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Strategic Plan for History

Context For Planning

The Department of History was founded in the 1960s along with Grand Valley itself. The Department offers undergraduate major programs in History, Secondary History Education, Secondary and Elementary Group Social Studies, a minor in the History of Science and is an active founding member of the minor in Archaeology. In addition, History faculty teach a significant number of courses in the College of Education, the Honors College, the Comprehensive Science & Arts for Teaching program, Area Studies, Global Studies, International Relations, and Liberal Studies. The Department of History also contributes significantly to the General Education and Supplemental Writing Skills programs at all levels. Furthermore, History faculty lead significant regional centers, such as the Veteran's History Project and the Michigan Council for History Education, and are board members of the Kutsche Office of Local History and other important local and regional organizations.  Our strategic plan for 2016-2021 aims to better support our students and faculty, and to enhance and build upon our existing programs.

Mission

The Department of History advances public knowledge and understanding of the past as it informs the present and future. We offer a multidisciplinary approach that combines our global cultural heritage with long-neglected voices, uses a range of tools and perspectives, and provides the knowledge and skills necessary for informed decision making.

Vision

We provide a student-centered program that is committed to excellent teaching, scholarship, and service. Through our commitment to the liberal arts tradition, we help students develop skills of inquiry, reflection, critical analysis, dialogue, and expression. We are dedicated to inspiring all our students - be they our History and Group Social Studies majors or students we encounter in our general education courses - to pursue excellence in their chosen professions and serve the broader local, regional, national, and international communities in which they live. As a community of scholars, we help to enlarge the state of knowledge in our field through our active engagement in intellectual and creative pursuits. We recognize that active scholarship enriches our teaching and enables to serve students, the university, and the broader community. We bring the historians perspective to courses in the University Honors College and other interdisciplinary programs; we participate actively in preparing teachers of History and Social Studies as well as preparing our majors for further study and careers in a variety of fields. We promote faculty and student participation in national and international inquiry and discourse. We are dedicated to serving the broader West Michigan community through our engagement in local and regional history forums.

Value Statement

We value: 1. Critical historical inquiry that recognizes complexity, multiple explanations of change, and the active role of humans in shaping their histories and their understanding of the past. 2. Diverse, innovative, and effective pedagogical strategies that enable students to gain historical knowledge and analytical skills. 3. A diverse and respectful learning community comprised of faculty, students and staff. 4. Modeling outstanding teaching as we prepare future educators. 5. Teaching history through conversations that are best conducted in small classes with an open-minded, respectful, and questioning spirit. 6. The liberal arts tradition, which encourages open-ended and open-minded inquiry, respectful dialogue, and interdisciplinary research. 7. General Education and embrace an active and vigorous role in the universitys General Education program. 8. Interdisciplinary and collaborative scholarship and teaching. 9. Faculty scholarship, which informs excellent teaching and involve students when possible. 10. Student historical researchin class, in self-directed research projects, and in collaboration with faculty. 11. Faculty and student participation in international and cross-cultural study. 12. Collaboration with the broader community, both academic and non-academic.

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

Increase HST and SST student internships (HST 490 and non-credit) by 10%.

Baseline

Current number of student internships (HST 490 and non-credit).

Progress

2018 Status
Achieved
Our numbers of students participating in internship opportunities continues to be strong. Only about 8 enrolled in the internship course (HST 490), but another 14 were engaged in internships not for credit.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
Our numbers of students engaged in internships was the same compared with 2016.

Objective 1.A.2

Support Faculty/Student Collaborative Research

Baseline

Determine current number of students engaged in collaborative research.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
We identified 2 faculty/student collaborations ongoing in 2019.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
We identified 1 faculty/student collaboration ongoing in 2018.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 1.B.1

Develop program of guest lecturers augmenting the current demographics and addressing deficiencies in faculty diversity. College will match up to $3000 starting in 2016, for potential allocation of $6000.

Baseline

Program of guest lecturers addressing deficiencies in faculty diversity

Progress

2017 Status
Achieved
During 2016-2017, the History department hosted a series of three guest lecturers who augmented the current demographics and addressed deficiencies in faculty diversity.

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
The Outreach Committee has arranged for the first two guest lecturers to come in Winter 2017. The remaining guest lecturers will be arranged later this semester and in Fall 2017 to come in Fall 2017 and Winter 2018.

