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Strategic Plan for English

Context For Planning

The English Department is a large and complex department with three undergraduate major emphasis areas (English Language and Literature, English Secondary Education, and English Language Arts), three minors (English Minor, English Teachable Minor, and Applied Linguistics Minor), and two graduate programs (the MA in Literature and the MA in Applied Linguistics). It is also a department that participates in a large selection of interdisciplinary majors, minors and certificate programs across the university. The English Department strengthens the liberal education of students by developing a deepened understanding of language and literacy, the value of critical reading and effective writing, and the richness of literature, past and present. Our strategic plan for 2016-21 outlines our plans to continue to provide a rigorous educational experience within and beyond our own degree programs and to engage all students in high-impact learning opportunities.

Mission

The English Department strengthens the liberal education of students by developing a deepened understanding of language and literacy, the value of critical reading and effective writing, and the richness of literature, past and present.

Vision

We seek to foster knowledge and a love of literature and of language in our students. To this end we will provide students in all emphasis areas with a coherent curricular framework and relevant, well-structured course choices. We will teach a variety of literary, analytical, pedagogical, and theoretical skills. We will teach students to speak, read, and write effectively. We will encourage students to think deeply and to reflect on what they have learned. We will encourage a love of learning and an appreciation for a liberal education.

Value Statement

We value the rigorous and comprehensive study of language, literacy, and literature. We value the cultivation of critical reading and reflection. We value the production of excellent writing in a variety of forms. We value the ways the study of language and literature transforms our understanding of local, national, and international communities. We value teaching that will lead our students to participate in society as informed, responsible citizens.

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

The English Department will support faculty mentoring and advising of undergraduate and graduate students by a variety of means and channels.

Baseline

All tenure-track faculty have 1 open advising hour per week and the department hosts an annual advising event. In 2016 45 students attended the advising event.

Progress

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
ENG continues to work within its area groups (Literature, Linguistics, English Education, and our two MA programs) to provide more effective advising for undergraduates. We have continued our Open Advising "advisingpaloozas" during the March registration dates. The Associate Chair has been designated as primary contact for the CLAS advising center, working with students to streamline transfer credits and facilitate updates/revisions to individual students' MyPaths. With the help of AD Betty Schaner, I have worked extensively on individual outreach in each semester to returning students who have not enrolled in classes for the subsequent semester.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
The English Department requested and was granted a course reassignment for a faculty member to serve as Advising Coordinator for the 17-18 school year. Using this time, the Advising Coordinator (Rachel Anderson) has undertaken a review of our advising practices and is working to develop new methods for reaching out to students; to overhaul our advising documents; to develop stronger relationships with Career Service; to hold regular advising and career exploration events for students; and to develop a stronger sense of community among our majors. Dr. Anderson also applied for and was granted a Special Projects graduate assistant to develop internship networks and opportunities for English majors.

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

Objective 1.D.2

The English Department will support student academic activities as part of its effort to build dynamic and rigorous programs at the BA and MA levels.

Baseline

English Department faculty regularly work with students on high-impact research and service-learning activities, both within and beyond the University.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
In 2019, at least 445 students had high-impact learning experiences as part of their ENG coursework. The department was also able to subsidize student attendance at museum exhibits and plays, and sponsor film screenings and dramatic performances on campus to enrich students' academic experiences. Several faculty members participated with students on Teach-In panels, and the department contributed funding for students' Student Scholars Day posters. Faculty supported students' academic activities in a wide variety of ways, including working with McNair Scholars, hiring student researchers, and supervising tutoring programs that allow our students to put their coursework into a practical context. In total, 24 of our 30 TT/AFF faculty sponsored or supervised student academic activities in 2019 and the department contributed just under $2500 to support these activities.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
ENG continues to provide substantial academic and financial support for student activities. Our tracking of these metrics reveals that we have taken students to events in Chicago and Lansing, as well as supporting more local student activities as part of our partnerships with local school districts. Faculty worked with students on three Teach In panels and 11 Student Scholars Day presentations, and accompanied three undergraduates to a conference presentation (sponsored by ENG department funding). Both MA programs also funded student travel to attend conferences.

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

Objective 1.E.2

Endow the Faculty sponsored English Majors scholarship.

Baseline

Currently funding an annual scholarship and building the endowment.

Progress

2019 Status
Achieved
As of October 9, our English Department Faculty Endowed Scholarship for New Majors reached endowment status. We can now begin distributing scholarships from this fund.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
Last year, due to a miscommunication with the financial aid office, I erroneously reported that this objective had been achieved. This scholarship has not yet reached the endowment level. However, in 2018 we were able to double the amount that faculty contributed to the scholarship and also received a Presidential Match, bringing our total in the fund to over $18,000

Strategic Priority Area 2: Further develop exceptional personnel.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 2.B.1

The English Department will increase the number of Equity and Inclusion Advocates and Champions to at least three, one in each emphasis area pending revised certification program, or alternatively, increase the number of faculty and staff who have participated in intercultural training and development.

Baseline

The English department currently has 2 faculty who have obtained certification as Inclusion Advocates. Other faculty have participated in Allies and Advocates training and other training activities.

Progress

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
One faculty inclusion advocate has lost their status as such, due to not updating their IA training while on year-long sabbatical. We are now at two faculty and one staff Inclusion Advocates for the department.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
While we have not yet achieved our goal of having one Inclusion Advocate from each emphasis area, we have doubled our number of Inclusion Advocates from two to four, comprising three faculty and our department coordinator.

