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Strategic Plan for Mathematics

Context For Planning

Context for Strategic Planning 

This strategic plan was developed through a collaborative process that involved all tenure-track faculty (that is, all faculty who are tenured or tenure-eligible) in the Department of Mathematics. We began by considering the forward-looking comments from our 2014 self study while asking the question, What do we want to be able to say about our department five years from now that is not already true today? From this context, we agreed on the following goals: 

Goal 1: Enhance the experience and success of all students we serve. 
  •  Increase the proportion of calculus and foundations-level courses taught by long-term faculty (tenure-track and affiliate). 
  •  Increase the number of students selecting mathematics as a major or minor. 
  •  Increase student involvement in high-impact learning experiences and co-curricular activities. 
  •  Expand existing resources and develop new resources to support mathematics majors in the non- certification emphasis. 
  •  Align physical and technological resources with current trends, best practices, and pedagogical needs. 
Goal 2: Enhance diversity and inclusiveness within our department, particularly among our long- term faculty. 
  • Increase the diversity (broadly defined) of department faculty, and increase the number of female and minority faculty teaching courses at all levels. 
  • Enhance the professional status of affiliate faculty by increasing salaries, expanding resources for professional development, and providing greater opportunities for involvement in department activities and collaboration with tenure-track faculty.
These goals do not comprise a comprehensive list of all potential initiatives for 2016-2021. Rather, they represent aspirations the department agrees should be prioritized and given special attention over the next five years. In addition to these priorities, the department will pursue and maintain many additional outcomes consistent with our mission, vision, and values.

Mission

The mission of the Department of Mathematics is to cultivate in ourselves and develop in our students: (1) an understanding of mathematics, its applications, and its role in society; (2) the abilities to reason and to communicate about mathematical ideas; and (3) an appreciation of mathematics as a creative endeavor that involves exploration, problem solving, and the search for patterns and connections. Furthermore, it is the mission of the Department of Mathematics to engage in active scholarship and service that supports our teaching, furthers mathematical understanding, and builds productive connections with academic and non-academic communities.

Vision

Grand Valley State Universitys Department of Mathematics will be known as an inclusive community of learners that is committed to student success, excellence in teaching, and active engagement in scholarship and service. Our students and graduates will be known and respected for their knowledge of mathematics, their capacity to think critically and creatively, their ability to communicate mathematical ideas effectively, and their flexibility to adapt to changes in their professions. Our faculty and graduates will be recognized for their leadership in promoting excellence and innovation in mathematics and mathematics education, both at GVSU and beyond. In meeting this vision, the students, graduates, and faculty will be seen as informed citizens, productive members of society, and lifelong learners.

Value Statement

The Department of Mathematics values a diverse and multicultural learning community whose members actively advance the ideals of a liberal arts education. To that end, we recognize teaching and learning as our highest priorities while also acknowledging the importance of scholarship and service. In all of our work, we value a growth mindset and the open exchange of ideas from diverse points of view. In the area of teaching, we value:

  •  informed, knowledgeable, and reflective faculty who are committed to continued growth and professional development; 
  • learner-centered approaches to instruction, supported by class sizes that allow active student engagement in learning, personal interactions with faculty, and meaningful feedback on student work;
  •  learning as a collaborative endeavor that is supported by a strong sense of community among students and faculty; 
  • innovation in teaching and the freedom of faculty to pursue innovative pedagogies; 
  • effective use of instructional and mathematics-related technology to support learning and promote understanding of mathematics; and 
  • community engagement and participation as global citizens in diverse settings beyond GVSU.

 In the area of scholarship, we value a broad range of professional activities that include but are not limited to: 
  • keeping current with, contributing to, and disseminating intellectual developments in mathematics, mathematics education, and related fields; 
  • applying mathematical knowledge in a variety of areas; 
  • conducting research on the teaching and learning of mathematics at all levels; 
  • developing innovative educational resources for use at GVSU and beyond; 
  • engaging in collaborative research with peers and with students; and 
  • participating in interdisciplinary scholarship. 

In the area of service, we value: 
  • active participation in achieving department, college, and university goals; 
  • collaboration with peers, students, industry, schools, and community groups; 
  • initiative and leadership in bringing forth new ideas, programs, and approaches that further the mission of the department, college, and university; and 
  • promotion of the profession at the local, regional, and national levels;

In each of these areas, we also value collaboration and mutually supportive working relationships among all Mathematics Department faculty and staff.

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.2

Increase the rate of participation by mathematics majors in high-impact learning experiences and co-curricular activities by 25% from the baseline established during the 2016-2017 academic year.

Baseline

To be determined from Objective 1.A.1

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
No data for this objective were reported in 2018. We remain at the same level of progress as in 2017.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
We've made significant progress in the number of students conducting undergraduate research, attending conferences, giving presentations at professional conferences, and participating in other high-impact learning experiences.

