School:Grand Valley State University

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Grand Valley State University (also known as GVSU), is a public, liberal arts university in Allendale, Michigan, United States. The university is located west of Grand Rapids, Michigan and offers classes at a second campus in downtown Grand Rapids--GVSU's Pew Campus. The Pew Campus houses programs in Engineering, Education, Nursing, Health Professions, and Business. A third campus in Holland, Michigan houses many of the online hybrid degree programs and two graduate programs--the Master’s of Business Administration and the Masters of Education. Three regional centers are located in Traverse City, Detroit, and Muskegon. You can take a virtual tour here[1].

In the semester Winter 2023, there were 20,197 students, with 17,240 of them being undergraduate and the other 2,957 students being graduate students.[1] In fall 2023 it welcomed a historic number of incoming freshman. Grand Valley is still able to maintain its average class size of 26 students. As of Fall 2023 it employs 1,215 faculty, it also had 100 undergraduate programs and 45 graduate programs. Grand Valley also offers over 400 student-led clubs and organizations.

President Philomena Mantella, affectionately known as Philly, is the first woman to serve in this position. She has initialized a program known as the "Reach Higher 2025"[2] in order to encourage dialogue regarding Grand Valley's innovative future.

Within GVSU, the Frederik Meijer Honors College is housed. The Honors College has 7% of all undergraduate enrollment. In Winter 2023, there was a total enrollment of 1,215 students. The focus on the Honors College curriculum is an alternate education that focuses on integration of topics and perspectives, utilizing the resources surrounding the GVSU community.

Grand Valley houses a Technology Commercialization Office.[3] This office functions similarly to a Technology Transfer Function. The office focuses on creating connections between faculty, students, and industry resources through scholarships and connection programs.

There has been a movement through the past several years to improve the innovation and entrepreneurship landscape on GVSU main campuses. This recent push has gained the momentum of numerous courses, clubs, workshops, competitions and other programs involving innovation and entrepreneurship. The infrastructure is slowly growing to empower a greater number of students with the skills and mindset of an entrepreneur and innovator. With a continued focus on liberal arts, Grand Valley has been working on integrating subjects to allow for students to receive a more well-rounded education.

Campus Overview

Promoting Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship

GVSU has eight non-innovation/entrepreneurship departments utilizing innovation and entrepreneurship in their courses: Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Business, Engineering, Marketing, Cell and Molecular Biology, Biology, Art, and the Honors College. Grand Valley also has the Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, CEI. The CEI supports students through a combination of courses, curriculum, peer to peer networking, competitions, and mentorship.


Encouraging Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship

At Grand Valley, faculty in the Seidman College of Business and the School of Engineering are more encouraged to be innovative than faculty in other areas. However, many faculty members do some type of research or project. However, faculty with research/projects are limited to a course load of three total courses a semester.


Creating Collaborative Industry-University Relationships

Grand Valley's Technology Commercialization Office is committed to creating opportunities to enable university-industry relationships and connecting student research with real-world applications. The TCO capitalizes on value created by scholarship at GVSU, and facilitates the exchange of ideas between students, faculty, and industry professionals. Business needs, project management and expertise can all be provided at the TCO.

GVSU Innovation and Research Division of IT

Grand Valley supports classroom level innovation through the Innovation and Research division of the IT department. This group focuses on technology that can better enable faculty as well as providing recources for students. Notably this group operates two spaces in the Mary Idema Pew Library: Gary and Joyce DeWitt Exhibition Space and the Atomic Object Technology Showcase.

Additionally this group provides recources for faculty at GVSU through the XSTUDIO, Student Technology and Innovation Guild, and the Digital Creator Lab.[4]

GVSU Reach Higher 2025

"In Winter 2021, President Philomena V. Mantella charged an inclusive steering committee with leading the development of the Reach Higher 2025 strategic framework." [5] Reach Higher 2025 is an innitiative to strive towards reaching the aspirations of GVSU's faculty, staff, students, and community.[6] At the end of Winter 2023 the Reach Higher 2025 showcase was held.

Co-op Program

For GVSU’s Engineering program, students must participate in a 3 semester co-op program. The last two years of an Engineer’s education, a student will alternate between co-op (usually at a company) and school every other semester. This allows students to apply what they have learned in real live situations and gain valuable industrial work experience. Typically students will get job offers after graduation with the company they co-oped with. The program also has a two semester long undergraduate senior project.  

Not only does all this hands-on experience cause students to develop work ethic/economics and project management skills, it offers a more active participation in innovation and entrepreneurship.

GVSU Study Abroad

GVSU supports over 4000+ study abroad programs and students are actively encouraged to pursue these oppertuniteas.[7]


Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Not only does Grand Valley State University support its students in innovation and entrepreneurship, both in and outside the classroom, but the Grand Rapids community also supports it. There are many organizations that offer funding, advising, space, and much more for small start up companies and businesses. Below is a list of some community organizations and GVSU programs and courses that support innovation and entrepreneurship.


  • MWest Jumpstart
  • MWest Challenge
  • 5x5 Pitch Competition
  • Startup Weekend
  • Startup Grind
  • StartGarden


  • Idea Pitch
  • Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO)
  • Design Thinking Academy
  • Design Start
  • Social Innovation Club (SIC)
  • 77 Idea Lab


  • Makerspace (GVSU)
  • Social Innovation Lab (GVSU)
  • Start Lab (GVSU)
  • Flexlab (Kendall College of Art and Design)
  • Innovation Design Center for Engineering
  • Muskegon Innovation Hub


  • AFN 381 - Design Thinking in Applied Food and Nutrition
  • ART 153 - Making and Meaning
  • BUS 501 - Self Management for Leaders
  • EGR 185 - First-Year Engineering Design
  • EGR 301 - Analytical Tools for Product Design
  • EGR 401 - Advanced Product Design
  • EGR 610 - Engineering Design
  • EGR 614 - Opportunity Identification for Medical Devices
  • ENT 150/151 - Entrepreneurial Quest/New Venture Feasibility
  • ENT 350/351 - Entrepreneurial Business Plan and Project
  • HNR 151-154 - Design Thinking for Social Product Innovation
  • INT 323 -  Design Thinking to Meet Real World Needs
  • MKT 369 - Creativity in Marketing Innovation

Landscape Canvas/Student Projects

2022-2023 Change Story Video:

Creating a Conference for Projects and Prototypes at Grand Valley State University

2022-2023 Landscape Canvas:

2019-2020 Pitch Video:

2018-2019 Pitch Pamplet:

2018-2019 Landscape Canvas:

2017-2018 Landscape Canvas: 

2016-2017 Landscape Canvas:

2016-2017 Pitch Video[Pitch Video] 2015-2016 Landscape Canvas:

2014-2015 Pitch Video

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