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Strategic Plan for Psychology

Context For Planning

GVSU's department of psychology offers a popular psychology major and a growing behavioral neuroscience major. We also teach courses that are taken by many students in other programs. We have a masters program in school psychology and a graduate certification program in applied behavior analysis. Our faculty members contribute substantially to advancing our discipline through research publications and conference presentations, often in collaboration with undergraduate students.

Mission

GVSUs Psychology Department seeks to educate students in the broad field of psychological science through teaching, research, and service. Students learn to engage with the empirical findings, theoretical perspectives, research methods, and practical applications of psychological science. Through these processes we seek to engender critical thought, informed judgment, workforce preparation, and life-long learning.

Vision

The psychology department seeks to achieve a balance among its teaching, research, and service activities that advances psychological science while preparing our students to be responsible citizens, lifelong learners, and to have productive careers. We aspire to develop and maintain an intellectually rich department culture that fosters sustained inquiry, multicultural perspectives, critical thinking, impassioned discourse, creative discovery, ethical action, clear communication, extensive collaboration, high achievement, and thoughtful reflection. We see ourselves as key contributors to liberal education, and we see psychological science as a discipline that embodies the values of liberal education.

Value Statement

The Psychology Department faculty members represent a diverse and eclectic set of specialized interests within the discipline of psychology. Across our faculty members, we seek to represent the discipline of psychology broadly. People within the department work at different levels of analysis, with different methodologies, and from different theoretical perspectives. We have high expectations for both faculty and students. In teaching, research, and service we value rigorous scientific and ethical reasoning, academic freedom, integrity, collaboration, and collegiality.

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 psychology department will evaluate our survey for assessing academic advising, and revise the survey as needed.

Baseline

Current baseline is that the psychology department has a student survey to assess the quality of academic advising.

Progress

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
The advising survey was not updated in 2017.

Objective 1.A.2

Psychology majors are afforded the opportunity to engage in research, workplace experience, or other professional development activities.

Baseline

Current levels of participation in professional development activities.

Progress

2017 Status
Minimal Progress
The faculty survey that will determine the number of students engaged in independent research was not conducted in 2017. It will be conducted in 2018. With respect to PSY 400 and 492, all majors take these courses and participate in the associated research activities.

Objective 1.A.3

We will conduct an analysis of prerequisite courses to see how student performance in prerequisites predicts performance in courses that follow prerequisites. We will use these data to empirically guide decisions about course prerequisites. One type of question we will address is how students do in a particular class if they received a prerequisite grade below a particular level, such as a C.

Baseline

Prerequisite decisions are currently made by using the best judgment of faculty members. We have gathered a set of data on student grades over several years, as well as other performance measures such as high school GPA, and ACT scores. We also have ETS Major Field Test in Psychology data for students from one year. We are about to begin analyses.

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
The analysis has proved to be complex because of the formatting of the data set we are working and the very large size of it (over 15,000 students). A committee of three people is working on the data formatting and expects to begin analyses soon.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
We did extensive analyses of prerequisite data in 2017. The results show that the better students do in prerequisite classes, the better they tend to do in later classes, even after accounting for other student factors. These analyses suggest students get value from prerequisite courses.

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

Objective 1.E.1

Funds will be maintained for as many students as possible to travel to academic conferences to present research.

Baseline

Current amount of money allocated to student conference travel.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
Money allocated for student travel to conferences was increased in 2016 compared to 2015.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
Money for student travel was decreased in 2017 compared to 2016. This decrease may have been due to decreased demand, however.

Strategic Priority Area 2: Further develop exceptional personnel.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 2.B.1

The psychology department will review and evaluate our existing diversity plan for faculty and staff hiring whenever we have a new position available. We will revise the plan as needed.

Baseline

The psychology department currently has a diversity plan for faculty and staff hiring.

Progress

2017 Status
Achieved
In 2017 we did not engage in an outside search for any staff positions. As a result, the diversity plan did not need to be evaluated.

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

Objective 2.D.1

Increase laboratory support for faculty and student research in terms of space, resources, and personnel.

Baseline

Current laboratory space, resources, and personnel.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
Laboratory personnel was maintained with the laboratory coordinator working 30 hours per week. Laboratory space was increased with the addition of animal research space in Kindschi Hall. We are working to make that space more functional. Laboratory funding levels for 2016 were maintained from 2015.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
Lab space and personnel hours were the same in 2017 as the 2016 levels. Funding for lab equipment was increased in 2017 compared to 2015 and 2016.

