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Strategic Plan for Modern Languages & Literatures

Context For Planning

The plan that we came up targets three areas. First, in the area of teaching, given that teaching is the primary responsibility at GVSU, the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures intentionally focused on areas that will not only maintain good teaching, but rather take us to the next level of providing transformational learning opportunities for our students. To that end, there is a great deal of focus on this area in the next five years. In order to enhance our teaching and connections with students, we plan to do the following: 1. Increase the number of credit hours that are taught by regular tenure track faculty. Weve made some progress in this area, but still more than a majority of our credits are taught by non-tenure track faculty. We believe strongly that increasing the number of credits taught by regular faculty will have a positive impact on retention of students and the number of majors and minors. Our courses offer practical skills that students gain. These include critical and creating thinking skills as well as information literacy and research competency skills. But our goal is to provide further training for all faculty so these skills are articulated explicitly and so our students recognize that they are learning such skills. We hope that the ultimate goal is for our students to be proficient in speaking to these skills in their future career search. 2. Work with students on undergraduate research opportunities. 3. Provide advising that helps students advance through their degree, but also have an understanding of career options after graduation. 4. Explore online/hybrid models for language classes. 5. Develop, lead, and promote high impact experiences. 6. Provide professional development in second language teaching to our faculty and teachers in the West Michigan area. 7. Train faculty and staff in areas of inclusion. Second, in the area of Scholarship, the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures values active scholarship and creative activity. The department expects its tenure track faculty to be active scholars and to disseminate their work at conferences and through publications. To that end, the department will continue to provide opportunities for professional development to advance this objective. This includes, for example, continued financial support for faculty to present their work at national and international conference. It also includes providing opportunities for discussion and developing a community of scholars through our regular colloquia. And third, we tried to bring all of these areas above together in our focus on institutional reputation. The department will be deliberate about advancing the universitys image and reputation. This will be done through highlighting our programs, but also faculty, students, and alumni success on our website. Our goal is do so consistently on an annual basis.

Mission

MLL is a student-centered learning community that fosters greater understanding of diverse cultural, literary, and linguistic perspectives.

Vision

We prepare our students to be informed global citizens, lifelong learners, and productive professionals who are able to think critically, communicate effectively, and engage successfully in diverse environments.

Value Statement

As a department we value:

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

Within five years, two thirds of credit hours in MLL will be taught by tenure track faculty.

Baseline

Number of credits taught by tenure track faculty in 2015.

Progress

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
In 2018, 47.5% of credits offered in MLL were taught by tenure track faculty. This marks a substantial increase both from the previous year's 41.7% and from our 2015 baseline of 37.6% but still falls short of our goal of two-thirds (66%). Note that this figure represents the schedule hours offered by MLL rather than the number of student credit hours, which is lower (38.9%) due to the larger class size of our lower-level language courses, taught by a greater number of visitors, adjuncts, and affiliates than our smaller upper-level courses.

2017 Status
Minimal Progress
41.7% of credits offered in MLL were taught by tenure track faculty in 2017. While this marks an increase over our 2015 baseline of 37.6%, it is a decline from the the previous year's 43.9%. A tenure track hire was made in 2017, but as this was a replacement position it did not have a substantial effect on the numbers. A second tenure track line, a new position, was approved in 2017 and a search is currently underway.

Objective 1.A.2

All courses in Modern Languages and Literatures (MLL) explicitly target critical and/or creative thinking skills in their courses.

Baseline

Establish baseline in 2018.

Progress

2018 Status
Not Yet Initiated
While a large number of MLL courses explicitly target critical thinking skills, we have yet to establish clear criteria identifying, articulating, and measuring these skills. We had planned to define these criteria and establish a baseline during 2018 but did not do so, so we will instead be proceeding in 2019.

Objective 1.A.3

The majority of courses at the 202 level and above will incorporate information literacy skills and research competency.

Baseline

Establish baseline beginning of Winter 2018.

Progress

2018 Status
Not Yet Initiated
As with Objective 1.A.2. we have delayed the establishment of a baseline until 2019.

Objective 1.A.4

The majority of MLL tenure track faculty will mentor students in undergraduate research, including McNair, SSD, S3.

