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Strategic Plan for Meijer Honors College

Context For Planning

The Frederik Meijer Honors College is an alternative general education program for students who desire to challenge themselves academically. The focus of the college is to bridge the gaps between traditional academic disciplines and allow students a chance to see the impact each discipline has on the others. To fulfill this goal, many of our classes are interdisciplinary and team-taught while utilizing smaller class sizes to elicit greater discussion. We understand that sometimes the moments of greatest learning are unplanned. These smaller classes, coupled with the fact that many professors hold office hours nearby, foster a deeper personal connection between students and professors. Another feature of our curriculum is an active schedule of co-curricular activities, both on campus and off. The Frederik Meijer Honors College also includes an integrated living and learning environment promoting intellectual curiosity and an enthusiasm for learning that will live on well beyond our students' undergraduate years. The Glenn A. Niemeyer Learning and Living Center offers students the opportunity to take classes in the same building in which they live. The Honors Office, Honors Director, and many professors' offices are located in the Niemeyer Learning and Living Center, giving students quick and easy access to all resources available. There are Honors housing options on the north side of campus as well in the Holton-Hooker Learning & Living Center, which offers a vibrant Honors freshman community with spacious common areas, meeting space for staff and students, and proximity to many campus facilities, including the Commons, the Marketplace, the Kindschi Hall of Science, and the Fieldhouse. Longtime Honors College director Dr. Jeff Chamberlain left the university in summer 2017, so the Honors College is now in a transition period between permanent directors. During Dr. Chamberlain's tenure, the College grew by some 83% from from 970 students to the current 1,767. It also was granted a number of tenure lines, and by 2015 the College had grown to having 12 tenured or tenure-track faculty. It currently has 10, and like most other Honors Colleges, it also draws many participating faculty from units across campus. In early 2015, the full-time faculty of the Honors College were granted unit status, so the College now has both a unit head (department chair) and an interim director. Currently, the Honors College is focusing on maintaining the highly successful recruitment and retention efforts established by Dr. Chamberlain while also working to establish a permanent governance structure that accounts for both the unique structural arrangement of the faculty and the university-wide reach of the Honors curriculum.

Mission

The Mission of the Meijer Honors College is to inspire and empower motivated students to be intellectually curious lifelong learners to serve as capable leaders who will think broadly and critically as they engage in the issues in their community and the world.

Vision

The Meijer Honors College will be one of the top choices for motivated and high achieving students in the region and nationally, and will be known for personal attention to students, a vibrant and diverse scholarly community, team-taught interdisciplinary courses with small sections, more substantial and individual preparation and opportunities for student scholarship and its dissemination , and other significant high-impact practices such as service-learning, community-based learning, diversity/global learning, etc.

Value Statement

*A collegial and collaborative student-centered environment where we support each other and work together, both within the college and across campus, in an open and transparent manner.
*Cultural diversity and diversity of voices as a foundational principle in our curriculum, programming, and practices.
*Community engagement through educational initiatives and experiential learning.
*Interdisciplinary research and teaching that challenges and expands perspectives.
*Risk-taking and innovation that encourages alternative approaches to scholarship, teaching, and learning.
*Sustainability in all that we do.

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

Develop and pilot an annual Honors colloquium, conference, or showcase. This could be focused around the current freshman paper competition and/or something including upper-classmen.

Baseline

Zero.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
We have a conference scheduled for April 2017.

2017 Status
Minimal Progress
April 2017 plans with Aquinas and Hope fell through. We have reset our sites on an internal "OmniCon" conference for Honors students, based on an idea from the November 2017 NCHC conference. We plan to hold the "OmniCon" event in March 2018.

Objective 1.A.2

Develop at least one Honors co-curricular program a year coordinated by faculty who teach in sequences and other courses.

Baseline

One per semester--the Meijer Endowed Lecture.

