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Strategic Plan for School of Communications

Context For Planning

The School of Communications (SoC) was founded in 1983 and is the only School within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In 2017, the School was reorganized, with programs in Film/Video Production, Photography, and Theatre (and the associated faculty) joining other units. In its new configuration, the SoC offers undergraduate programs in Advertising and Public Relations, Communication Studies, Health Communication, and Multimedia Journalism, as well as an M.S. in Communication. Since the School's reorganization took place in the middle of a strategic planning cycle, the current strategic plan reflects revisions made in 2018 by the remaining SoC faculty. A number of objectives originally listed in the 2016-2021 strategic plan have been archived and are no longer considered strategic priorities. Other objectives have been modified, and several new objectives have been added.


Mission

Through the integration of liberal and professional education, the School of Communications educates students to possess essential communication skills and to be critical, self-reflective communication professionals and contributing members of society.

Vision

The School of Communications (SoC) will be known for its rigorous programs, culture of inquiry and achievement, innovative pedagogical practices, and graduates who are leaders in their chosen fields. The SoC will enhance educational quality by: 

  • Attracting and retaining diverse, exceptional, and highly qualified faculty, staff, and students. 
  • Increasing interdisciplinary collaboration in students' work, as well as between faculty in SoC majors and with other units in the university. 
  • Infusing the curriculum and unit activities with international and intercultural perspectives.
  • Providing state-of-the-art facilities to help prepare students for practice in rapidly changing communications fields.
  • Engaging current and emerging communication technologies and enhancing students' critical competence in their use.

Value Statement










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

The School of Communications regularly assesses the effectiveness of academic advising within the School and takes steps to improve students' access to effective advising resources while achieving manageable and equitable advising loads for all faculty.

Baseline

The School does not yet have a plan to regularly assess the effectiveness of academic advising. We have taken steps to document advising best practices and account for advising in workload planning. Current advising loads within SoC are 58.3 advisees per tenure-track faculty member, compared to a CLAS average of 20.6.

Progress

2019 Status
Minimal Progress
Advising workloads remain a concern in the SoC. The number of advisees per faculty member varies from program to program, with Advertising and Public Relations faculty in most need of assistance. The SoC is shifting away from the task force model and more toward a unit-based model.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
In the 2018-19 academic year, the Director appointed an Advising & Outreach Task Force with several charges related to this objective. The work of this task force is ongoing but may lead to reallocation of some advising loads under the School's new workload policies.

Objective 1.A.3

The School of Communications organizes regular co-curricular events that encourage students to explore career opportunities and other issues relevant to their fields of study.

Baseline

Such events currently take place, but we have not keep formal records of the number of events or attendance at them.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
SoC faculty continue to coordinate co-curricular events. Many new mechanisms were introduced this year to help with these efforts. In addition, the SoC blog has been revitalized and acts as an informal means of archiving events.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
Surveys of program coordinators indicate that significant co-curricular events are available to students in each program area.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 1.B.1

Students in the School of Communications engage international and intercultural perspectives throughout each major's curriculum.

Baseline

Although SoC majors regularly engage international and intercultural perspectives, we have not yet formally assessed the extent to which this occurs or what efforts need to be made to expand such engagement.

Progress

2018 Status
Achieved
Based on an investigation of each program's curriculum and a student survey, we are confident that students in all SoC majors engage international and intercultural perspectives throughout their curriculum.

2017 Status
Minimal Progress
Although faculty can provide anecdotal examples of international and intercultural perspectives in SoC courses, we have not collected any systematic data on this objective. In addition, the terms "international" and "intercultural" are not clearly defined, and there is confusion about how the 50% target should be interpreted and/or measured. In general, we find that this objective is too vague to be meaningful.

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

Objective 1.C.2

School of Communications faculty forge collaborations within and beyond GVSU to enhance student learning and professional growth.

Baseline

Although such collaborations are currently taking place, they have not been formally documented. A baseline needs to be established via a survey to identify existing collaborations.