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

Objective 2.E.1

Maintain funding opportunities for faculty members to travel to academic conferences or for other professional development opportunities.

Baseline

Current level of financial support for faculty travel for academic travel.

Progress

2016 Status
Achieved
There was a decrease in department spending on faculty travel in 2016 compared to 2016. This decrease was due to slightly less demand, however. No faculty member was denied funding for travel to a conference in 2016. We view this difference as within the range of normal year to year variation.

2017 Status
Achieved
There was an increase in the 2017 amount spent on faculty travel compared to 2016. The 2017 figure is in line with previous years.

Objective 2.E.2

We will implement a transition plan for a new department chair to take over in 2019.

Baseline

A tentative plan has been approved by the department.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
We have voted in a transition plan, and it is in place. We are collecting data for the department self study, which will be useful in helping the new department chair transition into that position.

2017 Status
Achieved
The transition plan is being implemented in the 2017-2018 academic year. The state of the department meeting was held, and nominations for a new department chair were collected.

Objective 2.E.3

Psychology staff members will maintain current levels of engagement in professional development opportunities available at GVSU.

Baseline

Current frequency of staff participation in professional development.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
In 2016, staff members in the psychology department participated in a total of 21 professional development activities. We will use this number as a baseline to keep track of whether we maintain staff professional development in future years.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
In 2017, the number of staff professional training sessions attended was 8.

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

Ensure that psychology course availability is such that students can fulfill major requirements in a timely manner.

Baseline

Current number of courses that close at capacity. The number of students who request closed class permits that are not granted.

Progress

2017 Status
Minimal Progress
Courses closed at capacity: In Winter, 69 out of 139. In Spring/Summer, 6 out of 32. In Fall, 68 out of 137. In the Spring/Summer session, 13 students requested closed class permits and were denied. In Fall, 282 were denied closed class permits. We do not have records of closed class permits denied in Winter, 2017.

Objective 3.A.2

We will seek accreditation for the school psychology masters program from the National Association of School Psychologists. The earliest that this accreditation can be pursued is 2018.

Baseline

The school psychology masters program is currently not NASP accredited because our program is new, and the NASP accreditation process requires data from outcomes will be complete only after our program has existed longer.

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

Objective 3.D.1

Technology is available to faculty members who wish to incorporate it into their courses. Examples are computers for class demonstrations, projects, or assessments, and availability of educational software.

Baseline

Current level of technology availability to psychology instructors for courses.

Progress

2017 Status
Not Yet Initiated
In a future year we will survey department faculty about teaching and technology needs, but we did not do this in 2016-2017.

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

Objective 3.E.1

We will complete a department self study in the 2016-2017 academic year that is useful to our department.

Baseline

We have a previous self study that will serve as our baseline.

Progress

2016 Status
Minimal Progress
The dates for self study submission have changed, so this goal was not specifically focused on in 2016. Nevertheless, we completed tasks that will be relevant to the self study when it comes up in 2020. Two of these tasks were the creation of the strategic plan and the unit head transition plan.

2017 Status
Minimal Progress
Due to a change in scheduling, we did not conduct a department self study in 2017.

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

Faculty members will maintain current level of engagement with professional societies and community organizations. Involvement includes regular membership and participation as well as leadership positions.

Baseline

Current levels of faculty participation and leadership in professional societies and community organizations.

Progress

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
In 2017 psychology department members had a total of 106 memberships in professional societies, with a total of 11 leadership positions.

Objective 4.C.2

Faculty members will maintain current level of annual publications of manuscripts in peer reviewed journals and professional books. To the extent possible, given a changing funding environment, maintain the current level of external grants awarded to faculty members.

Baseline

Current number of annual publications per faculty member.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
In 2015 faculty members published a combined total of 42 articles. In 2016 faculty members published a total of 38 articles with 14 different students as co-authors.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
Faculty members published a total of 46 papers in 2017. Ten students were co-authors on these publications.

Objective 4.C.3

Maintain the number of annual faculty presentations of research at professional conferences.

Baseline

Current number of annual faculty presentations of research at professional conferences.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
In 2015 a total of 87 faculty presentations were given at regional, national, and international conferences. In 2016 a total of 64 faculty presentations were given with a total of 37 different students as co-authors.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
In 2017 psychology faculty members gave a total of 76 conference presentations. 47 students were co-authors on these presentations.

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