Progress

2017 Status
Minimal Progress
We have established an Honors Speaker Series committee, chaired by Coeli Fitzpatrick, and they are planning a Fall 2018 event.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 1.B.1

The Honors College will increase the diversity of its student body so that by 2021 it approximates the university's composition. It will do this by: 1) reaching out intently to potential FTIACs and internal and external transfers, and 2) developing community partnerships which can provide more effective pipelines

Baseline

FTIACs entering Honors FY 2014-15 were distributed as follows: Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.1% Native American/Alaskan: 0% African American: .2% Hispanic/Latino: 1.5% Multiethnic: 2% White: 93.5% FTIACs entering the university Fall 2015 were distributed as follows: Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.2% Native American/Alaskan: .14% African American: 5% Hispanic/Latino: 4.5% Multiethnic: 4% White: 83%

Objective 1.B.2

The Honors College will pursue transfer articulation agreements with our primary feeder institutions: Grand Rapids Community College, Muskegon Community College, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Montcalm Community College, and Oakland Community College.

Baseline

No Honors articulation agreements currently exist.

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

Objective 1.C.1

The Honors College will increase service-learning opportunities for students by 20%.

Baseline

In 2016-17, approximately 150 students engaged in service learning, either through Honors courses or participation in ANCHOR (student organization), the Honors Ambassador Program, Laker Experience Days, or an Honors conference (NCHC or MEHA).

Progress

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
We are working with Housing to bolster service-learning projects in ANCHOR, our Honors student community council. We're also working on developing a "sophomore experience" in our curriculum that will include a service-learning component.

Objective 1.C.2

The Honors College will develop at least two more key community partnerships by 2021.

Baseline

We currently have community partnerships with KCTC's Health Sciences Academy and the Porter Hills senior living center.

Objective 1.C.3

The Honors College will develop at least one more faculty-led international study abroad program.

Baseline

We currently have one ongoing faculty-led study abroad (to Ghana).

Progress

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
Our Haiti program is now established. We are at the beginning stages of developing an El Salvador program (Meg Marshall coordinating).

Objective 1.C.4

The Honors College will communicate regularly with alumni.

Baseline

Currently only sporadic communication.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
We are developing are social media process significantly, and have started creation of a database with alumni information. We sent the most recent annual report to all alumni currently in our database.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
We have established an Honors Advisory Council, with Kelly McDonell as our liaison and organizer. We also had a table at the Homecoming 2017 football tailgate party.

Objective 1.C.5

The Honors College will constitute an Advisory Board made up primarily of Honors alumni.

Baseline

Currently no advisory board.

Progress

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
Honors Alumni Advisory Council formed--met first time January 10, 2017. The group held a social event in March 2017 and a Homecoming event in October 2017.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
Alumni Council formed and met. First event in March brought together 50 alumni. Planning for reunion in August.

Objective 1.C.6

The Honors College will host at least one alumni event a year.

Baseline

Currently no specific Honors alumni events.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
Alumni are planning a "happy hour" event in March 2017.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
An event in March was very successful--50 attendees. Another event planned for August.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
Fall 2018 marks the tenth anniversary of the Niemeyer Living/Learning Center, and we're planning a year of events to celebrate--including some involving alumni.

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

Objective 1.E.1

The Honors College will create endowments for service learning and for scholarships (particularly for continuing students and those who receive little merit money coming in).

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
We have started an endowment account for service learning. It is now 1/3 of the way towards being funded.

Objective 1.E.2

Support staffing for the Honors College is within 20-30% of the best practice staffing levels recommended by accrediting bodies or professional organizations.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
We doubled our advising staff (to two), which puts us much closer to the national norm. Unfortunately, we are not likely to reach within 20-30% of the best practice nationally for quite a while: Honors Colleges our size often have four advisors.

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

The Honors College will develop a plan to incorporate faculty from across the university in Honors in a deeper way than as part-time teachers. This may take the form of something like a Faculty-in-Residence program, Faculty Fellow program, or something suchlike.

Progress

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
The Honors Faculty Council created and posted a Faculty-in-Residence position, and so far we've contracted with four faculty for rotating three-year terms (50% or more in Honors): Gordon Alderink of PT, David Eick of MLL, Peter Wampler of GEO, and, beginning in Fall 2018, Joel Stillerman of SOC.