Baseline

Current number of faculty who mentor students.

Progress

2017 Status
Minimal Progress
Five faculty members received funding for Undergraduate Research Assistants in the Humanities (URA-H) from the Office for Undergraduate Research. This constitutes only 17.9% of tenure track faculty, far short of a majority. Additionally, one faculty member accompanied and co-presented with a student at a professional conference. A line item for support of undergraduate research was added to the department budget and faculty were encouraged to take advantage of that funding.

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
Invited Susan Mandoza, Director of Undergraduate Research, to meet with faculty and talk about opportunities to work with undergraduate students.

Objective 1.A.5

MLL will develop advising processes that help students gain awareness of career options and complete their studies in a timely fashion.

Baseline

Current advising practices

Progress

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
The planned training was conducted through visits from Career Services to the annual MLL teaching workshop in Fall 2016 and from the Student Success Collaborative to a department meeting in Winter of 2017. Student exit surveys were developed and sent out in April, 2017 and the results reported to faculty by the Assessment Coordinator in August, 2017.

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
Put together an advising plan and have already started implementing the steps.

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

Objective 1.C.1

MLL faculty will develop, lead, and promote high-impact learning experiences (e.g. study abroad, internships, community engagement, and extra-curricular opportunities).

Baseline

Current number of faculty participating in high-impact experiences

Progress

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
As in previous years, MLL faculty continue to engage students in numerous high-impact practices. In fact, the language environment that include both the classrooms and the communities of language learners engaged in collaborative work outside the classroom embodies the best of high-impact learning. But while we continue to highlight our engagement in study abroad, active skill-application, etc. we have yet to fully catalog and articulate the range of high-impact practices we use and our plan to discuss "how many high-impact experiences" are used is meaningless without that. Our goal for next year is to more fully identify the full range of these practices in order to inventory the ways in which we apply them both in and out of the classroom.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
While MLL continues to embrace high-impact learning experiences, including leading faculty-led study abroad programs and encouraging/advising study abroad through other venues, active engagement with language communities in the area, and extra-curricular activities including student groups and other community groups, there remain difficulties in articulating and charting our activities in a consistent way. In many ways, every language classroom embodies high-impact teaching practices, with extensive teacher-student and student-student engagement, active application of skills rather than passive learning, etc.

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

Objective 1.D.1

MLL supports the development of hybrid and online courses.

Baseline

No courses are offered currently.

Progress

2018 Status
Achieved
MLL faculty met to share resources, engaged in workshops, and collaborated in curriculum building centered on online/hybrid language learning as part of the Distance Learning Initiative grant throughout the first half of 2018. After the conclusion of the grant, faculty continued to participate in both the campus-wide online/hybrid Faculty Learning Community and a smaller language-learning specific FLC to continue the conversation. The results have been impressive with two classes taught in online/hybrid formats in the fall, two more fully online courses being taught in Winter 2019, and numerous courses redesigned to take advantage of online and hybrid learning strategies. We have already exceeded the goals and continue to expand our engagement with these courses far beyond our original expectations.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
A speaker was invited to run a workshop on online/hybrid learning in Fall 2017. By the end of 2017, 7 tenure track faculty members (25%) had completed the online/hybrid training provided by the FTLC, and most were active participants in the campus-wide online/hybrid faculty learning community. A faculty member was awarded a course release to develop an online/hybrid model for an upper level Spanish language class. MLL applied for and received a grant to form our own faculty learning community dedicated to exploring application of online/hybrid learning strategies in language learning. One course was taught in a hybrid format in Fall 2017 and another was put on the schedule for summer of 2018.

Objective 1.D.2

The majority of faculty in MLL will use LRC resources to engage students in innovative projects and pedagogies.

Baseline

current level of faculty engagement

Progress

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
In 2017, 31 out of 53 faculty (58.5%) used the LRC to have their students work on mini or major projects. While this constitutes a majority and thus fulfills our objectives, it is down from 61.4% last year. Because not all activities that use LRC resources are specifically identified by instructors as "projects" to LRC staff, better methods of tracking may be required to maintain an accurate count and ensure that all 100- and 200- level courses are using the LRC as required.

