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Strategic Plan for English

Context For Planning

The English Department is a large and complex department with three undergraduate major emphasis areas (English Language and Literature, English Secondary Education, and English Language Arts), three minors (English Minor, English Teachable Minor, and Applied Linguistics Minor), and two graduate programs (the MA in Literature and the MA in Applied Linguistics). It is also a department that participates in a large selection of interdisciplinary majors, minors and certificate programs across the university. The English Department strengthens the liberal education of students by developing a deepened understanding of language and literacy, the value of critical reading and effective writing, and the richness of literature, past and present. Our strategic plan for 2016-21 outlines our plans to continue to provide a rigorous educational experience within and beyond our own degree programs and to engage all students in high-impact learning opportunities.

Mission

The English Department strengthens the liberal education of students by developing a deepened understanding of language and literacy, the value of critical reading and effective writing, and the richness of literature, past and present.

Vision

We seek to foster knowledge and a love of literature and of language in our students. To this end we will provide students in all emphasis areas with a coherent curricular framework and relevant, well-structured course choices. We will teach a variety of literary, analytical, pedagogical, and theoretical skills. We will teach students to speak, read, and write effectively. We will encourage students to think deeply and to reflect on what they have learned. We will encourage a love of learning and an appreciation for a liberal education.

Value Statement

We value the rigorous and comprehensive study of language, literacy, and literature. We value the cultivation of critical reading and reflection. We value the production of excellent writing in a variety of forms. We value the ways the study of language and literature transforms our understanding of local, national, and international communities. We value teaching that will lead our students to participate in society as informed, responsible citizens.

Strategic Priorities, outcomes, and key objectives

Strategic Priority Area 1: Actively engage learners at all levels.

Outcome A: Grand Valley's learning environment is personal, challenging, and transformational, supporting excellent academic programs and co-curricular opportunities.

Objective 1.A.1

The English Department will support faculty mentoring and advising of undergraduate and graduate students by a variety of means and channels.

Baseline

All tenure-track faculty have 1 open advising hour per week and the department hosts an annual advising event. In 2016 45 students attended the advising event.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
The department is reviewing its current advising practices. Staffing changes in the CLAS Advising Center mean the English Department has new CLAS Advising liaisons; the department will introduce the liaisons during a Winter 2017 department meeting. The Department Chair and the Associate Department Chair have begun working with the newly appointed CLAS Assistant Dean for Advising and Student Services and with the CLAS Associate Dean for Curriculum to improve processing of waivers and overrides. Additionally, the Department Chair and the Associate Department Chair are working with the registrar’s office to expedite the processing of course and catalog equivalency evaluations.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
The English Department requested and was granted a course reassignment for a faculty member to serve as Advising Coordinator for the 17-18 school year. Using this time, the Advising Coordinator (Rachel Anderson) has undertaken a review of our advising practices and is working to develop new methods for reaching out to students; to overhaul our advising documents; to develop stronger relationships with Career Service; to hold regular advising and career exploration events for students; and to develop a stronger sense of community among our majors. Dr. Anderson also applied for and was granted a Special Projects graduate assistant to develop internship networks and opportunities for English majors.

Outcome D: Grand Valley supports innovative teaching, learning, integrative scholarly and creative activity, and the use of new technologies.

Objective 1.D.1

The English Department will develop and begin offering classes related to Digital Studies and Digital Humanities.

Baseline

English is developing course offerings in Digital Studies and Digital Humanities, including a course in Digital Literacy.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
Two faculty in English will teach for the Digital Studies minor in 2017/2018. English has also brainstormed a series of course, in particular, Digital Literacy, to become part of the DS degree.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
Two ENG faculty members are teaching in the Digital Studies minor. In addition, ENG developed and submitted for approval a new course, ENG 314: Digital Literacy, that will be included in the DS minor. This course is currently in the SAIL system; amendments to the proposal have been requested by the CLAS Curriculum Committee.

