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Strategic Plan for Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies

Context For Planning

Founded in 2004, Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies is one of the few colleges of interdisciplinary studies in the nation. With a focus on academic innovation, inclusion and diversity (both domestic and global), community engagement, and high impact liberal education, Brooks College seeks to provide students and community members with skills and knowledge necessary to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

In 2015, at the beginning of the 2016-2021 strategic planning process, Brooks College housed a wide range of interdisciplinary academic programs including African/African American Studies, Chinese Studies, East Asian Studies, Environmental Studies, the Frederik Meijer Honors College, the Intercultural Training Certificate, Latin American/Latino Studies, LGBTQ Studies, Liberal Studies, Middle East Studies, Religious Studies, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, with additional programs such as a Human Rights minor and a major in Global Studies and Social Impact expected to begin in the near future.

In addition to its academic programs, Brooks College also supports students through the Brooks College Office of Integrative Learning and Advising, the Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors, the Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships, the Padnos International Center, and the Sustainable Agriculture Project. The College engages with West Michigan communities through its Center for Adult and Continuing Studies, the Civil Discourse Initiative, the Community Reading Project, the Kutsche Office of Local History, the Lake Michigan Writing Project, and the Office of Sustainability Practices.

Brooks College began its collaborative, inclusive strategic planning process in January 2015 with the appointment of a representative Strategic Planning Steering Committee. Under the guidance of this committee, in March 2015 the College conducted focus groups of alumni and students and administered an on-line survey of all faculty and staff to ascertain areas of strength, weakness, opportunity, and challenge. Through an iterative visioning process, faculty and staff collectively drafted and then overwhelmingly affirmed new mission, vision, and value statements revised to more accurately reflect the current focus and aspirations of Brooks College. Based on focus group and survey results, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee drafted a document outlining the College’s objectives and strategies and then sought input and feedback through an all-college town hall meeting in fall 2015 and a design-thinking exercise in January 2016.

The resulting 2016-2021 Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies Strategic Plan is designed to realized the college’s vision of being a regional and national model for creative inquiry, integrative programming, inclusive practices, and student empowerment.

Mission

Cultivating engaged global citizens through innovative interdisciplinary programs and diverse community partnerships.

Vision

The Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies will be a regional and national model for creative inquiry, integrative programming, inclusive practices, and student empowerment.

Value Statement


We Value:

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.2

At least 95% of Brooks College graduate students participate in at least two high-impact learning experiences prior to graduation.

Baseline

University Baseline: 90% excluding the norm of capstone, thesis, dissertation and oral and written exams, baseline levels of participation by graduate students. Summer 2015 Graduate Studies.

Progress

2016 Status
Not Yet Initiated
We have no graduate programs at this time. We are in the process of putting together our first two graduate programs.

Objective 1.A.3

At least 90% of students graduating in Honors or a Brooks College minor or certificate program participate in one or more high-impact learning experiences prior to graduation, in addition to supplemental writing skills and capstone courses.

Baseline

University Baseline: National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) for 2013 showed student participation in high-impact courses at 58%.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
Our college has partnered with the Semester In Detroit program through the University of Michigan to ensure students from GVSU have the opportunity to participate in this rich study-away experience, which includes an internship based with a Detroit community organization. We are working to increase opportunities for students to work with faculty on research. For example, we have partnered with the Office for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship to offer grant funds for faculty-led projects that increase students' academic engagement with the Sustainable Agriculture Project; start-up funds that enable new faculty to make room in their research agendas for student participation; and grant funds through the Kutsche Office for Local History for faculty-led, student-engaged research projects. We are also supporting units in efforts to increase curricular opportunities for high-impact learning experiences. Those are detailed in the units' own strategic planning updates. We are inventorying each major for what experiential learning opportunities already exist throughout the curriculum.

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

Objective 1.C.2

Each Brooks College academic program provides opportunities for a community-based learning experience as a requirement or an elective.

Baseline

In Fall 2016, the following programs all had community-based learning as an elective or requirement: LIB, WGS, LAS, HNR, ENS, HRT, GSI, CHS.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
All new programs must include this opportunity for students. In 2016, the Latino/a Studies Certificate, Global Studies & Social Impact major, and Human Rights minor went through the curricular process and all include CBL as a requirement or elective. most existing programs in Brooks College include this opportunity. Toward expansion of CBL across the college, four major initiatives were undertaken: 1. Faculty are participating in Faculty Learning Communities and in training around CBL. 2. The ENS program is connecting with Seeds of Promise toward finding an urban agriculture site that would enhance CBL opportunities across the college. 3. A new office has been proposed, with a director, to oversee community based partnerships in Brooks College. The Office for Collaborative Inquiry and Student Professional Development will connect with community partners around internships, CBL projects for programs across the curriculum, and provide much-needed administrative and logistical support around CBL. 4. We are in the process of planning with Facilities and the Provost's Office an Innovation Lab that will open in Fall 2017. This Lab will be a collaborative project space administered by the Office for Collaborative Inquiry and Student Professional Development that will support the college's design thinking, CBL, and problem-based learning initiatives. The space is being designed specifically with engagement of community partners in mind.

