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Strategic Plan for Meijer Center for Writing & Michigan Authors

Context For Planning

The Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors is an open-door student service that provides composition support to all students, staff, and faculty at Grand Valley State University.

Mission

Through peer mentorship, the Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors provides a safe space for analytical dialogue, wherein writers develop strategies and skills for building awareness of and confidence in, their own writing process. 

Vision

We view Grand Valley as a community of writers, all with their own writing processes, purposes, and goals. The center should enable students, faculty, and staff to achieve their writing goals as they learn to participate in our campus community as well as in larger academic, professional, and global contexts.

Value Statement

The Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors is founded on the principle that writing is a social act and that a writers peers  whether undergraduate, graduate, or faculty/staff  can, with proper training and support, provide a writer with valuable writing assistance. Therefore, we value: 


1. Process 
Just as Grand Valley strives for excellence, the Writing Center values time and space for writers to practice the writing process; we believe this perspective is essential to a writers confidence and personal success in writing. We train our writing consultants, therefore, with the skills and knowledge necessary to approach writing from a process-oriented mindset so as to pass that perspective on to other writers and fellow thinkers. Through this value, The Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors hopes to be an instrumental resource for our clients to become more intentional writers. 

 2. Dignity 
The Writing Center greatly values the dignity of all who enter our space, use our services, and/or work for our center. We aim to not only respect the dignity of others, but also promote and nurture the dignity that may yet be acknowledged in an individual. By valuing dignity, we hope to maintain the integrity of writers, their peers, and their sources of expert perspective (i.e. academic citations, formatting, and audience expectations). Our writing consultants, therefore, are trained to embody the liberal education components of dialogue and collaboration, which require empathy, constructive positive feedback, and respect toward the writer and their identified needs and goals. By aligning ourselves with this desired framework, it is essential that the Writing Center stay grounded in this value of dignity, wherein we become a part of a writers process of building confidence, ability, and identity. 

3. Curiosity 
The Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors aims to create a safe environment for the free exchange of ideas. We ground much of our consulting work not only in theory, research, and the fields best practices, but also in curiosity, inquiry, and critical thinking. We ask that our consultants learn respectful strategies for supporting writers in their quest for new knowledge. We take on the responsibility to support writers in their acquisition of descriptive, declarative, and procedural knowledge; therefore, we promote active and engaged curiosity at all levels of the writing process for consultants and authors. 

4. Inclusiveness 
The Writing Center aligns itself with Grand Valley in valuing all identities, perspectives, and backgrounds and aims to create a safe and inclusive environment for everyone who enters. We employ students from multiple disciplines, language backgrounds, educational experiences, and personal cultures  not only for the purposes of supporting the interdisciplinary nature of writing, but also to promote and grow an inclusive and diverse community of writers, thinkers, and members. 

5. Community 
In the same way that we aim for inclusiveness, the Writing Center actively promotes community in all aspects of our work  community in an individualized consultation, community at our locations, community online, and collaborative communities on campus. At the university level, the Writing Center functions as a intellectual contact zone, where students can discuss, challenge, and respond to feedback from trained peer consultants. By creating a space where all writers are encouraged to engage with their peers, the Writing Center champions creating communities on local and global scales. One of the essential features to building community is empathy, which includes an attention to listening, judgment free consulting styles, adaptable strategies and practices, and awareness and acknowledgement of ones personal and subjective biases. Through empathy, the Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors aims to build a healthy community full of independent, active thinkers with the drive to promote the love of writing beyond our physical spaces. 

6. Empowerment 
The Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors considers power to be an instrumental feature in ones belief of their own capacity to approach, complete, and succeed in any writing project; therefore, the Writing Center values our role in the empowerment of emerging, practiced, or expert writers. Through our pedagogically sound consulting techniques, consultants provide writers with the time and space to celebrate success, identify concerns, develop helpful strategies, and grow a personalized voice and style so as to continue the writing process beyond the walls of the Writing Center. We make it our mission to be a supportive place and service for writers, who want or need to acknowledge and grow their own agency over any writing project or future writing goal. 

7. Adaptability 
Through our innovative collaborative efforts and our critical awareness of our clients needs, the Writing Center hopes to pin adaptability at the forefront of our mission and of our daily work. Not only do we orient every individual consultation toward each writers own specific needs and goals, we focus on adapting our training, practices, and services to the constant evolving qualities and identities of our clients. Additionally, we aim to adapt to changing technology needs, student expectations, and evolving university goals. The Writing Center offers multiple avenues of writing support to serve the campus community, which include face-to-face consultations, online consultations, group consultations, classroom support, electronic resources, and multiple locations at our various GVSU campuses.

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

Writers of all backgrounds will find the Writing Center supportive to their goals and needs.