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

Objective 2.D.1

The English Department will increase the number of faculty trained in digital studies and certified to teach online/hybrid courses.

Baseline

Seven ENG faculty are currently certified to teach hybrid/online courses.

Progress

2018 Status
Achieved
As of this writing, the following faculty are now certified to teach online/hybrid classes: 12 TT faculty (approximately 41.4%) 1 AFF 2 VIS 3 regular adjuncts

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
We have increased the number of our TT faculty certified in online teaching to 10, and encouraged certification for our adjunct and affiliate faculty: our 1 AFF is certified, as are two regular adjuncts.

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

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 English Department will actively recognize and nominate faculty and students for internal and external honors and awards.

Baseline

In 2015 the department established a committee to nominate faculty for awards at the college and the university levels as well as in professional organizations.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
ENG continues to celebrate our students' success with both internal and external awards. This year, of particular note are two students in our MA-Literature program; Molly Stabler won the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools' Distinguished Thesis Award, while Ashley Quinn took second place in the Western Illinois University English Graduate Organization (EGO) and Sigma Tau Delta Conference Paper competition after blind review by a panel of faculty. We are also able to recognize our most outstanding students through the Oldenburg Essay Competition, awarding $600 in prizes to 15 students in 2019. Additionally, in Calendar Year 2019, we nominated Amy Masko for the CLAS Distinguished Service Award and Karen Pezzetti for a Pew Teaching Excellence award. Both won, and we are tremendously glad to see our colleagues' hard work recognized in this way.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
On the student-centered aspect of this goal we continue to maintain our progress. Students in the past year have competed for and received funding from OURS and the English Department Student Travel Fund, among other awards.These awards have been publicized on the English Department's website and social media, as well as publicized to CLAS. The faculty aspect of this objective has been less successful, since no faculty member currently feels able to take on the Faculty Awards Committee as part of their service portfolio.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 4.B.1

The English Department will encourage and support faculty's active involvement in professional organizations.

Baseline

Faculty have participated in various professional organizations in leadership and other professional capacities at an overall rate of 30% in the past five years.

Progress

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
Approximately 40% of our faculty are now involved in professional organizations, exceeding our baseline metric of 10%. Additionally, a review of digital measure and faculty activity reports yields a significant demonstration of community and professional activity throughout the university and throughout the community. One faculty member was elected in December to the presidency of the American Dialect Society, a national organization for linguists; another is on the board of MELUS, the Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
Per our Next Course of Action in 2016, we have created a document to track faculty involvement in professional organizations. Approximately 30% of our faculty are involved in professional organizations, exceeding our baseline metric of 10%. Additionally, a review of digital measure and faculty activity reports yields a significant demonstration of community and professional activity throughout the university and throughout the community.

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

Objective 4.C.1

The English Department will continue and moderately increase its current level of internationalization by hosting international exchange students and scholars as well as develop mutually beneficial relationships with international partners.

Baseline

The English department currently hosts 1-2 visiting scholars per year from partner universities in China and Germany. The department also hosts exchange students from countries including Ghana, China, Germany and Norway.

Progress

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
Our MA-Applied Linguistics and MA-Literature programs continue to provide wonderful opportunities for international students to enroll in ENG programs. In 2018 we were able to host students from China, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Italy. We have also developed two partnership agreements with Chinese universities, currently under review by PIC and the Provost's office, to allow students from those universities to matriculate into our MA programs. As part of those agreements, faculty exchange partnerships will be made available as well.

2017 Status
Minimal Progress
We hosted one visiting scholar from Xi'an International Studies University (XISU) in China in W and SS17. In F17 we planned to host a visiting scholar from Pädagogische Hochschule Schwäbisch Gmünd (PHSG); however, a family medical emergency precluded him from coming. We also hosted students from China, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia in our MA-AL and MA-Literature programs.

Objective 4.C.2

The English Department will encourage and support faculty and student collaboration through international connections.

Baseline

All English majors must take at least one class from Category C: International Literature.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
This year, 34 of our undergraduate students took part in faculty-led study abroad experiences. Our faculty continue to develop international connections as well; James Persoon is using his 19/20 sabbatical to teach at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, while Shinian Wu is working with faculty at Kingston University in the UK to potentially develop a joint MA program. In terms of coursework, we are now regularly offering two courses that had lagged: ENG 378: Contemporary Latin American Literature, which is crosslisted with SPA and LAS, and ENG 388: Literature of Immigration and Emigration, both of which broaden the opportunities available to our majors to take courses immersing themselves in international literature. Finally, a special topics course in F19 on Refugee Literature, taught by Pat Bloem, was paired with ENG 469: ESL Teaching Practicum, taught by Laura Vander Broek, to give students the opportunity to read literature written by and about refugees while also engaging in a tutoring practicum teaching English to local refugee populations. Students in our MA-Applied Linguistics program also had opportunities to tutor second-language learners in English, working with migrant and refugee populations in particular.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
37 students took part in English Department faculty-led study abroad programs in SS 18. Additionally, three faculty members in particular focus on developing international connections with universities in the UK; China; and Germany. In 2018, one of those faculty members (Shinian Wu) spent his sabbatical developing teaching partnerships with Kingston University in the UK. After meeting with representatives from Pädagogische Hochschule Schwäbisch Gmünd last April I have also begun working with our English Education faculty to develop a system (whether a formal exchange program or not) to encourage our Secondary Education track students to study at PHSG, and to develop a teaching exchange there for our faculty. Finally, as noted in Objective 4.C.1, we are working to implement partnership agreements with two new Chinese universities.

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