Objective 1.D.2

The English Department will support student academic activities as part of its effort to build dynamic and rigorous programs at the BA and MA levels.

Baseline

English Department faculty regularly work with students on high-impact research and service-learning activities, both within and beyond the University.

Progress

2016 Status
Not Yet Initiated
The English Department will need to develop a rubric to track these activities in the BA programs and in both MA programs.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
While we have not yet built a reporting system to track such activities officially, we have far exceeded our metric of at least two student extracurricular activities this year. Undergraduate student trips to the African American History Museum in Washington, D.C. and to museums and plays in Chicago have provided students with dynamic additions to their in-classroom work. We have also supporting with funding MA trips to professional conferences.

Outcome E: Grand Valley strategically allocates its fiscal, human, and other institutional resources.

Objective 1.E.1

The English Department will set aside a portion of its budget to sponsor undergraduate research projects.

Baseline

Approximately $600 in funding to support travel for undergraduate research projects (undergraduate conference attendance and archival research).

Progress

2016 Status
Achieved
The ENG department has set aside a portion of its budget to support three $300 scholarship grants per semester (Fall/Winter) in support of student scholarship travel. The department has funded student travel to academic conferences and workshops in addition to travel grants for participation in English Department study abroad programs.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
ENG was able to award three travel grants to undergraduates presenting at conferences in 2017.

Objective 1.E.2

Endow the Faculty sponsored English Majors scholarship.

Baseline

Currently funding an annual scholarship and building the endowment.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
Faculty continue to contribute to two scholarship funds sponsored by English Department Faculty: English Faculty New Undergraduate English Majors Endowed Fund and the English Faculty New Undergraduate Majors Annual Fund.

2017 Status
Achieved
The English Department Faculty Endowed Scholarship for New Majors has been funded. A faculty awareness drive was undertaken to encourage faculty to contribute to both faculty-funded scholarships.

Strategic Priority Area 2: Further develop exceptional personnel.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 2.B.1

The English Department will increase the number of Equity and Inclusion Advocates and Champions to at least three, one in each emphasis area pending revised certification program, or alternatively, increase the number of faculty and staff who have participated in intercultural training and development.

Baseline

The English department currently has 2 faculty who have obtained certification as Inclusion Advocates. Other faculty have participated in Allies and Advocates training and other training activities.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
Now that the University has increased its offerings and increased the variety of times/availability of training, faculty are able to include the trainings around their teaching schedules.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
While we have not yet achieved our goal of having one Inclusion Advocate from each emphasis area, we have doubled our number of Inclusion Advocates from two to four, comprising three faculty and our department coordinator.

Outcome D: Grand Valley supports innovative teaching, learning, integrative scholarly and creative activity, and the use of new technologies.

Objective 2.D.1

The English Department will increase the number of faculty trained in digital studies and certified to teach online/hybrid courses.

Baseline

Seven ENG faculty are currently certified to teach hybrid/online courses.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
The English Department has increased the number of faculty certified to teach online from 7 tenure track faculty to 11 tenure track faculty, 1 visiting faculty member, 1 affiliate faculty member and 3 part time faculty members.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
We have increased the number of our TT faculty certified in online teaching to 10, and encouraged certification for our adjunct and affiliate faculty: our 1 AFF is certified, as are two regular adjuncts.

Strategic Priority Area 3: Ensure the alignment of institutional structures and functions.

Outcome D: Grand Valley supports innovative teaching, learning, integrative scholarly and creative activity, and the use of new technologies.

Objective 3.D.1

The English Department will support development of new and innovative hybrid courses.

Baseline

The department currently runs 6 courses in online or hybrid formats, including 231, 232, 261, 380, 467, and 495.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
ENG has increased the number of classes eligible to be offered as hybrid/online. In Winter 2017, ENG 231, 232, 495, 261 and 467 have been approved as hybrid courses.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
ENG began teaching ENG 261, one of our Foundations courses, as a hybrid. We proposed one new hybrid course, ENG 314. This course is in the curriculum approval process. We also targeted two more existing courses to develop as hybrid (ENG 215 and 216) and one existing course to develop as fully online (ENG 204) and obtained faculty commitments to develop and submit those course changes.

