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Strategic Plan for Philosophy

Context For Planning

The philosophy department plays a vital role in fulfilling Grand Valley's commitment to liberal education. The department offers a variety of courses within the general education curriculum as well as comprehensive major and minor programs of study. Our strategic plan for 2016-21 is aimed at engaging students at all levels, developing an exceptional faculty, and enhancing the image and reputation of the department, college, and university.

Mission

The philosophy department seeks to enrich and enliven the private, professional, and public lives of students and the community through the study of diverse philosophical methods and their use in critical inquiry concerning the ultimate questions of reality, knowledge, and value.

Vision

The Philosophy Department will set a standard of excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service to the University and the community. We will develop students abilities to question and wonder as well as their skills in analytical critical thinking, critical judgment, and communication. We will foster a diverse community of philosophical inquiry through the study of philosophy and its methods in different historical periods and different philosophical traditions.

Value Statement

We value excellent, effective, and engaged teaching aimed at developing rigorous analytical thinking, strong communication skills, and an attitude of openness and objectivity. We value excellence in scholarly activity, public discourse, and community service. We value administrative service to the department, the college, and the university.

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.3

Increase support of the upper division general education requirements by increasing Issues course offerings by 40%.

Baseline

2015/16 upper division course sections offered that contribute to the general education program (5 Issues courses).

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
We increased Issues sections offered and converted one more course to be an Issues course

Objective 1.A.4

Increase co-curricular opportunities for students in philosophy.

Baseline

2015/16 level of activity: Philosophy colloquium and Philosophy club, intermittent additional activities.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
From calendar year 2015 to calendar year 2016, we increased the number of co-curricular activities. The main increase was in the number of departmental colloquia. We also maintained the level of club activity, essay contest, undergraduate conference, and movie night.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 1.B.1

Increase the number and relative percentage of women philosophy majors and minors by 20%.

Baseline

2015/16 Philosophy minor and major counts for women (end of year): Majors 11, 21%, Minors 28, 32%.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
Currently we have 14 female majors and 30 female minors, representing 27% of the majors and 39% of minors - both are increases.

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

Objective 1.D.1

Assess, review, and revise current course content and course offerings

Baseline

Current course offerings.

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
We have researched course offerings at other universities and have begun revising some of our existing course descriptions. We have not begun substantive changes in the course offerings.

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

Objective 1.E.1

Increase number of Philosophy majors by 20%.

Baseline

52 majors at end of Winter 2016

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
the number of majors has held steady, now 51 - down 1 from 52. We have increased our lower level offerings as a strategy to introduce philosophy to more students in hopes of inspiring more students to major in philosophy

Objective 1.E.2

Increase number of Philosophy minors by 20%.

Baseline

Level at end of Winter 2016 term: 85 minors.

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
While our plan is to measure the number of minors at the end of the winter semester, currently our number of majors is down from the end of Winter 2016 - now 77 down from 85.

Objective 1.E.3

Increase total enrollment in upper division philosophy courses by 10%.

Baseline

2015/2016 level: total enrollment at 300 and 400 level (both terms combined) = 575

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
300 and 400 level course enrollment rose 6.7% from 575 to 614

Strategic Priority Area 2: Further develop exceptional personnel.

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

Objective 2.A.1

Hire tenure track faculty to permit optimal class sizes, promote program stability, and reduce sections by non-TT faculty.

Baseline

2015/16 faculty composition and class size, and percentage of sections taught by non-TT staff. Currently we have 14 TT (2 of which are on reduced time contracts), 6 visiting professors, and 1 Affiliate.

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
We requested two tenure track lines, but they were not granted

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

Objective 2.E.1

Encourage and support nationally and internationally recognized faculty scholarship through publication and presentation.

Baseline

Average yearly amount of publications and presentations for faculty during period 2010-15

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
the number of faculty presentations was up 4% (to 71) from the 6 year average (of 68). The number of faculty publications was down from 16.5 to 13.

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

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

Objective 3.E.1

Ensure adequate advising of philosophy majors and minors

Baseline

Current level of advising contact

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
We created and conducted 3 advising surveys - one among faculty members regarding their advising needs, one among phil students early in their academic career, one among graduating majors in the capstone class

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

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

Objective 4.C.1

Cultivate liaisons with the local, regional, and and national and international scholarly communities, including holding office in professional organizations, and supporting and hosting conferences for students and faculty.

Baseline

2015/16 faculty involvement in organizations and rate of conference sponsorship and hosting for period 2010-2015. We have hosted 5 faculty conferences in the past 5 years and have sponsored one student conference annually.

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
We continue to keep pace with our sponsorship of conferences. Our role in professional organizations dipped a little numerically, but not necessarily qualitatively.

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

Objective 4.E.1

Update and enhance the philosophy department website

Baseline

current website status

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
We have surveyed other websites and reviewed our site, making corrections to outdated material

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