Objective 2.A.2

The Honors College will broaden involvement of faculty across campus in the work of the College.

Baseline

As of Fall 2017, we had an Honors Advisory Council comprising faculty, staff, and students from across campus.

Progress

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
We reconstituted the Honors Curriculum Development Committee as a decision-making body comprising faculty representatives from each academic division and three student representatives.

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

Objective 2.C.1

The Honors College will deepen its relationship with the National Collegiate Honors Councilat least one faculty member (in addition to the director and assistant director) will attend the national conference each year.

Baseline

Most years, only the director and one staff member attended.

Progress

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
Honors Director Jeff Chamberlain and Honors faculty member Peter Anderson attended the Fall 2016 NCHC meeting. In Fall 2017, Interim Director Roger Gilles, Faculty Chair Coeli Fitzpatrick, and Academic and Enrichment Advisor Kelly McDonell attended. These trips were made possible with support from Dean Hiskes of Brooks College.

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

Objective 2.D.1

At least 75% of full-time faculty and 75% of staff participate in professional development to expand, enhance or extend their competencies and capabilities within the context of the responsibilities of their positions. For faculty, this will primarily be development in the area of teaching in Honors.

Baseline

Currently, only about a third of Honors full-time faculty have attended an Honors conference or workshop.

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 Honors College will integrate the Art Gallery into at least 10% of its courses.

Baseline

Currently, the Honors College integrates the Art Gallery into approximately 5% of its courses.

Progress

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
There are several courses that currently use the Art Gallery as a significant part of their courses.

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

Objective 3.E.1

The Honors College will establish an internal governance structure that accounts for its unique unit status, with tenured and tenure-track faculty, and its curricular accountability to the university as a whole.

Baseline

As of 2016-17, the Honors College is governed by three committees: the Honors Faculty Council (chaired by the unit head and comprising the full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty in Honors), the Honors Curriculum and Development Committee (chaired by the director and comprising all members of the HFC plus all Honors faculty-in-residence, all Honors joint appointments, one rep from Classics, the Meijer Endowed Chair for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Meijer Fellowships Director, the director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship, and three Honors students), and the Honors Advisory Council (chaired by the director and comprising proportional representation from each college in the university, plus representatives from University Libraries and Admissions).

Progress

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
The Honors College revised its governance structure, moving from three committees to two and reshaping the membership of each committee to establish a clearer role for full-time Honors faculty while also ensuring broader representation from faculty across campus.

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 Honors College will recognize at least one distinguished alum in its annual report and recognition ceremony each year.

Baseline

We have not done this to date.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
Our Fall 2016 annual report recognized two distinguished alumni.

Objective 4.A.2

The Honors College will coordinate recognition events for alumni with other colleges.

Baseline

We currently do not do this.

Progress

2017 Status
Minimal Progress
We have been working with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to see if we can coordinate with their Distinguished Alumni in Residence program because many of those individuals are also Honors alumni. We are only at the talking stage.

Objective 4.A.3

The Honors College will do a needs analysis and feasibility study for developing a summer program for high school students. Focus might be Design Thinking, Sustainability, or some such. If the study recommends starting a program, the goal for implementation will be 2019.

Baseline

None.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 4.B.1

Feature a diverse range of Honors students and faculty in our blogs, websites, newsletters, and other publications.

Baseline

This has been done casually but not intentionally.

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

Objective 4.C.1

The Honors College will communicate regularly with alumniby 1) inviting them to events like the Meijer Lecture, and 2) by providing them with updates on the program and the annual report.

Progress

2017 Status
Minimal Progress
We shared the Fall 2016 annual report with alumni in our database. Alumni were invited to the Meijer Lecture in March 2017 and again in September 2017. One alumnus attended our student dinner event with the September 2017 speaker.

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

Objective 4.D.1

The Honors College will share its success stories, particularly those involving innovative teaching, interdisciplinary activities, and creative work.

Baseline

We have a website, a social media blog, and annual reports, but we have done little in the way of publicizing our most innovative or intriguing stories.

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