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

Objective 1.D.1

Global learning is a requirement in all Brooks College majors and minors and Honors.

Baseline

100% of majors and minors include required courses that incorporate Global Learning of at least a level 3. Global Learning Survey finalized in Winter 2015 indicates that Area Studies programs range from 3.5-4 overall; LIB at 3 overall; WGS somewhere between 2.5-3 overall. University Baseline: Fall 2014, 63% at level 3 out of 5 levels, with 5 as the highest (immersion) level.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
Currently, every single minor and major in the college has multiple global learning opportunities for students, whether these be immersive study abroad experiences, community-based learning, or intercultural/global content. All new programs that have launched this year have, at their core, global learning: Human Rights minor; Latino/a Studies Certificate; Global Studies & Social Impact major. New programs that we are designing have global learning opportunities embedded in them. As Honors is a general education program, it offers opportunities via study abroad and World Perspectives and Issues credit to students.

Objective 1.D.3

Brooks College will have at least 7 new interdisciplinary programs or initiatives that support and enhance university-wide collaboration and embody innovations in content, pedagogy, high impact learning opportunities, or technology.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
Since setting this goal, the following programs have been approved through the curricular system and launched: *Major in Global Studies & Social Impact *Certificate in Latino/a Studies *Minor in Human Rights Going through curricular review right now are the following programs, for which Prospectuses were already approved and Provost-appointed task forces formed: *Minor in Digital Studies *Professional Master of Arts in Social Innovation *Major in Environmental Studies A faculty task force is putting together a certificate program in Museum Studies. We have additionally launched a university-wide initiative: a Partnership with University of Michigan that enables GVSU students to participate in their immersive study away program "Semester in Detroit." Students can earn general education and other credits, as well as complete an internship with a community organization.

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

Objective 1.E.2

Brooks College, including Honors, will have at least 2 additional externally funded scholarships.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
PIC established a Global Programs Endowed Scholarship for faculty-led programs. The Dean established a Study Away Scholarship Fund. The Dean has worked with Development to determine the best strategies for developing new scholarships.

Objective 1.E.3

Support staffing for undergraduate and graduate students is within 20-30% of the best practice staffing levels recommended by accrediting bodies or professional organizations.

Baseline

1 advisor in Honors; 1 advisor in Integrative Learning & Advising; 1 AP, 1/2 AP and 1/8 faculty in the writing center.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
We have hired an additional advisor for the Honors College. We have a new Peace Corps recruiter housed at GVSU. We are in the process of establishing a new Office for Collaborative Inquiry and Student Professional Development and hiring a director for this office which will be a new position.

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

50% or more of Brooks College faculty have completed training in developing and implementing high-impact student learning experiences between the years of 2016 to 2021.

Progress

2016 Status
Not Yet Initiated
nothing to report.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 2.B.1

All Brooks College hiring, personnel, and election processes incorporate best-practices for inclusion and equity.

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
We have encouraged multiple faculty and staff to complete Inclusion Advocate training, and so we have increased the number of Inclusion Advocates. As part of our Town Hall on diversity/inclusion excellence, we discussed strategies for enhancing faculty and staff intercultural competence as relates to personnel actions and hiring. Concrete progress: 1. We have decided to revive STRIDE materials for college-wide trainings for faculty and staff. 2. Each unit has access to a Blackboard site that includes materials about best practices in recruiting and hiring diverse faculty.

Objective 2.B.2

Annually, Brooks College provides professional development opportunities for all faculty and staff to enhance their intercultural competencies.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
We achieved our one-year goal in this area. We held a workshop for faculty and staff in Winter 2016 on bias incident reporting and inclusiveness in the classroom. In Fall 2016, we held a faculty and staff Town Hall to learn more about climate study data and to generate conversation about action steps toward being more inclusive and ensuring intercultural competencies of faculty and staff. The ideas generated at the Town Hall were sorted through by the Leadership Council, with planning for future events and strategies to address them.

