Graduate Studies

A Focus on Graduate Education

Dean Jeffrey Potteiger
Dean’s View

It is a tremendous pleasure to start the academic year as your new dean of Graduate Studies at Grand Valley State University. My sincere thanks goes to Provost Gayle Davis for working to provide a seamless transition into my position as dean.  I feel truly fortunate to have the opportunity to serve students, staff, faculty, and alumni of GVSU as we work together to help prepare our students to meet the challenges of an ever changing world.  As a large masters comprehensive university, GVSU is well-positioned to be a leader in preparing future professionals for addressing many of our current and future challenges.

The Fall semester is off to a busy start here in the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS).  We spent the early part of this year developing our OGS goals for 2010-11, as well as aligning our strategic plan for Graduate Studies with the GVSU Strategic Plan for 2010-15.  I wish to extend a well-deserved thank you to John Stevenson, Mark Staves, and David Cannon for the work each has done on our planning documents.  The OGS has set forth an ambitious agenda for the year, including the overarching goals of 1) increasing the visibility of graduate education at Grand Valley State University and throughout the state of Michigan and 2) working to continue to enhance the educational experiences for all of our graduate students.

Primary efforts to increase the visibility of graduate education include planning for a designated commons space for graduate students.  Our office has submitted a proposal to facilities management and we are hopeful that we will have a graduate student commons for use beginning in the Winter of 2011.  More details will be provided as we finalize our work on this project.  In an effort to further build a graduate student culture at GVSU, the OGS is collaborating with the Graduate and Professional Students Association (GAPSA) to promote Grad Club, a weekly event where graduate students from all areas of study can network and socialize alongside other students and faculty members.  Another initiative, the PACES program successfully launched at the Fall 2010 New Graduate Student Orientation.  PACES which stands for Professionalism-Advancement-Communication-Engagement-Success is a voluntary, co-curricular program designed to help graduate students gain non-disciplinary skills for success through and beyond their education.  The PACES workshops are offered on a regular basis and the schedule can be accessed on the OGS web page.  These projects illustrate the enthusiasm our office has for providing service and support to graduate students.

We are also enhancing the visibility of our graduate programs by increasing our presence at undergraduate activities both on campus and in the Grand Rapids area.  Staff and students from the OGS are participating in several events, such as the Undergraduate Research Fair and Academic Majors Fair on the Allendale campus.  By attending these events we introduce undergraduate students to graduate study at GVSU.  Our objective is to promote graduate education to future graduates so they will consider applying to one of our quality education programs at GVSU.  We are also participating in the West Michigan Regional Undergraduate Science Research Conference held at the Van Andel Institute.  By attending this even we hope to encourage students to consider their future science education at GVSU. 

Our primary efforts to enhance the educational experiences for all graduate students include the development and implementation of policies that will define the qualifications of faculty members engaged in graduate education and the development of guidelines for thesis, dissertations, and doctoral research projects.  It is our responsibility to staff each course with quality professionals who have the appropriate educational degree and teaching experience.  By doing so, we are ensuring that the educational experiences for all of our students are of high quality.  We have also been working on developing university guidelines that will assist students in the development and completion of research, scholarly, and creative activities leading to the culminating experience of thesis, dissertations, and doctoral research project.

As we continue to increase the visibility of graduate education and enhance the educational experiences for all of our graduate students at GVSU, we look forward to your suggestions and feedback. Should you have any comments, please forward them to the Office of Graduate Studies at



Jeffrey A. Potteiger

Dean of Graduate Studies

Page last modified October 27, 2010