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Strategic Plan for Meijer Honors College

Context For Planning

The Frederik Meijer Honors College is an alternative general education program for students who desire to challenge themselves academically. The focus of the college is to bridge the gaps between traditional academic disciplines and allow students a chance to see the impact each discipline has on the others. To fulfill this goal, many of our classes are interdisciplinary and team-taught while utilizing smaller class sizes to elicit greater discussion. We understand that sometimes the moments of greatest learning are unplanned. These smaller classes, coupled with the fact that many professors hold office hours nearby, foster a deeper personal connection between students and professors. Another feature of our curriculum is an active schedule of co-curricular activities, both on campus and off. The Frederik Meijer Honors College also includes an integrated living and learning environment promoting intellectual curiosity and an enthusiasm for learning that will live on well beyond our students' undergraduate years. The Glenn A. Niemeyer Learning and Living Center offers students the opportunity to take classes in the same building in which they live. The Honors Office, Honors Director, and many professors' offices are located in the Niemeyer Learning and Living Center, giving students quick and easy access to all resources available. There are Honors housing options on the north side of campus as well in the Holton-Hooker Learning & Living Center, which offers a vibrant Honors freshman community with spacious common areas, meeting space for staff and students, and proximity to many campus facilities, including the Commons, the Marketplace, the Kindschi Hall of Science, and the Fieldhouse. Longtime Honors College director Dr. Jeff Chamberlain left the university in summer 2017, so the Honors College is now in a transition period between permanent directors. During Dr. Chamberlain's tenure, the College grew by some 83% from from 970 students to the current 1,767. It also was granted a number of tenure lines, and by 2015 the College had grown to having 12 tenured or tenure-track faculty. It currently has 10, and like most other Honors Colleges, it also draws many participating faculty from units across campus. In early 2015, the full-time faculty of the Honors College were granted unit status, so the College now has both a unit head (department chair) and an interim director. Currently, the Honors College is focusing on maintaining the highly successful recruitment and retention efforts established by Dr. Chamberlain while also working to establish a permanent governance structure that accounts for both the unique structural arrangement of the faculty and the university-wide reach of the Honors curriculum.

Mission

The Mission of the Meijer Honors College is to inspire and empower motivated students to be intellectually curious lifelong learners to serve as capable leaders who will think broadly and critically as they engage in the issues in their community and the world.

Vision

The Meijer Honors College will be one of the top choices for motivated and high achieving students in the region and nationally, and will be known for personal attention to students, a vibrant and diverse scholarly community, team-taught interdisciplinary courses with small sections, more substantial and individual preparation and opportunities for student scholarship and its dissemination , and other significant high-impact practices such as service-learning, community-based learning, diversity/global learning, etc.

Value Statement

*A collegial and collaborative student-centered environment where we support each other and work together, both within the college and across campus, in an open and transparent manner.
*Cultural diversity and diversity of voices as a foundational principle in our curriculum, programming, and practices.
*Community engagement through educational initiatives and experiential learning.
*Interdisciplinary research and teaching that challenges and expands perspectives.
*Risk-taking and innovation that encourages alternative approaches to scholarship, teaching, and learning.
*Sustainability in all that we do.

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

Develop and pilot an annual Honors colloquium, conference, or showcase. This could be focused around the current freshman paper competition and/or something including upper-classmen.

Baseline

Zero.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
Our curriculum revision proposal features a "problem-based learning" course requirement, and those courses will include public collaborative final presentations of student work. The Honors Curriculum and Development Committee (HCDC) is developing plans for a "PBL showcase" to begin when the first courses are offered next year.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
We have now set our sights on a "Lightning Lecture" series that will allow Honors faculty from across the university to present their research (and perhaps personal) interests in relatively informal and fast-moving presentations. The idea is to provide some food and drink in the Multipurpose Room and schedule 3 or 4 five-minute lectures, followed by round-robin small-group discussions with each of the presenters. Our hope is to begin these by Fall 2019, perhaps even Winter 2019.