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

Objective 2.C.1

At least 70% of tenure-stream Brooks College faculty participate in one or more external professional relationships, excluding mere membership in a professional organization within their discipline.

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
Our 2 strategies were to: 1. Publicize faculty successes in this area, which we do on our website, in our annual report, via social media, and in our newsletter. 2. Assess the need/desire for faculty awards in this area. We have formed an awards committee and are still looking into this.

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

Objective 2.D.1

Each Brooks College academic unit recognizes the contribution to the scholarship of discovery, application, integration, and teaching practice in making personnel decisions.

Progress

2016 Status
Achieved
In the past year, all units have revised their tenure and promotion guidelines to align with new guidelines at the college level. Unit-level guidelines are clear about what constitutes the range of scholarship appropriate to their units and define teaching excellence.

Objective 2.D.2

Brooks College has awards to recognize achievements of faculty and staff in areas such as innovation, community engagement, interdisciplinarity and student-centeredness.

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
Our stated strategy was to form a task force to investigate the appropriateness and desirability of such awards, and to create criteria and processes for the determination of these awards. A task force has been formed.

Objective 2.D.3

Brooks College has one or more annual series of regularly occurring events that promote dialogue among Brooks College faculty and staff and with other GVSU faculty and staff around interdisciplinary scholarly and creative projects.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
This objective is annual and thus ongoing, but we have met this objective for 2016. We have scheduled a Sabbatical Showcase for those who were on sabbatical leave last year; it will be held in February 2017. Additionally, we held a town hall around Inclusive Excellence in Fall 2016--a topic that incorporates the scholarly interest and expertise of many of our faculty and staff.

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

Objective 2.E.1

Each year, at least 75% of Brooks College faculty and 75% of Brooks College staff participate in professional development to expand, enhance or extend their competencies and capabilities within the context of the responsibilities of their positions.

Progress

2016 Status
Not Yet Initiated
Data not yet collected.

Objective 2.E.2

The extent to which Brooks College faculty members' performance promotes excellence in teaching, learning, and scholarship is used to assign and evaluate workloads consistent with university practice and criteria.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
In the past year, all units updated their promotion and tenure criteria--a process that provided faculty the occasion to clarify what "excellence" in teaching, learning, scholarship, and service means. Additionally, the unit heads held a discussion about best practices in evaluating FARs and providing feedback in particular to not-yet-tenured faculty. Finally, unit heads used these discussions to work with faculty in determining appropriate Faculty Activity Plans and workloads. On a rolling basis, the associate dean works with faculty and the associate deans of other colleges to adjust MOUs (which are typically for 3-year terms) related to joint appointments; this is an opportunity for workloads to be adjusted in light of changing programmatic needs and faculty development.

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

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 3.B.1

Brooks College has structures in place to evaluate and improve the equity and inclusiveness of its policies, procedures, and practices.

Progress

2016 Status
Not Yet Initiated
Our strategy was to create a student advisory council for the college. We have not done this yet.

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

Objective 3.C.1

90% of Brooks College faculty and 75% of Brooks College students (majors, minors, and certificate students) report their civic engagement activities and community partnership in the university-wide data base.

Progress

2016 Status
Not Yet Initiated
GVSU does not have the database set up.

Objective 3.C.2

By 2021 Brooks College has developed 3 additional long-term reciprocal community relationships.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
We are well on our way to achieving this goal. Our college-wide strategy toward achieving this goal was to create a structural and administrative support unit that would support community engagement. We have proposed the Office for Collaborative Inquiry & Student Professional Development and have secured permission to hire a Director that will seek to expand and deepen our reciprocal community partnerships. Additionally, we have begun work to develop an Innovation Lab to open in Fall 2017--a collaborative work space that would accommodate community-based learning projects as well as other project-based learning initiatives in the college. In addition to this, we have developed a relationship with the Semester in Detroit program through the University of Michigan--a study away program that students at GVSU are able to participate in, and which includes an internship with a Detroit community organization. We are in the very early stages of assessing the need/desirability for a Semester in Grand Rapids program. Finally, individual faculty in LIB and ENS and HNR have been working with Seeds of Promise toward developing deeper and broader engagement opportunities with that organization, such as an urban agriculture project site and design thinking methods to address issues of importance for Seeds. We have a long-standing relationship with Seeds via the Office of Sustainable Practices.

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

Objective 3.D.1

At least 30% of Brooks College undergraduate courses are offered in innovative approaches and formats, such as hybrid, online and competency-oriented.