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
35 of 57 faculty used the LRC resources to engage students through mini and major projects. This marks a 61.4% of faculty, which is a good majority.

Strategic Priority Area 2: Further develop exceptional personnel.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 2.B.1

All new faculty and staff participate in training on inclusion and intercultural competence.

Baseline

Current opportunities

Progress

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
All newly hired staff have participated in training on inclusion, but while many of our faculty have done so as well we have not yet ensured that all faculty have done so. There is also still a need to define and find a way to measure intercultural competence.

2017 Status
Not Yet Initiated
No Baseline yet Established

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

Objective 2.C.1

MLL will to provide professional development opportunities for language teachers in West Michigan.

Baseline

Current workshop opportunities

Progress

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
In Winter of 2018 we hosted the the Michigan World Languages Association (MIWLA) meeting at Grand Valley in place of our regular outreach workshop, and provided financial support to enable area language instructors to attend. In the Fall we hosted our regular outreach workshop. In addition, we have made arrangements to host a satellite MIWLA conference on the Traverse City campus in 2019 in order to reach out to language teachers further north in Michigan, who may have difficulty attending the regular MIWLA.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
Organized and hosted outreach workshops for area K-12 language teachers in both winter and fall of 2017. Arrangements have been made to act as host institutions for the next Michigan World Languages Association meeting and to provide support for teachers who wish to attend.

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

Objective 2.D.1

MLL will provide and support development opportunities to assist faculty in staying current with best practices in L2 pedagogy.

Baseline

Current opportunities

Progress

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
In addition to our regular fall teaching workshop, MLL organized additional sessions focused on changes in available teaching resources, such as Padlet, PearDeck, and Panopto. MLL maintained its close connection with the Michigan World Languages Association by hosting its meeting in Winter and co-sponsoring the event in Fall. We continue to provide financial support for faculty at all levels to attend pedagogical conferences, including those at which they are merely a participant rather than a presenter. We maintain a close connection with the FTLC and participate/organize Faculty Learning Communities through them, including those related to language pedagogy and online/hybrid language learning.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
Hosted the usual teaching workshop and outside speaker on curriculum in the fall semester. Also in the fall, began a series of brown bag discussions to expand on the topics introduced in the workshops and to explore other issues related to language teaching. Acted as co-sponsor and encouraged attendance at the Hope College World Languages Conference and Michigan World Languages Association annual meeting, both in October. The department continues to offer financial support for attendance at conferences devoted to pedagogy, including those at which faculty are not specifically presenting.

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

MLL will continue to highlight its academic programs as well as student, faculty, and alumni success through its website and/or magazine.

Baseline

Current website and magazine.

Progress

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
For both our new secretary hire in the winter and our new student office workers, we made it a priority to find candidates with social media experience. The result has been a far more deliberate use of these channels, including the website, Facebook, and Twitter. New posts are made daily highlighting the achievements of our department faculty and students, promoting upcoming events, and generally advocating for the importance of language education. We have a far more dynamic, timely, and relevant method of outreach both to our own students and to those outside the department. We have also made progress in fostering in students a sense of identification with the department rather than just an individual language, through our Language Festival, encouraging the use of the Language Resource Center as a communal language gathering space, etc.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
While the MLL magazine has been discontinued, the website remains regularly updated and actively maintained. In addition, an office worker has been tasked with maintaining an MLL presence on social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

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

Objective 4.D.1

Tenure track faculty in MLL will disseminate their scholarship through conference presentations, publications, etc.

Baseline

Current levels of research activity.

Progress

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
In 2018, MLL faculty produced one scholarly book, thirteen refereed journal articles, five chapters in academic books, six book reviews, four encyclopedia entries, and 37 scholarly presentations. In addition, MLL faculty received six external grants for scholarly work over the course of the year.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
In 2017, MLL faculty produced three scholarly books, eight refereed journal articles, nine chapters in academic books, five book reviews, one encyclopedia entry, and 53 scholarly presentations. MLL continues to support scholarship and dissemination through both department funding and support in seeking outside funding sources.

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