Objective 1.A.2

Develop at least one Honors co-curricular program a year coordinated by faculty who teach in sequences and other courses.

Baseline

One per semester--the Meijer Endowed Lecture.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
Our HNR 201 Colloquium course has been approved by faculty governance.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
Karen Zivi has taken over this project. Our curriculum revision plan includes a "colloquium" course that will require students to attend 5 or 6 campus lectures, performances, or exhibits--so we'll be using that to both sponsor our own events and target existing campus events that our students can attend. Again, our aim is for a Fall 2020 implementation.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 1.B.1

The Honors College will increase the diversity of its student body so that by 2021 it approximates the university's composition. It will do this by: 1) reaching out intently to potential FTIACs and internal and external transfers, and 2) developing community partnerships which can provide more effective pipelines

Baseline

FTIACs entering Honors FY 2014-15 were distributed as follows: Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.1% Native American/Alaskan: 0% African American: .2% Hispanic/Latino: 1.5% Multiethnic: 2% White: 93.5% FTIACs entering the university Fall 2015 were distributed as follows: Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.2% Native American/Alaskan: .14% African American: 5% Hispanic/Latino: 4.5% Multiethnic: 4% White: 83%

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
Our diversity numbers continue to improve. In Winter 2020, we are up to 13% students of color--still too low, but again, better than in the past. Our previous efforts continue, and we have also integrated requirements into the proposed curriculum revision designed to raise awareness of "inclusion" and "internationalization" in all of our first-year sequences and junior-level seminars. We hope this both improves the quality of education of our majority students and makes students of color more welcome in our program.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
We explored a relationship with the Challenge Scholars based on their needs and found that we were not able to offer them the kind of consistency required. However, a relationship was developed and the door is open for future conversations if an opportunity develops. Our relationship with KCTC continues, with another campus visit in October. Several students from the program have applied to Honors.

Objective 1.B.2

The Honors College will pursue transfer articulation agreements with our primary feeder institutions: Grand Rapids Community College, Muskegon Community College, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Montcalm Community College, and Oakland Community College.

Baseline

No Honors articulation agreements currently exist.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
Kelly McDonell and Roger Gilles traveled to Lansing Community College in December 2019 and met with representatives of its Honors program. The result as an informal agreement to increase awareness within LCC of the GVSU Honors College and to develop an articulation agreement in 2020. We now have plans to host the LCC reps here in March or April 2020.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
In March and October 2018, we hosted students from three community colleges at Laker Experience Days, with a lunch here in Niemeyer. We also met with a dean and staff members from GRCC in late 2018 and set up a luncheon for early 2019. We are also working with Shawn Jenkins, transfer specialist at GVSU, to coordinate meetings with staff and students at Muskegon CC and the early college program on our Holland campus. We are also in touch with the Phi Theta Kappa folks at MCC.

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

Objective 1.C.1

The Honors College will increase service-learning opportunities for students by 20%.

Baseline

In 2016-17, approximately 150 students engaged in service learning, either through Honors courses or participation in ANCHOR (student organization), the Honors Ambassador Program, Laker Experience Days, or an Honors conference (NCHC or MEHA).

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
HNR 200 Campus/Community Engagement has been approved as part of our revised curriculum. All students will complete this requirement.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
We have included a three-credit "campus and community engagement" requirement in our curriculum revision proposal to ensure that all Honors students get involved on campus and/or in the local or global community during their time at Grand Valley.

Objective 1.C.2

The Honors College will develop at least two more key community partnerships by 2021.

Baseline

We currently have community partnerships with KCTC's Health Sciences Academy and the Porter Hills senior living center.

Progress

2019 Status
Not Yet Initiated
We're waiting for the revised curriculum to kick in.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
In 2018 we explored a relationship with the Challenge Scholars Program in Grand Rapids and found that we were not able to offer them the kind of consistency that their students need. However, a relationship was developed and the door is open for future conversations if an opportunity develops with the new curriculum.