Progress

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
Anecdotally, we know that SoC faculty are already involved in a variety of collaborations that enhance student learning and professional growth. In addition, a task force on Partnerships, Collaboration, and Diversity was established during the 2018-19 academic year. The task force is currently collecting data to establish a baseline of existing collaborations.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
All School of Communications programs regularly engage and collaborate with community organizations. Examples include internships, corporate clients in Ad/PR classes, and media partnerships such as the new student-produced West Side Stories program on WGVU.

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

Objective 1.E.2

ARCHIVED - The School of Communications provides coordinated opportunities that encourage student participation in events that explore career opportunities and issues relevant to our students.

Baseline

Current practices in the majors

Progress

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
ARCHIVED - There will be no further reports for this objective, as we have revised our strategic plan to focus on other priorities.

2017 Status
Minimal Progress
While individual faculty encourage student participation in career-related events, there is currently no coordinated effort to do so or to track student engagement in such activities.

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

ARCHIVED - School of Communications allocates resources for faculty to engage in cutting edge scholarship and creative practices.

Baseline

Survey of current resources ( faculty development fund, technology/software/facilities support).

Progress

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
ARCHIVED - There will be no further reports for this objective, as we have revised our strategic plan to focus on other priorities.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
Through working budget and facilities requests, the School of Communications has sought additional resources to support scholarly and creative endeavors. Within the School, faculty can request additional funds to be awarded at the discretion of the SoC Director.

Objective 2.A.2

The number of student credit hours taught by tenure-track faculty increases to meet the CLAS average.

Baseline

In the 17-18 academic year, 34.6% of SCH in SoC were taught by tenure-track faculty. The CLAS average was 52.0%.

Progress

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
We have not made progress toward achieving this goal. In fact, the proportion of student credit hours taught by tenure-track faculty in the 18-19 academic year was 32.7%, down from the 17-18 percentage of 34.6%.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 2.B.1

The School of Communications actively recruits diverse students and faculty by establishing relationships with institutions and organizations that serve significant numbers of individuals from historically underrepresented groups.

Baseline

We do not currently have a baseline record of these kinds of partnerships.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
A report on SoC partnerships was completed successfully. However, how this report will inform recruitment of a more diverse student population has yet to be determined.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
As a first step toward meeting this objective, a task force on Partnerships, Collaboration, and Diversity was established during the 2018-19 academic year. The task force is currently collecting data to establish a baseline of existing relationships with organizations that serve diverse populations.

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

Objective 2.E.1

The School of Communications allocates substantial resources (above and beyond normal professional development funds) to support faculty scholarship and creative activity.

Baseline

Requests for additional funding have been approved in the past on an ad hoc basis, and so we do not have baseline data on the historical trends for the total amount of funding provided.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
The SoC will continue to offer substantial resources above and beyond normal professional development funds to support faculty.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
For the 2018-19 academic year, the Director allocated $10,000 of SoC funds to supplement the $900 per faculty member allotment provided by CLAS for travel/professional development. To date, over $9,000 of these funds have been distributed via a transparent application and review process.

Objective 2.E.2

ARCHIVED - School of Communications improves procedures for personnel, curriculum, and other administrative functions to meet the challenges of growth in the unit ( majors and faculty), to enable faculty to devote quality time for student learning, advising, as well as enhancing their scholarly and creative activities.

Baseline

Challenges identified in SoC Self-study

Progress

2018 Status
Achieved
ARCHIVED - There will be no further reports for this objective, as we have revised our strategic plan to focus on other priorities.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
Following the reorganization of the School of Communications, faculty have engaged in extensive discussions of processes, procedures, and administrative functions within the school.

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

Outcome A: Grand Valley's learning environment is personal, challenging, and transformational, supporting excellent academic programs and co-curricular opportunities.

Objective 3.A.1

ARCHIVED - School of Communications offers its majors high impact practice of a common intellectual experience of the Communication discipline (given the broad, evolving nature of this discipline).