Objective 1.B.2

Create annual HST/SST panel/lecture/workshop featuring HST/SST alumni

Baseline

Program not yet created

Progress

2018 Status
Achieved
A second workshop was held in Winter 2018 with a large audience of undergrads. The workshop is now a regularly established department event.

2017 Status
Achieved
A workshop of HST/SST alumni was held in 2017, but the student attendance. Another workshop is planned for 2018 in conjunction with our HST 200: Writing History course to increase attendance.

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

Objective 1.C.1

Create history and social studies teaching institute

Baseline

No current institute

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
Work has continued on the Institute with funding streams for launching it now in place.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
Work continues on the Institute.

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

Objective 1.E.1

Revise HST mission and vision statement to align with commitments to outstanding undergraduate education and identify what students learn by completing a HST major or minor or SST major

Baseline

Current Mission/Vision/Values statement

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
The Executive Committee of the History Department reviewed the mission and vision statements and determined that they align with our commitments to outstanding undergraduate education.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
The Department plans to review the mission and vision statements to see if changes are needed.

Objective 1.E.2

Increase number of HST and SST majors by 10%.

Baseline

Current number of HST and SST majors

Progress

2019 Status
Minimal Progress
Number of majors in HST (148) and SST (225) dropped from last year. Total is 373 majors. Most of the loss was in SST majors.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
Number of majors in HST (152) and SST (253) have changed little since 2017. Total is 412 majors.

Strategic Priority Area 2: Further develop exceptional personnel.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 2.B.1

Double the number of inclusion advocates in department.

Baseline

Current number of inclusion advocates

Progress

2018 Status
Achieved
One more Inclusion Advocate added in History.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
We gained one inclusion advocate in 2017 with another colleague slated to become one in 2018.

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

Objective 2.C.1

Create annual HST and SST career planning workshop

Baseline

No current program

Progress

2017 Status
Achieved
A workshop of HST/SST alumni was held in 2017, but the student attendance. Another workshop is planned for 2018 in conjunction with our HST 200: Writing History course to increase attendance.

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
The Outreach committee did preliminary planning for the first in a series of these workshops in 2017.

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

Objective 2.D.1

Increase innovative use of new technologies by HST faculty in classrooms

Baseline

Determine current faculty use of different types of digital technologies (computers, power point, mapping tools, blackboard tools, text mining, data visualization curation platforms, citation management, audio, video, blogs, etc.) in the classroom.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
We continue to see more faculty teach online and hybrid courses, to adopt more high impact practices, and to use active learning in their classrooms.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
Initial findings indicate that faculty use a broad range of technologies in their classrooms.

Objective 2.D.2

Increase faculty training and research in digital humanities

Baseline

Determine percentage of faculty using digital technologies in classroom (see 2.D.1) and currently trained and/or doing research in the digital humanities.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
Our Public History faculty continue to look for ways to expand our engagement in this area.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
One faculty went to Research Institutes in digital humanities this year. Our new Public History faculty continues to look for ways to expand our engagement in this area.

Objective 2.D.3

Double number of faculty trained to teach online courses.

Baseline

Current number of faculty trained to teach online classes.

Progress

2018 Status
Achieved
Three more faculty went through training to teach online.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
In 2017 we had another four faculty certified to teach online with at least another two faculty planning to take the training in 2018.

Objective 2.D.4

Revise teaching and service standards for tenure and promotion to recognize and reward excellence in digital humanities and innovative instruction

Baseline

Current tenure and promotion language on use of digital technologies.

Progress

2018 Status
Achieved
Tenure and Promotion standards passed by the department have only slowly moved through governance. This process seems now close to an end.

2017 Status
Achieved
in 2017 we revised our tenure and promotion standards and submitted them to governance. The new standards recognize excellence in digital humanities and innovative instruction.

Objective 2.D.5

Create ways to support and promote innovative faculty scholarship

Baseline

Determine current ways of supporting innovative faculty scholarship

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
More faculty are engaged with using technology in their classes and in their research. One faculty member has developed a VR component for his classes, for example.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
More faculty are engaged with using technology in their classes and in their research. One faculty member is developing a VR component for his classes, for example.