Objective 1.A.3

Compile, maintain, and make available to students a collection of information about faculty research interests, career opportunities, and graduate programs in mathematics.

Baseline

not applicable

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
We continue to update the faculty research interests information annually, but we haven't yet put it online. The Mathematics Advising and Engagement Coordinator continues to send weekly information to all math majors. We also display career and graduate school information on the video display in our Peer Collaboration Center as another way to make the information available to students.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
We continue to update the faculty research interests information annually, but we haven't yet put it online. The Mathematics Advising and Engagement Coordinator continues to send weekly information to all math majors. We also display career and graduate school information on the video display in our Peer Collaboration Center as another way to make the information available to students.

Objective 1.A.4

Develop and teach a one-credit junior-level seminar course, focusing on career and graduate school opportunities in mathematics, for students in the non-certification emphasis.

Baseline

not applicable

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
We distribute a weekly newsletter to majors with information on career and graduate school opportunities in mathematics, and hold regular on-campus events such as employer visits and seminars on these topics.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
We offered the course again in Fall 2018.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 1.B.1

Increase, to at least 40%, the proportion of mathematics content courses in the major, MTH 210 and above (210, 227, 304, 310, 327, 341, 345, 360, 402, 408, 409, 410, 431, 441, 495) taught by female faculty.

Baseline

Baseline: From Fall 2011 to Fall 2015, 32% of these courses were taught by female faculty.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
In 2019, 37 sections of mathematics content courses in the major were taught, with 14 of those sections taught by female faculty, for a percentage of 37.84%. This is up from 33.3% in 2018. It's worth noting that this percentage in Fall 2019 by itself is significantly higher at 55.6% (10 out of 18 sections).

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
We hired a new female applied mathematics Associate Professor to start in the 2018 - 2019 academic year. We anticipate that she will contribute to the teaching of these courses starting in the 2019 - 2020 academic year. In 2018, 14/42 = 1/3 = 33 1/3% of these courses were taught by female faculty.

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

Objective 1.E.1

Objective 1 (1.E.1): Staff all calculus courses (MTH 201, 202, 203) with tenure-track or affiliate faculty.

Baseline

Baseline: Since Fall 2011, approximately 83% of all such courses have been taught by tenure-track or affiliate faculty.

Progress

2019 Status
Minimal Progress
In 2019, 41 out of 53 sections of Calculus (MTH 201, 202, 203), or 77.4%, were taught by tenure-track or affiliate faculty members. This is down significantly from 2018 and 2017.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
In 2018, 48 out of 56 sections of calculus courses (MTH 201, 202, & 203) were staffed by tenure-track or affiliate faculty; this is approximately 85.7%. This is almost the same percentage as in 2017.

Objective 1.E.2

Staff at least 80% of foundations-level courses (MTH 097, 110, 122, 123) with tenure-track or affiliate faculty.

Baseline

Baseline: Since Fall 2011, approximately 65% of all such courses have been taught by tenure-track or affiliate faculty.

Progress

2019 Status
Minimal Progress
In 2019, 91 out of 133 sections of foundations-level courses (MTH 097, 110, 122, & 123) were taught by tenure-track or affiliate faculty. This is approximately 68.4%. This is an increase from 2018, putting us back above the baseline of 65% but still well short of the goal of 80%. Note that the same number of tenure-track or affiliate faculty were teaching these courses as in 2018, but the number of sections was lower.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
We increased our number of tenure-track faculty by one. Although we hired a new affiliate, we also had one resign. In 2018, 91 out of 146 sections of foundations-level courses (MTH 097, 110, 122, & 123) were taught by tenure-track or affiliate faculty. This is approximately 62.3%. This is an increase from 2017, but it is still below the baseline percentage of 65%.

Strategic Priority Area 2: Further develop exceptional personnel.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 2.B.1

Develop and implement a survey to identify the percentage of tenure-track and affiliate faculty who identify as belonging to an underrepresented group (broadly defined).

Baseline

Not applicable

Progress

2019 Status
Not Yet Initiated
We were informed in Fall 2019 by the Division of Inclusion and Equity that individual departments should not be surveying faculty regarding their membership in an underrepresented group. Instead, this information should be obtained from existing data collected by the Division of Inclusion and Equity.

2018 Status
Not Yet Initiated
We have not yet developed and implemented the survey.

Objective 2.B.2

Increase the percentage of tenure-track and affiliate faculty who identify as belonging to an underrepresented group (broadly defined) by 20%.

Baseline

To be determined based on results of Objective 2.B.1.

Progress

2019 Status
Not Yet Initiated
We were unable to address this goal due not being able to create a survey instrument to collect baseline data.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
We have yet to complete Objective 2.B.1, so we have no baseline data. We did hire a new tenure-track faculty member who is part of an underrepresented group to begin in Fall 2018.

