GVSU hires director for accelerator initiative

Steven Hodas Courtesy Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley State University named Steven Hodas as the executive director of GV NextEd Accelerator, a GVSU initiative that is designed to reduce institutional barriers to learning and develop new approaches and support for learners, educators and families.

“Steven is a visionary with a proven track record of building startup organizations, as well as new systems for public education,” GVSU President Philomena V. Mantella said. “He is focused on understanding and elevating the unique and evolving needs of both learners and institutions, which is synergistic with GVSU’s values and mission.”

Hodas, who began his role earlier this month, is responsible for a series of initiatives such as GVSU’s organization and convening of REP4 (Rapid Education Prototyping for Change, Learners, Community, Equity), GV Startup Accelerator, a digital expressway to GVSU and K-12Connect.

REP4 is a national alliance of six colleges and universities that includes learners as lead designers for their future learning. The other five founding universities and colleges are Amarillo College, Boise State University, Fort Valley State University, San José State University and Shippensburg University. The founders serve more than 100,000 students.

GVSU’s K-12Connect initiative provides online tutoring and teacher support help to K-12 students. The digital expressway to GVSU initiative is for K-12 students, teachers and families. It provides K-12 students and schools access to GVSU’s digital resources, faculty and dual enrollment courses. The GV Startup Accelerator initiative selects concepts and supports faculty, staff, students and community members in launching products and services to improve education.

“For years, stress fractures have been growing in our legacy models of K-12 and higher education,” Hodas said. The pandemic exacerbated them, but it also created openings and examples for promising ways to better serve students, families and communities,” Hodas said. “As ‘customers’ of the K-12 system’s students, ‘suppliers’ of its teachers and administrators, and multifaceted providers of talent, universities can have a uniquely catalytic role in society’s evolution.

“The GV NextEd Accelerator will leverage that role, and it’s exciting to be part of a breakout university that is not just providing real solutions for learners today but will also be creating next-generation exemplars for K-12 and higher ed institutions around the country.”

Before joining GVSU, Hodas was the executive director of the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Innovation. In his role, he created the first crowd-sourced solutions to problems that affected student agency and outcomes across the nation’s largest district.

Hodas recently served as a senior fellow at the University of Washington’s Center for Reinventing Public Education, where he focused on pandemic-related innovations to dismantle silos among the K-12, college and career sectors.

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