HCU/GVSU Partnership Opens Pathways to Master's Degrees in Engineering and the Sciences

Leaders at Houston Christian University (HCU) and Grand Valley State University (GVSU) signed an agreement March 7 that opens pathways for HCU students to earn master’s degrees at Grand Valley in engineering and the sciences.

HCU is the first Hispanic-Serving Institution to become a partner in the seven-member HBCU/HSI Pipeline Consortium. HCU’s enrollment was 4,190 last fall semester.

HCU President Robert Sloan said this is a remarkable opportunity for students who are interested in pursuing advanced degrees.

“This is the type of opportunity that changes lives, changes the lives of their family members and changes communities,” Sloan said.

B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, said this partnership represents a significant highlight for the consortium.

“We are proud to recognize HCU as the first Hispanic-Serving Institution in the consortium,” Truss said. “This milestone is a highlight for Grand Valley and evidence of our commitment to inclusivity and access to higher education for all students, including Hispanic students.”

It was the community foundation of Grand Valley’s engineering program that piqued the interest of Katie Evans, Dean of HCU’s College of Science and Engineering. Evans initially met Paul Plotkowski, Dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, at an engineering deans conference and said she was impressed with the college’s industry-sponsored co-op program.

“To have that type of program for graduate students is impressive,” Evans said. “And I appreciate that the Grand Valley team is committed to student success and will connect those students to the community and to other resources.”

Plotkowski called himself a “salesperson for West Michigan” and said West Michigan industries and corporations have helped establish and shape the engineering and computing college from day one.

“West Michigan is truly a special place,” Plotkowski said. “We have a healthy industrial base that is making an investment of their time and treasure to students. We can, in turn, offer them great, diverse students to fill their talent pipeline.”

HCU students who want to continue their education at Grand Valley will receive in-state tuition rates, financial aid and many other GVSU resources to support their journey. A contingent of HCU students and faculty is expected to visit Grand Valley this fall semester.