Objective 1.C.3

The Honors College will develop at least one more faculty-led international study abroad program.

Baseline

We currently have one ongoing faculty-led study abroad (to Ghana).

Progress

2019 Status
Achieved
In Spring 2020, Professor Jeremiah Cataldo will lead an inaugural study abroad program to Israel and Jordan to study the geographic and historical contexts of the Bible. In addition, we have (at least temporarily) stabilized the leadership of our Ghana program, so we will have three Honors faculty-led programs in both 2020 and 2021.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
In conversation with PIC director Mark Schaub, we are currently reconsidering our commitment to the Ghana program, as we've had trouble finding faculty directors. Mark's advice is that we explore programs that our current full-time faculty will support. The Haiti program has solid support. We are now considering developing Honors-led programs in Quebec City, Quebec, and Jerusalem, Israel.

Objective 1.C.4

The Honors College will communicate regularly with alumni.

Baseline

Currently only sporadic communication.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
We held two alumni-oriented events in 2019: a dedication ceremony for former director Jeff Chamberlain, and a Meijer Lecture featuring 3 successful Honors alumni.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
We held three alumni-related events in Fall 2018, each of which involved sending out invitations, and sent out an issue of an alumni newsletter. We also participated in Giving Tuesday by posting a number of Facebook items related to Honors scholarships.

Objective 1.C.5

The Honors College will constitute an Advisory Board made up primarily of Honors alumni.

Baseline

Currently no advisory board.

Progress

2019 Status
Minimal Progress
Nothing new on the Advisory Board front. We're still just trying to build alumni relations.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
See update on the other 1.C.5. Not sure why we have two. This one could be deleted.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
On March 22, 2018, we held another happy hour event for alumni and faculty. It was fairly well attended, but we're finding that an actual advisory board may be something we wait awhile to officially enact. Right now we're just trying to build up a base of participating alumni--which we're doing largely through social events and the 10-year anniversary events described elsewhere here.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
Alumni Council formed and met. First event in March brought together 50 alumni. Planning for reunion in August.

Objective 1.C.6

The Honors College will host at least one alumni event a year.

Baseline

Currently no specific Honors alumni events.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
We held two alumni-oriented events in 2019: a dedication ceremony for former director Jeff Chamberlain, and a Meijer Lecture featuring 3 successful Honors alumni.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
We held 3 alumni-related events in Fall 2018: on September 18, the 10-year celebration of the opening of the Niemeyer Building; on October 15, the meijer Lecture, which this year featured three Honors alumni (Juanita Bocanegra, Rachael Orose, and Lisa Patel); and on October 18, a student/faculty dinner with Ryan LaPrairie.

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

Objective 1.D.1

Honors College faculty will be informed and active proponents of interdisciplinary pedagogies.

Baseline

Varied familiarity with and expertise in interdisciplinary research and pedagogy.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
Our revised curriculum was approved this year. Prof. Ellen Adams participated in a summer institute on project-based learning and, along with others, shared her insights at the FTLC conference and with fellow Honors faculty.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
Our Summer 2018 curriculum task force explored interdisciplinarity by sharing readings, collecting examples of courses from other Honors colleges, meeting with the dean of Brooks College, and discussing what we all mean by interdisciplinarity. We ten integrated these discussions into our curriculum revision plan in Fall 2018.

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

Objective 1.E.1

The Honors College will create endowments for service learning and for scholarships (particularly for continuing students and those who receive little merit money coming in).

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
As the result of continued giving and the March 2019 dedication ceremony of the Chamberlain Multipurpose Room in Niemeyer, our Chamberlain scholarship fund has reached $15,000, up from about $4,000 just 18 months ago. So we are halfway to being able to grant scholarships through the fund.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
In 2018 we focused faculty/staff giving on the Chamberlain scholarship, which is aimed at helping underrepresented groups but is not yet spinning off funds. The Brooks College dean matched our giving up to $1,000--so as a groups we contributed well over $2,000. We hope to continue that progress.

