GVSU looks ahead to future

new developmental plan sets goals until 2021

By Audra Gamble | 7/6/14 12:04pm


GVL/Kevin Sielaff President Haas gives his closing remarks to the members of the board, acknowleding their hardwork as well as the committment of the student body. The board members were dismissed after a productive and beneficial meeting inside Kirkoff's Pere Marquette Room.

As Grand Valley State University begins to look ahead to the upcoming fall semester and the return of the bulk of its students, the university is also looking even further into the future.

The university is finalizing its developmental plan for 2016-2021, as the current developmental plan will end in 2015.

According to a recent interview President Thomas Haas did with MiBiz.com, the university will focus more on its students and curriculum. A committee has been working on the new plan since the fall of last year.

“We have made very good progress in the past four years on our eight goals,” said Julia Guevara, associate vice president of academic affairs, accreditation, assessment and strategic planning. “Current feedback suggests all will be met on schedule. Moving forward into the 2016-2021 period, we believe five outcomes will provide another strong framework for action and allow us to be even more united in our focus.”

A mix of individuals has been involved in creating the long-term plan for the university.

“Our strategic plan starts with the board of trustees,” Guevara said. “After that, the process engages students, faculty, staff and institutional administrators, under the guidance of an institution-wide strategic positioning committee led by the associate vice president of assessment, accreditation and strategic planning. The SPC has membership from across the institution at all levels including students. Students are an essential group in the creation of the plan.”

President Haas is planning on being at GVSU for a long time, so he is invested in making sure the future of GVSU is bright.

“We have drafted a vision statement that actually turns our former vision statement completely around,” Haas said to MiBiz.com. “Before it was focused just in the university per se, but now what we have in our vision statement is, first and foremost, a focus on our students and student success. That’s going to lead us very well into these next five years.”

Some of the focuses of the new strategic plan are to increase diversity, create an inclusive learning environment, internalize the curriculum and maximize learning opportunities for students.

Additionally, many of the goals for 2016-2021 will be result-oriented so that university community members can track visible improvement in the university.

“There are many areas in which the 2016-2021 strategic plan will be aspirational, where the university will be looking for measurable growth and change in its performance, including the performance of its undergraduate and graduate students,” Guevara said.

While the plan is still under construction, students will soon see the university act in a manner that corresponds with its new vision.

“Look at how we spend our money, who we hire, who we recruit and admit as students, the degrees we offer, who graduates and how teaching and learning are supported and you will see our strategic plan in action now and for the foreseeable future,” Guevara said.

For Haas, he’s focused on a stronger support for GVSU students and their long-term success.

“We’re going to provide a commitment to our students with an inclusive learning environment,” he said. “We’re going to look at the skills necessary for life-long, productive careers.

“As a university, we’re going to be known as innovative, and for our outstanding teaching and scholarships and especially community engagement and the stewardship of our resources."

As for where the developmental plan creators see the university at the end of 2021, they see GVSU as a cutting-edge institution.

“GVSU will continue to be one of the key hubs for knowledge creation and learning in Michigan,” Guevara said. “(GVSU) will remain on the cutting edge of technologies driving learning and teaching. (The university) will be fully engaged in all local and statewide efforts to promote justice, fairness and economic prosperity for all citizens.”

To view the current GVSU strategic plan and information on the development of the 2016-2021 version, visit www.gvsu.edu/strategicplanning.

To read the full interview with Haas, visit www.mibiz.com/item/21619-gvsu-president-tom-haas.


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