Baseline

Previous assessment studies addressing student satisfaction, location support (downtown, regional campuses, and online)

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
For 2019, 87% of student users rated their work with a consultant as very comfortable and 83% indicated their experience was very helpful. Combined with ratings of "somewhat" helpful/comfortable brings both percentages to 90%. In general, levels of student satisfaction are consistent between years/semesters.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
A quality assessment of student exit surveys from Winter 2018 and Fall 2018 indicate that students feel comfortable working with consultants in the writing center. Out of 10,548 consultations, 86% of students stated they were "very comfortable" and 4% were "somewhat comfortable," meaning roughly 91% of all students felt comfortable working with a consultant. Roughly 1% of students were either "somewhat uncomfortable" or "very uncomfortable."

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 1.B.1

The Writing Center will promote linguistic diversity to students, faculty, and staff.

Baseline

N/A

Progress

2019 Status
Minimal Progress
During Fall/Winter 2019, the writing center continued its collaboration with SWS, Linguistics, and the Division of Inclusion and Equity to offer a Teach-In on the topic of linguistic bias aimed at teachers and students. Additionally, work continues on MESH, a student journal we hope to launch in collaboration with SWS. These internal efforts were echoed in a Policy Statement available on our website and conversations with peer institutions at local/regional conferences.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
During Fall/Winter 2018, the writing center collaborated with SWS, Linguistics, and the Division of Inclusion and Equity to develop a Teach-In on the topic of linguistic bias aimed at teachers and students. Additionally, work continues on MESH, a student journal we hope to launch in collaboration with SWS. These internal efforts were echoed in a Policy Statement available on our website and multiple presentations on the topic at local/regional/national conferences.

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

Objective 1.C.1

The Writing Center will maintain existing collaborations and partnerships as well as seek out new university and professional connections.

Baseline

Our current list of partnerships and collaborations (SWS, Knowledge Market, SASC, Writing Department, Seidman)

Progress

2019 Status
Minimal Progress
Our two primaries collaborations are the Writing Department, where consultants are embedded in every section of first year composition, and the Knowledge Market where we are currently developing a Virtual Knowledge Market to provide greater academic support accessibility for all GVSU students. Additionally, we continue to work closely with the SWS director to promote best practices for faculty teaching writing.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
Our collaboration with the Knowledge Market continues to thrive. All three services have embraced collaborative training and professional development opportunities, which has resulted in collaborative trainings with other university programs. Administrators from all three services have pursued research and scholarship based on our efforts, specifically regarding in-class support from all three partner services (speech lab, research center, writing center). Additionally, we created a Knowledge Market advisory council to assist programs who are interested in developing their own peer mentoring service.

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

Objective 1.D.1

The Writing Center will continue to provide effective in-classroom writing support

Baseline

Results from previous Faculty and student Blackboard evaluations

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
The current efforts to develop WRT 120/130 as well as the Virtual Knowledge Market point to innovations related to instruction and technology and will likely be key features of reporting on this objective in 2020. Providing effective in-class writing support remains an essential role and collaboration for the Writing Center.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
Beginning in Fall 2016 and through Winter 2017, the writing center (along with the speech lab and research center) piloted a program to embed consultants from all three knowledge market services into upper-division SWS courses that involved elements of research, writing, and presentation.

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 Writing Center will hire, train, and support a staff of consultants to assist all writers from all backgrounds, majors, and disciplines.

Baseline

Current staff demographics

Progress

2019 Status
Minimal Progress
As of Winter 2019, our staff have 54 consultants on staff from a variety of majors. We strive to hire from across all disciplines, but the nature of our service tends to draw students who see an immediate connection between their area of study and our program. Roughly 20% of our staff are from the sciences, including Biology, Biochemistry, Computer Science, Psychology, Physics, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Mechanical Engineering. We also have representation from business which includes Accounting, Communications, Advertising, and Public/Nonprofit Administration, and the arts, which includes Illustration and Film. Roughly 50% of our staff come from CLAS and Social Sciences, which include Education, English, Criminal justice, History, Writing, and Journalism.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
As of Winter 2018, our staff have 55 consultants on staff from a variety of majors. We strive to hire from across all disciplines, but the nature of our service tends to draw students who see an immediate connection between their area of study and our program. Roughly 30% of our staff are from the sciences, including Biology, Sonography, Computer Science, Mathematics, Psychology, Physics, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Mechanical Engineering. We also have representation from business (9%), which includes Accounting, Communications, Advertising, and Public/Nonprofit Administration, and the arts (7%), which includes Illustration and Film. The remaining 54% come from CLAS and Social Sciences, which include Education, English, Criminal justice, History, Writing, and Journalism.

Objective 2.A.2

Peer writing consultants will have a high-impact learning experience that develops skills which shape their professional and intellectual lives.

Baseline

Previous number of consultants attending/presenting at conferences, staff survey, WRT 306 projects, professional development attendance

Progress

2019 Status
Minimal Progress
There are no shortage of opportunities for writing consultants to develop professionally, whether it is pursuing a research project related to a conference, offering a training to fellow consultants, or creating new resources for our staff, we try to embody the idea that everyone on staff has unique knowledge that can be shared with everyone. During 2019, we have several new participation opportunities (creative writing, SNAPs committee) as well as established committees from previous semesters (STEM task force and a social media committee).