Objective 1.E.2

Support staffing for the Honors College is within 20-30% of the best practice staffing levels recommended by accrediting bodies or professional organizations.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
No changes--but we're fine with what we have.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
We have not added staff, but we are operating well with the two full-time advisors we have.

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

The Honors College will develop a plan to incorporate faculty from across the university in Honors in a deeper way than as part-time teachers. This may take the form of something like a Faculty-in-Residence program, Faculty Fellow program, or something suchlike.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
With our curriculum revision approval and with the help of the Brooks College dean's office, we have initiated a conversation with the provost's office and deans about how we can enhance the Faculty-in-Residence program and otherwise increase the stability of the Honors faculty as a whole.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
In addition to the existing Faculty-in-Residence program, we have developed a curriculum revision that calls for renewed engagement by departments in the Honors curriculum through departmental project- or problem-based learning courses and departmental Honors Senior Projects, along the lines of what the Engineering program currently offers.

Objective 2.A.2

The Honors College will broaden involvement of faculty across campus in the work of the College.

Baseline

As of Fall 2017, we had an Honors Advisory Council comprising faculty, staff, and students from across campus.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
The HCDC has developed into a solid working committee with representatives from around campus. We've also settled on three Honors student appointments: one from the Mentor Council, one from ANCHOR, and one from Student Senate.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
The HCDC has become directly involved in the curriculum revision process and is now embarking on a plan to audit or review every Honors course every three years to ensure that all courses are pursuing the shared goals of the program. The effect of these discussions is to spread awareness of the strengths and goals of the Honors College around campus.

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

Objective 2.C.1

The Honors College will deepen its relationship with the National Collegiate Honors Councilat least one faculty member (in addition to the director and assistant director) will attend the national conference each year.

Baseline

Most years, only the director and one staff member attended.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
This year we've focused on the regional chapter of NCHC, the Mideast Honors Association, or MEHA. We are partnering with Ferris and GRCC to help host the 2020 MEHA conference in Grand Rapids March 27-29. The Saturday evening and Sunday morning events will be held at the Eberhard Center. About 10 of our students will be presenting.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
The Honors College sent seven people to the November 2018 NCHC conference in Boston: Director Roger Gilles, Faculty Chair Coeli Fitzpatrick, Professor Amy McFarland, Advisor Kelly McDonell, Advisor Meg Marshall, College Assistant Robyn Toth, and student Julie Ahrns.

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

Objective 2.D.1

At least 75% of full-time faculty and 75% of staff participate in professional development to expand, enhance or extend their competencies and capabilities within the context of the responsibilities of their positions. For faculty, this will primarily be development in the area of teaching in Honors.

Baseline

Currently, only about a third of Honors full-time faculty have attended an Honors conference or workshop.

Progress

2019 Status
Minimal Progress
Ellen Adams attended the PBL Institute at Worcester Polytechnic, but otherwise no new faculty or staff were involved in Honors-related professional development.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
In 2018, the director, three faculty, and three staff members presented at three Honors conferences, and all 12 full-time faculty participated in the curriculum revision process that demanded an intense inquiry into Honors education.

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

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

Objective 3.D.1

The Honors College will integrate the Art Gallery into at least 10% of its courses.

Baseline

Currently, the Honors College integrates the Art Gallery into approximately 5% of its courses.

Progress

2019 Status
Achieved
We revised our HNR 201 Live Learn Lead course into a colloquium course that will both introduce students to the concepts and practices of liberal learning and require students to prepare for, attend, and process both orally and in writing at least five campus or community events during the semester--at least one of which, and maybe more, will be art gallery events. HNR 201 will be one of nine course requirements in the new curriculum, so that's 11% of the required curriculum.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
There are several courses that currently use the Art Gallery as a significant part of their courses.

