Skip to main content

Strategic Plan for History

Context For Planning

The Department of History was founded in the 1960s along with Grand Valley itself. The Department offers undergraduate major programs in History, Secondary History Education, Secondary and Elementary Group Social Studies, a minor in the History of Science and is an active founding member of the minor in Archaeology. In addition, History faculty teach a significant number of courses in the College of Education, the Honors College, the Comprehensive Science & Arts for Teaching program, Area Studies, Global Studies, International Relations, and Liberal Studies. The Department of History also contributes significantly to the General Education and Supplemental Writing Skills programs at all levels. Furthermore, History faculty lead significant regional centers, such as the Veteran's History Project and the Michigan Council for History Education, and are board members of the Kutsche Office of Local History and other important local and regional organizations.  Our strategic plan for 2016-2021 aims to better support our students and faculty, and to enhance and build upon our existing programs.

Mission

The Department of History advances public knowledge and understanding of the past as it informs the present and future. We offer a multidisciplinary approach that combines our global cultural heritage with long-neglected voices, uses a range of tools and perspectives, and provides the knowledge and skills necessary for informed decision making.

Vision

We provide a student-centered program that is committed to excellent teaching, scholarship, and service. Through our commitment to the liberal arts tradition, we help students develop skills of inquiry, reflection, critical analysis, dialogue, and expression. We are dedicated to inspiring all our students - be they our History and Group Social Studies majors or students we encounter in our general education courses - to pursue excellence in their chosen professions and serve the broader local, regional, national, and international communities in which they live. As a community of scholars, we help to enlarge the state of knowledge in our field through our active engagement in intellectual and creative pursuits. We recognize that active scholarship enriches our teaching and enables to serve students, the university, and the broader community. We bring the historians perspective to courses in the University Honors College and other interdisciplinary programs; we participate actively in preparing teachers of History and Social Studies as well as preparing our majors for further study and careers in a variety of fields. We promote faculty and student participation in national and international inquiry and discourse. We are dedicated to serving the broader West Michigan community through our engagement in local and regional history forums.

Value Statement

We value: 1. Critical historical inquiry that recognizes complexity, multiple explanations of change, and the active role of humans in shaping their histories and their understanding of the past. 2. Diverse, innovative, and effective pedagogical strategies that enable students to gain historical knowledge and analytical skills. 3. A diverse and respectful learning community comprised of faculty, students and staff. 4. Modeling outstanding teaching as we prepare future educators. 5. Teaching history through conversations that are best conducted in small classes with an open-minded, respectful, and questioning spirit. 6. The liberal arts tradition, which encourages open-ended and open-minded inquiry, respectful dialogue, and interdisciplinary research. 7. General Education and embrace an active and vigorous role in the universitys General Education program. 8. Interdisciplinary and collaborative scholarship and teaching. 9. Faculty scholarship, which informs excellent teaching and involve students when possible. 10. Student historical researchin class, in self-directed research projects, and in collaboration with faculty. 11. Faculty and student participation in international and cross-cultural study. 12. Collaboration with the broader community, both academic and non-academic.

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

Increase HST and SST student internships (HST 490 and non-credit) by 10%.

Baseline

Current number of student internships (HST 490 and non-credit).

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
Our numbers of students engaged in internships have already increased by more than 10% this year over 2015. Most of these are non-credit internships.

Objective 1.A.2

Support Faculty/Student Collaborative Research

Baseline

Determine current number of students engaged in collaborative research.

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
The Assistant Chair for History has begun working with colleagues to gather data on faculty/student research.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 1.B.1

Develop program of guest lecturers augmenting the current demographics and addressing deficiencies in faculty diversity. College will match up to $3000 starting in 2016, for potential allocation of $6000.

Baseline

Program of guest lecturers addressing deficiencies in faculty diversity

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
The Outreach Committee has arranged for the first two guest lecturers to come in Winter 2017. The remaining guest lecturers will be arranged later this semester and in Fall 2017 to come in Fall 2017 and Winter 2018.

Objective 1.B.2

Create annual HST/SST panel/lecture/workshop featuring HST/SST alumni

Baseline

Program not yet created

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
The Outreach Committee is still identifying alumni to be contacted. We hope to make progress on this in 2017/18.

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

Objective 1.C.1

Create history and social studies teaching institute

Baseline

No current institute

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
A proposal has been crafted for a history and social studies teaching institute that will go forward to the history faculty for discussion and approval later Winter 2017.

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

Objective 1.E.1

Revise HST mission and vision statement to align with commitments to outstanding undergraduate education and identify what students learn by completing a HST major or minor or SST major

Baseline

Current Mission/Vision/Values statement

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
The Strategic Planning Committee and chair reviewed these and made necessary revisions. We will review annually to be sure that further revision will occur if needed.

Objective 1.E.2

Increase number of HST and SST majors by 10%.

Baseline

Current number of HST and SST majors

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
Numbers of students as reported: F 2015: SST 309 and HST 142 and HSTX 30 F 2016: SST 277 and HST 117 and HSTX 31

Strategic Priority Area 2: Further develop exceptional personnel.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 2.B.1

Double the number of inclusion advocates in department.