Baseline

As of 2016, 27 courses in Environmental Studies, Liberal Studies, Religious Studies, Area & Global Studies, Human Rights, Honors, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies are offered online.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
In the past year, programs with no online offerings--MES, WGS--have converted courses to be offered in online and hybrid formats in the summertime. Across Brooks College, the number of credit hours taught online or in hybrid format has increased, as has the percentage of the overall share of credit hours taught. All units--Honors, WGS, Area & Global Studies, LIB--offer online and/or hybrid courses. Liberal Studies offers the degree through an adult completion program that is in hybrid format.

Objective 3.D.2

At least 30% of Brooks College graduate courses are offered in innovative approaches such as, hybrid, online, and competency-oriented.

Baseline

0 graduate courses, so 0 in hybrid or online format.

Progress

2016 Status
Not Yet Initiated
We do not yet offer graduate courses.

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

Objective 3.E.1

Brooks College has processes that promote transparent and equitable allocations of resources.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
This is an ongoing goal. Our practice is that each year, the college's directors/unit heads--Leadership Council--shares budget requests and discusses which ones are the most needed. The Dean then takes that feedback into account when making her formal budget request. Early the next year, after budgets have been allocated, the Dean shares what she requested and what was funded. The same process is followed among unit heads when it comes to requesting faculty lines: the dean solicits their needs, holds a meeting with all the unit heads present to discuss those requests, and then reports back to the unit heads regarding what was funded and what was not.

Objective 3.E.2

Brooks College has developed at least one innovative program that brings revenue to the college.

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
PIC developed a revenue producing summer program to bring business students from India to campus. Revenue would enhance GVSU study-abroad scholarships. The implementation of the program is delayed to summer 2018.

Objective 3.E.3

Brooks College has a dedicated staff person to support project-based and community-engaged teaching and scholarly and creative activity in any College academic program.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
We have permission to hire a 1 FTE Director for Collaborative Inquiry & Student Professional Development, and we reassigned a .9 PSS to support that director's work. We have proposed an Office for Collaborative Inquiry and Student Professional Development. All of this, together, supports the development of relationships with external partners around project- based learning, community-based learning, and internships. We have also begun the development of an Innovation Lab, which would be overseen by this office--a collaborative space in which community partners, faculty, staff, and students can work together on projects.

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

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 4.B.1

50% of the College's programs have received recognition for promoting inclusion and diversity.

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
We are still collecting these data on a rolling basis and will report out in 2021. The Meijer center for Writing has received recognition of its efforts to educate about Black English.

Objective 4.B.2

20% of Brooks College faculty and staff have received recognition for promoting inclusion and diversity.

Baseline

Two faculty have received the award for including diversity and inclusion in their teaching.

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
We are collecting these data on a rolling basis to report out in 2021.

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

Objective 4.C.1

The number of Brooks College external partnerships or relationships that receive positive notice in the external media has increased by 100%.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
The College's partnership with the U- of M around the Semester in Detroit received external notice. We had two college-wide strategies toward this goal: 1. Create a marketing strategy/campaign so that the campus and external community knew about our engagement work. We have begun the process of a branding and promotional campaign, and we continue to work with University Communications toward this goal so that college and personnel accomplishments are pushed out into the media. Additionally, we are compiling in the dean's office a "talent inventory," which helps us to track the areas of expertise each faculty member has. We hope to use this in part to communicate with University Communications and the media regarding expertise on current topics of public discussion and debate. 2. Increase the number of programs with advisory boards that include community members. We are talking with individual programs about this opportunity.

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

Objective 4.D.1

Brooks College employs new technologies in implementing its comprehensive communication and marketing plan to enhance effectiveness and efficiency.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
This year, we launched two social media initiatives, which have increased in much more visibility for the college (gauged by page views and social media "likes" and followers). First, we have begun running weekly profiles on our Facebook page to highlight the excellent faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the college. Second, we have launched a Twitter account to further publicize these profiles, as well as college events. We are also working through the marketing and branding recommendations made to us by Michele Coffill of University Communications via her externship in our office.

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

Objective 4.E.1

Brooks College has a dedicated staff position for communication, marketing, and external relations.

Progress

2016 Status
Not Yet Initiated
Michele Coffill of University Communications completed an externship in our office. She completed an inventory of our marketing and branding, and she offered strategies and plans for us to implement. We have increased our social media presence. We do not have a dedicated staff position for communication, marketing, and external relations. However, we will be hiring within the next several months a Director for Collaborative Inquiry and Student Professional Development who will serve as a college liaison to the community in determining projects for community-based learning and project-based learning pedagogies, as well as internships.

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