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

Objective 3.E.1

The Honors College will establish an internal governance structure that accounts for its unique unit status, with tenured and tenure-track faculty, and its curricular accountability to the university as a whole.

Baseline

As of 2016-17, the Honors College is governed by three committees: the Honors Faculty Council (chaired by the unit head and comprising the full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty in Honors), the Honors Curriculum and Development Committee (chaired by the director and comprising all members of the HFC plus all Honors faculty-in-residence, all Honors joint appointments, one rep from Classics, the Meijer Endowed Chair for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Meijer Fellowships Director, the director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship, and three Honors students), and the Honors Advisory Council (chaired by the director and comprising proportional representation from each college in the university, plus representatives from University Libraries and Admissions).

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
With input from students, we settled on having the leadership of the Mentor Council, ANCHOR, and Student Senate appoint student representatives to the Honors Curriculum and Development Committee (HCDC).

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
The Honors College revised its governance structure, moving from three committees to two and reshaping the membership of each committee to establish a clearer role for full-time Honors faculty while also ensuring broader representation from faculty across campus.

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 Honors College will recognize at least one distinguished alum in its annual report and recognition ceremony each year.

Baseline

We have not done this to date.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
In Winter 2019 we featured three more successful alumni as part of the Meijer Lecture Series--so, a total of six in 2018-19.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
In Fall 2018 we featured three distinguished alumni at our Meijer Lecture, which drew about 80 students, faculty, and staff. These alumni will also be featured in our annual report.

Objective 4.A.2

The Honors College will coordinate recognition events for alumni with other colleges.

Baseline

We currently do not do this.

Progress

2019 Status
Minimal Progress
We've really not "coordinated" our efforts with other colleges, but we do invite faculty and students from other college when we feature graduates of their programs at our own alumni events.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
We have not attempted any progress on this initiative this year.

Objective 4.A.3

The Honors College will do a needs analysis and feasibility study for developing a summer program for high school students. Focus might be Design Thinking, Sustainability, or some such. If the study recommends starting a program, the goal for implementation will be 2019.

Baseline

None.

Progress

2019 Status
Not Yet Initiated
This is not something we're ready to focus on.

2018 Status
Not Yet Initiated
NA

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 4.B.1

Feature a diverse range of Honors students and faculty in our blogs, websites, newsletters, and other publications.

Baseline

This has been done casually but not intentionally.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
In 2019, we chose to define one of our student worker positions as a social media specialist. Meghan (and now Morgan) maintains our regular blogs and newsletter posts, but now we also have regular posts on Instagram and Twitter (for students) and Facebook (for alumni and parents).

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
We are conscious of these intentions as we post items on the website, blog, Facebook, etc., but we have not yet actually tracked our progress.

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

Objective 4.C.1

The Honors College will communicate regularly with alumniby 1) inviting them to events like the Meijer Lecture, and 2) by providing them with updates on the program and the annual report.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
As noted elsewhere in this plan, we continue to reach out to alumni in several ways, including those mentioned above.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
We communicated directly with alumni several times in 2018--prior to the March 22 happy-hour event, prior to the September 18 Ten-Year Celebration, prior to the October 15 Meijer Lecture, and prior to Giving Tuesday (November 27).

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

Objective 4.D.1

The Honors College will share its success stories, particularly those involving innovative teaching, interdisciplinary activities, and creative work.

Baseline

We have a website, a social media blog, and annual reports, but we have done little in the way of publicizing our most innovative or intriguing stories.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
We continue to build our website and social media activities to highlight our success stories.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
Along with regular blog posts, Facebook posts, and "spotlights" on our website, we have added a "News and Events" tab, a "Photo Gallery" tab, and a "Faculty Publications" page on our website--all of which are geared toward sharing success stories.

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