Baseline

Current number of inclusion advocates

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
The chair continues and will continue to discuss becoming an IA with individual faculty.

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

Objective 2.C.1

Create annual HST and SST career planning workshop

Baseline

No current program

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
The Outreach committee did preliminary planning for the first in a series of these workshops in 2017.

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

Objective 2.D.1

Increase innovative use of new technologies by HST faculty in classrooms

Baseline

Determine current faculty use of different types of digital technologies (computers, power point, mapping tools, blackboard tools, text mining, data visualization curation platforms, citation management, audio, video, blogs, etc.) in the classroom.

Progress

2016 Status
Not Yet Initiated
We do not plan to start this study until early in 2019.

Objective 2.D.2

Increase faculty training and research in digital humanities

Baseline

Determine percentage of faculty using digital technologies in classroom (see 2.D.1) and currently trained and/or doing research in the digital humanities.

Progress

2016 Status
Not Yet Initiated
We plan to begin this training for faculty during the Academic Year 2017/2018.

Objective 2.D.3

Double number of faculty trained to teach online courses.

Baseline

Current number of faculty trained to teach online classes.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
Four additional History and one Social Studies faculty received online training and qualification in 2016. Two more online courses were added to those that are already offered.

Objective 2.D.4

Revise teaching and service standards for tenure and promotion to recognize and reward excellence in digital humanities and innovative instruction

Baseline

Current tenure and promotion language on use of digital technologies.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
Department task force on revising the personnel standards for tenure/promotion has added and updated language in the document under consideration by the department. Discussion and vote on the document is scheduled for meetings in February 2017.

Objective 2.D.5

Create ways to support and promote innovative faculty scholarship

Baseline

Determine current ways of supporting innovative faculty scholarship

Progress

2016 Status
Not Yet Initiated
We have not yet begun to work on this project.

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

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

Objective 3.A.1

Revise SST Curriculum to make it more prescriptive, to increase student knowledge of global history, and increase student ability to teach global history.

Baseline

Current GPST major for secondary and elementary

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
The revised SST curriculum is currently under review by UCC. We hope that approval will be given by the end of Winter 2017.

Objective 3.A.2

Revise HST curriculum, including review of upper-level electives and their frequency of rotation, course offerings, and possible reduction of class sizes to improve research and writing experiences

Baseline

Current HST major and minor

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
Work on the SST curriculum has consumed most of the curricular work of the department, and work on updating of the SORs for all HST, HSC, and SST courses will consume most of 2017. Only minimal work on revision of HST curriculum is envisioned until 2018. Course rotation continues to be revised to meet student needs and enrollment reality.

Objective 3.A.3

Increase number of HST and SST students who study abroad by 10%.

Baseline

Current number of students who study abroad

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
History faculty continue to actively encourage students to study abroad. One HST faculty member, Prof Scott Stabler, created a new study abroad opportunity to Ghana in summer of 2016.

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

Increase HST/SST student participation in undergraduate research conferences and student publications by 10%.

Baseline

Current number of HST/SST students participating in undergraduate research conferences (including Student Scholarship Day, Great Lakes History Conference, Phi Alpha Theta conferences, S3 conferences, etc.) and current number of student publications

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
The Student Relations Committee has just begun to gather information on HST/SST student participation in undergraduate research conferences and student publications. About 10 students participated in undergraduate research conferences in 2016.

Objective 4.A.2

Study departmental awards given to undergraduate majors and consider expanding them, including possibility of HST and SST honors for graduating seniors meeting set criteria.

Baseline

Current awards offered

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
The Student Relations Committee has made substantive progress in revising the way that awards for the outstanding HST and SST majors are chosen. It has also taken over the awarding of the Niemeyer, Breen, and Kelleher Awards. It is also looking into expanding the departmental awards.

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

Objective 4.C.1

Create annual HST and SST alumni newsletter

Baseline

No current alumni newsletter.

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
The Outreach Committee is working on this and hopes to have a first issue out of a newsletter to the alumni in 2017 or 2018.

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

Objective 4.E.1

Revise HST department website to clearly articulate career possibilities and transferrable skills gained with HST and SST major to prospective students, highlight available jobs, provide links to career and job information in HST and SST fields, and publicize alumni achievements and careers, using video as well as images, text, and social media

Baseline

Current HST website

Progress

2016 Status
Achieved
The Outreach Committee has completed its task of updating the department web site in Fall 2016. Colleagues were trained in CMS 4 and have thoroughly revamped the department web site and added a significant amount of content that clearly articulates career possibilities and transferrable skills gained with HST and SST major to prospective students, highlights available jobs, provides links to career and job information in HST and SST fields, and publicizes alumni achievements and careers, using video as well as images, text, and social media.

Objective 4.E.2

Review Great Lakes History Conference and its role as a scholarly, teaching, and undergraduate research conference

Baseline

Current GLHC conference (attendance, participation, panels)

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
The Great Lakes History Committee met and extensively discussed the future of the Conference. It decided on moving forward with workshop-based model for the conference for 2017. This approach was discussed in a faculty meeting and endorsed by a majority of the History faculty.

Back to list