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

Revise SST Curriculum to make it more prescriptive, to increase student knowledge of global history, and increase student ability to teach global history.

Baseline

Current GPST major for secondary and elementary

Progress

2017 Status
Achieved
New Social Studies curriculum passed through governance in 2017 and became effective in Fall 2017.

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
The revised SST curriculum is currently under review by UCC. We hope that approval will be given by the end of Winter 2017.

Objective 3.A.2

Revise HST curriculum, including review of upper-level electives and their frequency of rotation, course offerings, and possible reduction of class sizes to improve research and writing experiences

Baseline

Current HST major and minor

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
We continue to cut upper-division courses with regular low enrollments. We continue to review course rotation and offerings. More lower-division and upper-division offerings added to General Education.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
A number of upper-division courses with regular low enrollments were cut. We continue to review course rotation and offerings. More lower-division and upper-division offerings added to General Education.

Objective 3.A.3

Increase number of HST and SST students who study abroad by 10%.

Baseline

Current number of students who study abroad

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
History faculty continue to actively encourage students to study abroad. Two History faculty led study abroad courses in 2019 (Ghana and Namibia), and we had about the same number of students study abroad as last year.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
History faculty continue to actively encourage students to study abroad. Two History faculty led study abroad courses in 2018, and we had about the same number of students study abroad as last year.

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

Increase HST/SST student participation in undergraduate research conferences and student publications by 10%.

Baseline

Current number of HST/SST students participating in undergraduate research conferences (including Student Scholarship Day, Great Lakes History Conference, Phi Alpha Theta conferences, S3 conferences, etc.) and current number of student publications

Progress

2018 Status
Achieved
in 2018 we had multiple students presenting at undergraduate research conferences, participating in SSD, and submitting their research to student publications. In 2015, no students participated in undergraduate research conferences outside GVSU.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
The Student Relations Committee continues to gather information on HST/SST student participation in undergraduate research conferences and student publications. In 2015, no students participated in undergraduate research conferences outside GVSU. However, in 2016 we had 2 students attend such conferences and in 2017 we had 5. In addition, we had 8 students in 2015, 36 students (one class was required to do so as part of a required project), and 7 students present projects at the Great Lakes History Conference at GVSU.

Objective 4.A.2

Study departmental awards given to undergraduate majors and consider expanding them, including possibility of HST and SST honors for graduating seniors meeting set criteria.

Baseline

Current awards offered

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
Student Relations has made great strides in making the evaluation of students for awards more rigorous and fair.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
Student Relations has made great strides in making the evaluation of students for awards more rigorous and fair.

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

Objective 4.C.1

Create annual HST and SST alumni newsletter

Baseline

No current alumni newsletter.

Progress

2019 Status
Achieved
In 2019 the Outreach Committee put out another alumni newsletter and plans are underway for another issue in 2020. This is now an established job for the committee.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
The Outreach Committee disseminated a first issue of a newsletter to the alumni in 2018.

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

Objective 4.E.1

Revise HST department website to clearly articulate career possibilities and transferrable skills gained with HST and SST major to prospective students, highlight available jobs, provide links to career and job information in HST and SST fields, and publicize alumni achievements and careers, using video as well as images, text, and social media

Baseline

Current HST website

Progress

2016 Status
Achieved
The Outreach Committee has completed its task of updating the department web site in Fall 2016. Colleagues were trained in CMS 4 and have thoroughly revamped the department web site and added a significant amount of content that clearly articulates career possibilities and transferrable skills gained with HST and SST major to prospective students, highlights available jobs, provides links to career and job information in HST and SST fields, and publicizes alumni achievements and careers, using video as well as images, text, and social media.

Objective 4.E.2

Review Great Lakes History Conference and its role as a scholarly, teaching, and undergraduate research conference

Baseline

Current GLHC conference (attendance, participation, panels)

Progress

2017 Status
Achieved
The GLHC in 2017 reflected a revision based on the recommendations of the GLHC Committee and the History faculty. The consensus was that the conference was a success and model going forward.

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
The Great Lakes History Committee met and extensively discussed the future of the Conference. It decided on moving forward with workshop-based model for the conference for 2017. This approach was discussed in a faculty meeting and endorsed by a majority of the History faculty.

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