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Strategic Plan for Philosophy

Context For Planning

The philosophy department plays a vital role in fulfilling Grand Valley's commitment to liberal education. The department offers a variety of courses within the general education curriculum as well as comprehensive major and minor programs of study. Our strategic plan for 2016-21 is aimed at engaging students at all levels, developing an exceptional faculty, and enhancing the image and reputation of the department, college, and university.

Mission

The philosophy department seeks to enrich and enliven the private, professional, and public lives of students and the community through the study of diverse philosophical methods and their use in critical inquiry concerning the ultimate questions of reality, knowledge, and value.

Vision

The Philosophy Department will set a standard of excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service to the University and the community. We will develop students abilities to question and wonder as well as their skills in analytical critical thinking, critical judgment, and communication. We will foster a diverse community of philosophical inquiry through the study of philosophy and its methods in different historical periods and different philosophical traditions.

Value Statement

We value excellent, effective, and engaged teaching aimed at developing rigorous analytical thinking, strong communication skills, and an attitude of openness and objectivity. We value excellence in scholarly activity, public discourse, and community service. We value administrative service to the department, the college, and the university.

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.3

Increase support of the upper division general education requirements by increasing Issues course offerings by 40%.

Baseline

2015/16 upper division course sections offered that contribute to the general education program (5 Issues courses).

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
Enrollment in Philosopy Issues courses stayed fairly steady. It was 18 sections and enrollment of 528 for 2019/20. This represents a 32% increase over our base year.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
Issues section total (17) and enrollment (512) remained the same as last year. Expansion has held, but no new progress was made.

Objective 1.A.4

Increase co-curricular opportunities for students in philosophy.

Baseline

2015/16 level of activity: Philosophy colloquium and Philosophy club, intermittent additional activities.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
We increased our efforts to create career planning events, brought back a philosophy movie night and maintained the level of club activity, essay contest, and undergraduate conference. The Ethics bowl team was successful last year and has even more interest this year. We also began to create colloquium panel events on topics of interest to students and created a few student internships.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
We maintained the Philosophy club and colloquium series and added an Ethics Bowl team.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 1.B.1

Increase the number and relative percentage of women philosophy majors and minors by 20%.

Baseline

2015/16 Philosophy minor and major counts for women (end of year): Majors 11, 21%, Minors 28, 32%.

Progress

2019 Status
Achieved
The number of female majors and minors increased as did the percentage of majors and minors who are female. 2019 16 female majors (2016=11) a 45% increase, 2019 34 female minors (2016=24) a 39% increase, 2019 % of majors that are female =32% (2016=21%), 2019 percentage of minors that are female=39% (2016=31%)

2018 Status
Achieved
The number and percentage of female phil majors and minors increased again.

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

Objective 1.D.1

Assess, review, and revise current course content and course offerings

Baseline

Current course offerings.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
After a very long process our 3 new minors, Ethics Culture and Society, STEM Ethics, and Healthcare Ethics have finally been approved. This is a major development. Also, we had an external consultant visit and report, and we have created a department curriculum committee that is now investigating new curricular ideas based on the results of an external consultant report . The curriculum committee has already created some proposals for the department. We also increased our offerings of the Ethics of Health class.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
We added sections of our new Ethics of Health -Phi 202, completed changes to many course titles and descriptions and created 3 new ethics minors

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

Objective 1.E.1

Increase number of Philosophy majors by 20%.

Baseline

52 majors at end of Winter 2016

Progress

2019 Status
Minimal Progress
We held steady with 50 majors. No progress toward an increase.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
No progress. There was some decline but it has rebounded.

Objective 1.E.2

Increase number of Philosophy minors by 20%.

Baseline

Level at end of Winter 2016 term: 85 minors.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
We had a slight fall in our minors but still hover right around 100 with 99. This still puts us well on track to meet our goal soon, as we have made 16.5% increase from our base year.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
We had increases in minors in Fall and winter over the previous year. We have not yet reached the target.

Objective 1.E.3

Increase total enrollment in upper division philosophy courses by 10%.

Baseline

2015/2016 level: total enrollment at 300 and 400 level (both terms combined) = 575

Progress

2019 Status
Achieved
We had a decline in upper division enrollment from last year, but enrollment still remains above our target increase. (707 for W 2020. The target was a 10% increase and we have now sustained a 23% increase even with the decline in enrollment this year.)

2018 Status
Achieved
We made great gains in upper division enrollment, surpassing our target.

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

Hire tenure track faculty to permit optimal class sizes, promote program stability, and reduce sections by non-TT faculty.

Baseline

2015/16 faculty composition and class size, and percentage of sections taught by non-TT staff. Currently we have 14 TT (2 of which are on reduced time contracts), 6 visiting professors, and 1 Affiliate.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
We hired a new TT faculty member and reduced the number of visitors by one. Unfortunately we also had 2 tenured members retire.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
We made on TT hire and began search for another

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

Objective 2.E.1

Encourage and support nationally and internationally recognized faculty scholarship through publication and presentation.

Baseline

Average yearly amount of publications and presentations for faculty during period 2010-15

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
Publications were strong at 25. However presentations were down significantly.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
presentations were steady and publications were up from the previous year.

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

Ensure adequate advising of philosophy majors and minors

Baseline

Current level of advising contact

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
We see good results in our advising questionnaires. We also have increased contacts with the advising center and the career center. We have developed some career training events and contacts for Phi majors and minors and have increased information sessions for faculty advisors to address areas where faculty identify a need for more information.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
We continued survey/questionnaires, trained faculty on new curriculum changes, and began developing more assistance for graduating philosophy majors

Strategic Priority Area 4: Enhance the institution's image and reputation.

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

Objective 4.C.1

Cultivate liaisons with the local, regional, and and national and international scholarly communities, including holding office in professional organizations, and supporting and hosting conferences for students and faculty.

Baseline

2015/16 faculty involvement in organizations and rate of conference sponsorship and hosting for period 2010-2015. We have hosted 5 faculty conferences in the past 5 years and have sponsored one student conference annually.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
We hosted an international conference (Philosophy Born of Struggle Conference). We also organize a West Michigan Health Care Ethics conference and continue to jointly host a student philosophy conference with Calvin U. Many members maintain officer roles in professional organizations as well. The most important development has been the increased activity in the health care community -- we developed relationships with the Van Andel Institute, Mercy Health, the Barry Eaton Public Health Department and maintained our relationship with Spectrum Health.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
While we did not host a professional conference this year, we maintained roles in professional organizations and are working on bringing another conference to GVSU next year.

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

Objective 4.E.1

Update and enhance the philosophy department website

Baseline

current website status

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
We have appointed a new director for our website and facilitated training for our support staff who work on the website. We have seen marked improvements. The website now has regular updates and provides current information about department co-curricular events and about faculty and alumni current achievements.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
No substantive progress

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