Strategic Priority Area 4: Enhance the institution's image and reputation.

Outcome A: Grand Valley's learning environment is personal, challenging, and transformational, supporting excellent academic programs and co-curricular opportunities.

Objective 4.A.1

The English Department will actively recognize and nominate faculty and students for internal and external honors and awards.

Baseline

In 2015 the department established a committee to nominate faculty for awards at the college and the university levels as well as in professional organizations.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
The English Department is pleased to have made substantial progress for this objective. We have more actively recorded and promoted the awards our students and faculty have earned. We have also placed greater concentrated emphasis on promoting our students' achievements and on nominating our colleagues for internal and external professional recognition. We have also made greater use of our website and social media to announce the achievements of our students and faculty.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
On the student-centered aspect of this goal we continue to maintain our progress. Students in the past year have competed for and received Fulbright Scholarships, Laker Challenge Grants, funding from OURS and the English Department Student Travel Fund, among other awards.These awards have been publicized on the English Department's website and social media, as well as publicized to CLAS. Our progress on the faculty this goal has stalled since last year, when we made substantive progress toward it. No faculty members this year volunteered to take on the responsibility of leading or serving on an awards committee, with the result that no ENG faculty were nominated for honors or awards by the department.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 4.B.1

The English Department will encourage and support faculty's active involvement in professional organizations.

Baseline

Faculty have participated in various professional organizations in leadership and other professional capacities at an overall rate of 30% in the past five years.

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
We have met the goal for 10% of faculty to be involved in professional organizations. However, we have made minimal progress in establishing a clear method to best to account/reward that faculty involvement. Additionally, a review of digital measure and faculty activity reports yields a significant demonstration of community and professional activity throughout the university and throughout the community.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
Per our Next Course of Action in 2016, we have created a document to track faculty involvement in professional organizations. Approximately 30% of our faculty are involved in professional organizations, exceeding our baseline metric of 10%. Additionally, a review of digital measure and faculty activity reports yields a significant demonstration of community and professional activity throughout the university and throughout the community.

Outcome C: Grand Valley has mutually beneficial relationships, partnerships, collaborations, and connections with local, state, national, and world communities.

Objective 4.C.1

The English Department will continue and moderately increase its current level of internationalization by hosting international exchange students and scholars as well as develop mutually beneficial relationships with international partners.

Baseline

The English department currently hosts 1-2 visiting scholars per year from partner universities in China and Germany. The department also hosts exchange students from countries including Ghana, China, Germany and Norway.

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
The University has revised its guidelines for inviting visiting scholars. While this exchange is on hiatus, we are able to host one scholar from Xi'an International Studies University (XISU), China and we have 5 international students from XISU participating in our MA Literature and MA Applied Linguistics programs. In Fall 2017 we will be hosting a visiting faculty member from Padagogische Hochschule Schwabisch Gmund (PHSG), Germany.

2017 Status
Minimal Progress
We hosted one visiting scholar from Xi'an International Studies University (XISU) in China in W and SS17. In F17 we planned to host a visiting scholar from Pädagogische Hochschule Schwäbisch Gmünd (PHSG); however, a family medical emergency precluded him from coming. We also hosted students from China, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia in our MA-AL and MA-Literature programs.

Objective 4.C.2

The English Department will encourage and support faculty and student collaboration through international connections.

Baseline

All English majors must take at least one class from Category C: International Literature.

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
We are in the planning stages to develop a way to measure international impact.

2017 Status
Minimal Progress
While we continue to encourage international connections for both faculty and students, with three faculty-led study-abroad programs and two more in development. We also have several faculty working with universities and schools abroad to foster greater international connectedness. We also had at least one student co-present with faculty at an international conference. However, we have not yet successfully formalized a tracking system to measure specific data about international engagement.

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