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
There are no shortage of opportunities for writing consultants to develop professionally, whether it is pursuing a research project related to a conference or creating new resources for our staff, we try to embody the idea that everyone on staff has unique knowledge that can be shared with everyone. During 2018, we have made efforts to create additional leadership opportunities for staff members, which includes a STEM task force and a social media committee.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 2.B.1

Actively train the entire Writing Center staff to be aware, respectful, and knowledgeable of linguistic diversity.

Baseline

N/A

Progress

2019 Status
Minimal Progress
In 2019, all writing consultants are informed about our policy on linguistic inclusivity during consultant orientation and our writing consultant training course - WRT 306. By integrating this topic in our training, we hope to maintain this conversation throughout the year. Additionally, our staff, and anyone interested in learning more, is directed to our online policy statement and professional development opportunities that address its role in consulting.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
In 2018, all writing consultants are informed about our policy on linguistic inclusivity during consultant orientation and our writing consultant training course - WRT 306. By integrating this topic in our training, we hope to maintain this conversation throughout the year. Additionally, our staff, and anyone interested in learning more, is directed to our online policy statement and professional development opportunities that address its role in consulting.

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

The Writing Center will collaborate with professional programs to explore new allocation systems and approaches to staffing hours and locations.

Baseline

N/A

Progress

2019 Status
Minimal Progress
Currently, the online scheduling system and database used by the Writing Center (ScheduleIT) is being redesigned by Institutional Marketing. When it is operational in 2020, it may have an impact on our approach to staffing, however 2019 has been focused on its planning and development.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
No new efforts to redesign staffing have taken place.

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 Writing Center will achieve certification as a nationally recognized writing center.

Baseline

N/A

Progress

2019 Status
Minimal Progress
To date, this objective was focused on an application to the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) to become a nationally recognized writing center. While this recognization remains a goal, our program is currently gathering data and evidence to support our argument.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
Gaining national recognition remains an aspirational goal for our program, however we have not submitted an application to the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). Our program is currently gathering data and evidence to support our argument.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 4.B.1

To advance the reputation of the Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors, the Knowledge Market, Brooks College, and Grand Valley State University through research, assessment, and participation in local, regional, and national conferences.

Baseline

Currently, our program is a regular participant in professional conferences in our field and an active collaborator with other peer mentoring services (Speech Lab and Research Center through the Knowledge Market). Communication with peers in our field are our likely baseline for understanding our professional reputation.

Progress

2019 Status
Minimal Progress
Writing consultants and administration participated in several local, regional, and national conferences during 2019 as outlined under objective 2.A.2.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
Writing consultants participated in several local, regional, and national conferences during 2018 as outlined under objective 2.A.2. Additionally, a research project created in collaboration with Knowledge Market partners (Carl Brown, Jennifer Torreano, and Melanie Rabine-Johnson) yielded a published paper that earned the National Association of Communication Centers Joyce Ferguson Faculty Paper Award.

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

Objective 4.C.1

The Writing Center will explore benefits and costs of hosting a Peer Mentoring conference for GVSU programs and peer institutions

Baseline

N/A

Progress

2019 Status
Not Yet Initiated
This objective remains in an early stage of discussion and planning. We have no specific date, budget, or topic, but we know there is interest. The creation of the Virtual Knowledge Market, launching in Fall 2020 may help spark renewed interest.

2018 Status
Not Yet Initiated
This objective remains in an early stage of discussion and planning. We have no specific date, budget, or topic, but we know there is interest.

Objective 4.C.2

The Writing Center will develop and grow outreach opportunities with community partners and organizations

Baseline

Current collaboration efforts with Black River public school

Progress

2019 Status
Minimal Progress
Along with progress from 4.B.1, which addresses our efforts to advance our program, college, and university reputation, there have been several other new outreach opportunities in 2019 to local high school writing centers, GVSU student programs, and international writing center partners.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
The primary partnership outside GVSU has been with the Van Andel Institute, as Melanie Rabine-Johnson works with ESL/ELL support for students pursuing their doctoral research. Also, additional information is reflected in 4.B.1, which also addresses our efforts to advance our program, college, and university reputation.

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

Objective 4.D.1

The Writing Center will diversify and enhance resources specific to the teaching of writing

Baseline

Current stable of resources (online, paper, visual, programatic)

Progress

2019 Status
Minimal Progress
The ongoing connection between the Writing Center and SWS allows for both to support the teaching of writing. The director of SWS (Jerry Stinnett) teaches the consultant training course (WRT 306) which ensures that all consultants approach their role informed by best practices. Additionally, the Writing Center and SWS work together to support faculty writers through writing retreats. By supporting the academic work of instructors, both SWS and the Writing Center have opportunities to form new partnerships as well as spread information about services and best practices.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
In collaboration with SWS, the writing center has worked to develop instructor resources that address best practices for the teaching of writing.

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