Baseline

School of Communications Core curriculum

Progress

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
ARCHIVED - There will be no further reports for this objective, as we have revised our strategic plan to focus on other priorities.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
School of Communications majors engage in a common intellectual experience via the SoC core curriculum.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 3.B.1

ARCHIVED - 30 % of School of Communications faculty receive Inclusion training.

Baseline

Current percentage of faculty with Inclusion training

Progress

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
ARCHIVED - There will be no further reports for this objective, as we have revised our strategic plan to focus on other priorities.

2017 Status
Minimal Progress
Currently, 1 of the 17 tenure-track faculty members within the SoC is an Inclusion Advocate.

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

Objective 3.D.1

ARCHIVED - 20 % Faculty members in School of Communications have competency in hybrid/on-line teaching and pedagogy.

Baseline

A few faculty members currently have competency in hybrid/online teaching and pedagogy

Progress

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
ARCHIVED - There will be no further reports for this objective, as we have revised our strategic plan to focus on other priorities.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
Although we do not currently offer any hybrid/online courses, some SoC faculty members have competency in hybrid/online teaching.

Objective 3.D.2

The School of Communications contributes to GVSU's General Education program through the development of course offerings in each SoC discipline.

Baseline

Currently, COM 202 (Critical Interpretation) and COM 438 (Communication Ethics) are the only courses within the SoC that are a part of the General Education Program.

Progress

2019 Status
Minimal Progress
Attempts to introduce COM 201 (Speech) into the General Education curriculum were not successful.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
In 2018, we proposed two courses to be added to GVSU's General Education program: COM 201 and CMJ 290. The COM 201 proposal is still under review, and CMJ 290 was denied but may be resubmitted for a different category.

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

Objective 3.E.1

ARCHIVED - Coordinators of School of Communications major programs have enhanced leadership roles and defined duties and responsibilities.

Baseline

Current role of coordinators. Data about workload, best practices from Institutional Analysis

Progress

2018 Status
Achieved
ARCHIVED - There will be no further reports for this objective, as we have revised our strategic plan to focus on other priorities.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
Following the reorganization of the SoC, coordinator responsibilities were clarified, with some responsibilities returned to the unit head. The SoC program coordinators serve as an advisory council to the current unit head, meeting regularly to discuss relevant issues and coordinate School-wide initiatives.

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.2

ARCHIVED - Each major program in the School of Communications has a unique identity in the School, CLAS and the University.

Baseline

Issues of identity of major programs in the SoC elaborated in the SoC self study.

Progress

2017 Status
Minimal Progress
There is uncertainty regarding whether this objective is appropriate or desirable within the newly reorganized SoC. Discussions are ongoing.

Objective 4.A.3

The School of Communications actively recruits students, both to SoC programs and to GVSU.

Baseline

The School does not currently have focused recruiting practices outside of Laker Experience Days and other regular Admissions Office events.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
The SoC made significant progress with external contact efforts in local area high schools. However, facilities improvements remain a concern. Efforts to increase general education offerings were modest during the last year.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
We are in the planning stages of recruitment efforts primarily involving partnerships with area high schools and GRCC. We are also attempting to recruit more GVSU students to SoC majors via expanding our General Education offerings. Finally, we continue to work on facilities improvements in order to increase the appeal of our Ad/PR and multimedia journalism programs.

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

Objective 4.E.1

ARCHIVED - School of Communications investigates opportunities for shared facilities/exhibit space in down town campus to expand teaching/learning opportunities and forge collaborations with local area communities of interest.

Baseline

No baseline as no data exists

Progress

2018 Status
Not Yet Initiated
ARCHIVED - There will be no further reports for this objective, as we have revised our strategic plan to focus on other priorities.

2017 Status
Not Yet Initiated
We have not pursued opportunities for shared facilities/exhibit space. With the reorganization of the School of Communications, this objective is no longer relevant to current SoC programs.

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