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Strategic Plan for 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.


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.


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 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).

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.

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

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

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.

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