Objective 2.B.3

Appoint a task force, including both tenure-track and affiliate faculty, to investigate and make recommendations regarding the role of affiliate faculty in department governance.

Baseline

Not applicable

Progress

2019 Status
Not Yet Initiated
The task force was not convened in 2018 or 2019.

2018 Status
Not Yet Initiated
(none provided)

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

Objective 2.E.1

Increase the salary of affiliate faculty to be comparable to salaries of similar positions at other area institutions.

Baseline

Baseline: Average faculty salaries at Grand Rapids Community College and Muskegon Community College. (According to the data in our 2014 Self Study, salaries for comparable positions at these institutions are 13-38% higher than current Mathematics Department affiliate faculty salaries.)

Progress

2019 Status
Minimal Progress
Data were collected regarding faculty merit raise methods, and merit raises for tenure-track faculty in 2019 will be administered so as to allow salary increases (when merited) for affiliates.

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
We revised the annual merit evaluation process for both affiliate and tenured/tenure-track faculty, but our departmental pool of money was smaller for those increases.

Objective 2.E.2

Increase professional development and computer upgrade funds for affiliate faculty to at least 50% of the amount provided for tenure-track faculty.

Baseline

Baseline: Affiliate faculty are currently allocated $350 per year for travel, technology, and professional development, which is 29% of the amount allocated to tenure-track faculty. There are currently no funds for regular computer upgrades for affiliate faculty.

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
Due to department budget cuts, professional development funds for both affiliates and tenure-track faculty were rolled back to $300 and $900 respectively, from $500 and $1200 in 2018. That is a reduction from 41% to 33%, but the affiliates received a lower reduction in absolute dollar amounts than the tenure-track faculty did.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
Affiliate faculty are on a rotating system for new computers through IT. Affiliate faculty development funds were raised to $500 with tenure-track faculty funds remaining at $1200.

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.2

Develop and implement a plan for future hybrid and online course offerings.

Baseline

To be determined based on results of Objective 3.D.1

Progress

2018 Status
Achieved
We've implemented the plan developed by the Online and Hybrid Task Force with our offerings in 2018 - 2019 and our scheduling for 2019 - 2020.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
Recommendations were provided in the Online & Hybrid Task Force report.

Objective 3.D.3

Develop and administer a faculty survey to assess how well current classroom configurations, technological resources, and other instructional aids align with current instructional practices.

Baseline

not applicable

Progress

2019 Status
Not Yet Initiated
The survey was not developed.

2018 Status
Not Yet Initiated
Due to other departmental priorities, we have yet to develop the faculty survey.

Objective 3.D.4

Based on the faculty survey from Objective 3.D.3, develop a five-year plan to align physical and technological resources with current trends, best practices, and pedagogical needs.

Baseline

To be determined based on results of Objective 3.D.3

Progress

2019 Status
Not Yet Initiated
The survey in 3.D.3 was not developed, so we have no plan so far.

2018 Status
Not Yet Initiated
Since we have yet to design the survey, no progress has been made.

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

Articulate a plan, including specific strategies and initiatives, to increase the number of students choosing to major or minor in mathematics.

Baseline

To be determined

Progress

2019 Status
Substantial Progress
The Applied Math emphasis was approved by the university and launched in Fall 2019. Many students have expressed interest, and we are on the verge of hiring a second applied mathematician to help grow the program. We continue to market the Applied Math emphasis as a second major, and we also continue to market the Mathematics minor. The revision of MTH 110 has been revived and a three-year roadmap for redesigning the course will be forthcoming in Winter 2020; prototypes of redesigned versions of MTH 110 and MTH 122 are being designed and will be offered in 2020-2021. We also continue to work with the College of Education on its revamping of our precertification emphases.

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
Curriculum Proposals for a new applied math emphasis and changes to the non-certification mathematics emphasis were submitted in SAIL in fall 2018. Honors College proposals were all approved by the Honors College in Fall 2018.

Objective 4.A.2

Increase the number of mathematics majors and minors to 400 and 250, respectively.

Baseline

Baseline: As of Fall 2015, there are 308 mathematics majors and 173 mathematics minors (including all emphases).

Progress

2019 Status
Substantive Progress
In Fall 2019 we had 316 majors and 299 minors. There were 8 majors in the new Applied Mathematics emphasis, even in Fall 2019 before marketing for this new emphasis had truly begun.

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
As of Fall 2018, we have 315 majors and 280 minors. Also, in 2018, we had 73 majors graduate (up from 67 in 2017) and 62 minors graduate (up from 33 in 2017). So even with a higher graduation rate, we've increased our majors slightly and our minors even more.

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