GV Announces Plans for New Tech Epicenter – Grand Valley Lanthorn


Grand Valley State University recently announced plans for a new educational and professional space called the “Digital Learning Epicenter”.

According to a article by MiBiz, the epicenter of digital learning “will serve as the intersection of business and technology education for community members and students.”

This will include a variety of resources for STEM students attending GVSU’s Pew campus in Grand Rapids, including updated lab spaces and meeting places for communication between local startups.

Vice President of University Relations Matt McLogan said he believes the project will benefit the greater Grand Rapids area economically and intellectually.

“The proposed Digital Learning Epicenter is in the conceptual planning phase as we continue to examine ways in which Grand Valley can serve students and enhance regional economic development,” McLogan said. “Initial reaction has been positive, with the Right Place program placing it on a list of 12 projects it calls ‘critical infrastructure’.

As businesses, universities, and other professional entities increasingly rely on technology, it’s important for members of the workforce to be comfortable with digital applications.

However, recent data suggests that many employees lack the necessary digital literacy, a gap based on socio-economic factors, such as class, education level and age.

According to Pew Research Center52% of American adults are “somewhat hesitant” in their digital readiness skills, with the majority of this designation including women ages 50 and older, low-income households, and people with low levels of formal education.

In contrast, the 17% of most digital-ready adults are people currently in their 30s and 40s in higher-income households and with higher levels of education.

The goal of the digital learning epicenter will be to bridge this gap and make digital literacy education accessible to all.

“Employers today need well-educated team members who are familiar with the digital applications that have become part of nearly every workplace,” McLogan said. “Members of the existing workforce will need new skills and we anticipate this type of retraining can be a feature of the new epicenter.”

Logan Weisner, a junior and engineering major, said he agrees with McLogan and thinks students in all branches of engineering could benefit from resources at the epicenter of digital learning.

“Students need to be tech-savvy no matter what engineering field you work in,” Weisner said. “You need to work with other disciplines and have a good understanding of what their software and technology does and how it relates to yours.”

Once funded, Epicenter services will be available to area GVSU students and professionals, making Grand Rapids a potential hotspot for digital-ready adults and digital-enabled businesses.

Currently, GVSU is seeking funding from state and local donors to make the announced plans for the epicenter a reality.

“Epicenter will be a public-private partnership, consistent with how Grand Valley campuses have been expanded over the years,” McLogan said. “The university has generally not raised tuition fees related to specific construction projects.”

Plans for the epicenter will be finalized once it is properly funded.


Comments are closed.