.

Photo students taking pictures in downtown Grand Rapids


The Photography program, in supporting the mission of the Department of Visual and Media Arts, and the University, develops liberally-educated professional image-makers and media scholars through student-centered inquiry and practice in visual communication and the history, theory, criticism, and production of photographic images using state of the art methods, tools, and facilities.


The Photography program at Grand Valley will continue to develop as the regional center of  respected photographic and visual communication studies that promotes professional versatility, critical awareness, and life-long learning.  The Photography program will contribute to the profession and the vitality of the community, as demonstrated through student achievement and placement, faculty development and creative activity, and participation in the regional culture and society.


  1. We value a student-centered curriculum with a face-to-face learning community of students and faculty.  
  2. We value the ideals of a liberal education and the life of the mind.
  3. We value a commitment to teaching by highly qualified, diverse, full-time, permanent faculty.
  4. We value a safe and professional learning environment and the essential experiences and opportunities conducive to professional development, creativity and intellectual growth.
  5. We value a sharing of resources and collaborations with interested partners in the Department of Visual and Media Arts, the university community, and the regional community.

Page last modified October 28, 2019