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Strategic Plan for Liberal Studies

Mission

Through innovative, interdisciplinary programs and community partnerships, the Liberal Studies Department cultivates engaged learners who explore the world through a local, national and global lens. We provide integrative frameworks including student designed majors in Liberal Studies, the Intercultural Training Certificate, and the Religious Studies major and minor that inspire lifelong transformative learning and responsible engagement in diverse communities.

Vision

The Liberal Studies Department will be a regional and national model of the transformative process of liberal education through integrative, interdisciplinary, and innovative teaching, learning, and scholarship. We will engage with students to promote diversity, social justice to challenge structural inequalities, and the praxis of active national and international scholarship. We will build vibrant, innovative programs in all our campus locations that serve the emerging needs of our students and our local and global communities.

Value Statement

The values of the Liberal Studies Department are: 

  • Collaborative teaching, learning, and scholarship 
  • Student-centered, experiential teaching and learning 
  • Civic engagement by students, faculty, and staff 
  • Local practices and global understanding that promote social justice and environmental integrity. 
  • Advancing diversity through global and local efforts.
  • Interdisciplinary inquiry by students, faculty, and staff
  • Critical questioning and diverse perspective-taking
  • Democratic equality through social justice
  • Excellence and innovation in teaching & technology
  • Accessibility, academic rigor, and paths to degree completion

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

By 2020 at least 90% of students graduating with a LIB studies major participate in two or more high-impact learning experiences prior to graduation, in addition to internships and capstone courses.

Baseline

30

Progress

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
We have initiated the action steps noted in the 2016 strategic plan and are making substantive progress toward meeting this objective.

Objective 1.A.2

By 2020, 50% of all seniors in the Liberal Studies major will participate in professional development events, co-curriculars, and/or classroom visits focused on the real world experiences of Lib alumni.

Baseline

10% of seniors in the Liberal Studies major (BA and BS)

Progress

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
We have begun implementing the strategic actions identified in the 2016 strategic plan.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 1.B.1

Support Brooks College goal of increasing graduation rates for undergraduate students, particularly first generation, non-white, and Hispanic students, in LIB by a statistically significant amount by 2021.

Baseline

2015 from six-year self study

Progress

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
We have begun implementing the action steps outlined in our strategic plan. Number of graduates who self-identified as being students of color has increased slightly since the 2015 self-study (from 18% to just less than 20% of our graduating majors). More than half of our graduates in 2016-2017 (54.72%) were non-traditional students.

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

Objective 1.C.1

By 2020 the Liberal Studies department will increase by 10% the number of sections of LIB prefix courses providing community-based learning experiences.

Baseline

8 Sections (LIB 322, LIB 323, LIB 341, LIB 342)

Progress

2017 Status
Minimal Progress
The Department is working actively to support community-based learning. In 2016-2017 several LIB faculty participated in FTLC CBL workshops. We also reviewed existing practices within the department and are working with Brooks College to identify and implement best practices for CBL.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
Implemented action steps outlined in 2016 strategic plan, including encouraging faculty to participate in FTLC seminars.

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

Objective 1.D.1

Support development of the new Brooks College interdisciplinary programs or initiatives that support and enhance university-wide collaboration and embody innovations in content, pedagogy, high impact learning opportunities, or technology.

Baseline

7 faculty currently serving in 2016

Progress

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
As of this reporting date, the Professional Master of Arts in Social Innovation has been approved by the Provost and we are awaiting review by the Board of Trustees. Two TT LIB faculty are scheduled to teach in the Digital Studies Program, which we hope to launch in 2018-2019. LIB faculty continue to contribute significantly to development of the Design Thinking Certificate proposal as well as supporting development of Environmental Studies, Human Rights, and other interdisciplinary efforts within the college.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
Faculty in Liberal Studies continue to participate actively to support and develop new Brooks College interdisciplinary programs and initiatives. In 2017, 14 full-time faculty either taught courses as a part of minor or certificate programs offered through Brooks College, served on task forces or advisory councils for interdisciplinary programs, or worked to launch new interdisciplinary, academic programs.

Objective 1.D.2

By 2021, increase student enrollment in the adult accelerated programs, REL major and minor, and ITC by 50%.

Baseline

Winter 2016: REL Major - 15 REL Minor - 28 ITC Certificates awarded - 3 Accelerated Leadership Enrollment - 40

Progress

2017 Status
Minimal Progress
The Department is actively working to increase enrollment in the ITC Certificate, REL Program, and via its Accelerated Leadership Program.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
We have implemented the action steps outlined in the 2016 strategic plan. Although we have not yet met our goal of increasing enrollment in all of these areas by 50%, we have made substantive progrss and believe we are on track toward meeting this goal by 2021.

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

By 2019, 20% of full-time faculty will have participated in community engaged teaching/research in keeping with best practices for mutually beneficial community-based teaching, learning, and research.

Baseline

N/A

Progress

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
Of our 21 full-time faculty, more than a third participated in at least one community engaged teaching/research activity in the past calendar year.

Objective 2.A.2

By 2018 20% or more of LIB faculty engage LIB colleagues in co-teaching, co-research, shared projects, and/or presentations.

Baseline

N/A

Progress

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
Beginning Fall 2017, the LIB Department is launching a monthly "lunch & learn" seminar. The goal of this seminar is to encourage faculty to share early works in progress with colleagues so that faculty can workshop ideas and collaborate with each other. In June 2017, the Department Chair drafted a plan with staff on our Traverse City campus (in collaboration with the GVSU Center for Adult and Continuing Studies) to explore ways to enhance collaboration between the regional and main campuses as well as increasing academic and professional development opportunities for TC students and faculty.

2018 Status
Achieved
We have met and exceeded this objective with well over 50% of LIB faculty engaging with colleagues through co-teaching, co-research, shared projects, and/or presentations.

Objective 2.A.3

By 2020, 20% of faculty will have participated in regional and/or national training for best practices in faculty/student collaborative undergraduate research.

Baseline

0

Progress

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
Beginning in 2018, the Department's High Impact Practices Working Group will develop strategies to help us meet this goal by 2020.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 2.B.1

Advance diversity of underrepresented groups within tenure-line faculty by 10% of total faculty (total number of unit faculty is 20 including 1 joint appointment).

Baseline

6

Progress

2017 Status
Minimal Progress
We will continue to implement best practices for inclusion and equity to not only diversity our faculty but to focus on retention and support of faculty from underrepresented groups.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
We are increasing the diversity of under-represented groups within tenure-line faculty and begun implementing the action steps identified in the 2016 strategic plan.

Objective 2.B.2

Support professional development for faculty and staff related to inclusion and equity.

Baseline

0

Progress

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
In February 2017, the Department initiated a year-long workplace climate initiative. We are continuing to support professional development for faculty and staff related to inclusion and equity.

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

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

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 4.B.1

Liberal Studies Department faculty continue to promote inclusion and diversity in coursework, mentoring, scholarship, and recruitment and retention of underrepresented student and faculty groups.

Baseline

To be established

Progress

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
We will be working actively through 2018 to implement the identified action steps.

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

Objective 4.C.1

By 2020, all Liberal Studies faculty who are engaged in community-based learning and/or research will be modeling mutually beneficial partnerships and collaborations with local, state, national, and world communities that are rooted in the department's core learning outcomes.

Baseline

Unknown.

Progress

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
At present, we are working closely with the College to develop guidelines/best practices to guide departmental work. Department faculty are leading these efforts in collaboration with others.

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