Grand Valley State University Civic Action Plan

April 4, 2017

Grand Valley State University’s commitment to the values of community engagement is embodied in the institution’s mission statement and strategic plan. The Civic Action Plan has provided an opportunity to highlight, elevate, and further develop the good work that many in our institution are already doing in the field of civic engagement, as well as further grow and develop commitments. We have been intentional about telling our story in a way that affirms the previous work of many stakeholders from across the university. This work has laid the foundation for a successful Civic Action Plan and implementation of that plan. We seek to affirm that history and bring a broad representation of campus and community partners into the planning process and implementation, in order to continue to develop a civic ethos at GVSU.

President Haas signed the Campus Compact 30th Anniversary Action Statement of Presidents and Chancellors, committing GVSU to creating a Civic Action Plan due in March 2017. The framework and process for the plan were built around the five commitments of the  30th Anniversary Action Statement, which support several objectives in GVSU’s strategic plan. Focus areas, outcomes, and key action items for each of the five teams and corresponding commitments are as follows:

Core Team: We foster an environment that consistently affirms the centrality of the public purposes of higher education by setting high expectations for members of the campus community to contribute to their achievement.

  • Communication and Coordination
  • Systematic Data Collection
  • Assessment and Evaluation


  • Coordinate and communicate community engagement work
  • Systematically collect data related to community engagement
  • Systematically assess impact of community engagement

Sustainable Partnerships Team: We empower our students, faculty, staff, and community partners to co-create mutually respectful partnerships in pursuit of a just, equitable, and sustainable future for communities beyond the campus—nearby and around the world.

  • Faculty and Staff Development
  • Faculty Rewards and Recognition
  • Fully Engage Community Partners


  • Develop guidelines, framework, and professional development for faculty and staff
  • Reward excellence and advocate for revisions to tenure and promotion guidelines which reflect value and commitment to community engagement
  • Engage alumni, donors, and corporate and community partners

Student Civic Engagement Team: We prepare our students for lives of engaged citizenship, with the motivation and capacity to deliberate, act and lead in pursuit of the public good.

  • Civic Literacy
  • Student Readiness for Civic Engagement


  • Co-develop Civic Mentor curriculum for, and with, Housing and Residence Life
  • Redevelop ACTIVATE in collaboration with Social Justice Centers

Place-Based Institution Team: We embrace our responsibilities as place-based institutions, contributing to the health and strength of our communities—economically, socially, environmentally, educationally, and politically.

  • K12 Education
  • Health
  • Safety
  • Economic Development


  • Develop College of Education prospective elementary teachers’ proficiency in early literacy and reading instruction and increase 3rd graders’ literacy proficiency in Westside schools
  • Co-design Kirkhof College of Nursing’s collaborative practice partnerships for increased health in Westside neighborhoods
  • Expand community-based learning opportunities for Criminal Justice students and increase safety in Westside neighborhoods
  • Enhance GVSU’s reputation as a partner with Westside businesses

Social and Economic Equity Team:  We harness the capacity of our institutions—through research, teaching, partnerships, and institutional practice—to challenge the prevailing social and economic inequalities that threaten our democratic future.

  • Social Justice and Empathy Education for Faculty
  • Social Justice Education & Outreach through Co-Curricular Connections
  • Community Based Learning Education for Faculty
  • Intergroup Dialogue
  • Pathways efforts to create a college going culture
  • Economic Justice


  • Educate through units and departments to provide faculty training broadly
  • Implement campus wide intergroup dialogue opportunities
  • Offer co-curricular workshops in classrooms and community organizations
  • Increase K-12 partnerships to enhance matriculation to GVSU and create a college going culture
  • Expand Replenish food resource and invite in community partners to provide services for students
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