Lee Honors College Strategic Plan

The staff of the Lee Honors College, under the leadership of Dean Carla Koretsky, developed its current five-year strategic plan in July 2014. The plan was reviewed and updated under Dean Gary H. Bischof after he joined the college in January 2017. The plan guides the curricular and co-curricular offerings and decision-making of the college.


The mission of the Carl and Winifred Lee Honors College is to provide an exceptional undergraduate experience for high achieving students, to inspire in our graduates a thirst for the lifelong pursuit of creative inquiry and discovery, to provide our students with the skill and passion to address critical challenges, and to foster personal responsibility informed by a global perspective.


Lee Honors College faculty and staff strive to provide a welcoming, inclusive environment that encourages our students to pursue their passions through exceptional curricular and co-‐ curricular opportunities. Our graduates will have the skills and commitment to become successful, engaged citizens of the world.


1. Improve student retention within the Lee Honors College and increase honors college graduation rates.


A. Increase completion rate of honors theses from less than 50% to 50% within 2 years and to 70% within 5 years.
  • Begin offering new thesis course by fall 2015.
  • Provide a thesis handbook to all students at Mandatory Freshman Advising.
  • Continue sending thesis handbook to students and thesis chairs with approval of thesis declaration form.
  • Continue to offer thesis workshops at Mix It Up.
  • Develop a database of mentors and projects.
  • Work with units for which the honors thesis is built in to the curriculum (CFA, CEAS) to ensure students complete and submit thesis forms and documentation.
B. Decrease the number of students who withdraw from the honors college because they do not see the value of graduating from the honors college or because they have not planned adequately to complete requirements from more than 30% to less than 10% of students within 5 years.
  • Continue to improve communication with students via newsletters.
  • Require advising appointments for students on warning or probation.
  • Continue Mandatory Freshman Advising.
  • Continue to build relationships with faculty, advisors, chairs and directors who can advocate for the honors college.
  • Solicit and post alumni testimonials regarding the value of honors education.
C. Reduce the number of students who are out of compliance with respect to GPA, community service and honors-‐ college sponsored events requirements from more than 30% to less than 10% within 5 years.
  • Continue yearly audits for community service and honors college sponsored events.
  • Dismiss students who do not complete requirements within 1 year.
D. Maintain greater than 90% freshman to sophomore retention rate.

2. Strengthen sense of community among honors students and expand student participation in honors college events.


A. Increase average student attendance at Lyceum Lecture series from 15 to 30 students in 5 years.
  • Continue to offer courses linked to the Lyceum Lecture series.
  • Promote the Lyceum Lectures as honors college sponsored events in weekly newsletters and using social media.
B. Increase average student attendance at Mix It Up events from 12 to 30 students in 5 years.
  • Promote Mix It Up as honors college sponsored events in weekly newsletters and using social media.
C. Achieve 80% of attendance capacity for limited capacity special event, such as the Metropolitan Series bus trips.
  • Promote limited capacity events in weekly newsletters and using social media.
D. Maintain 60% of honors freshmen living in honors residence hall.
  • Continue to support PSST office hours in the honors residence hall.
  • Continue to build relationships with Residence Life staff.
E. Increase participation in Study in the States from ~25 students per year to 50 students per year in 5 years.
  • Increase advance planning and communication regarding dates of trips.
  • Market so that students understand that all participating students receive full financial support (i.e. an “automatic scholarship” for trip expenses).
  • Explore offering spring break timing for trips.
  • Explore offering more discipline-specific trips.
F. Increase number of PSST mentor applications from less than 10 students per year to greater than 20 per year by 2019.
  • Survey past and current PSST mentors to identify strategies.

3. Recruit and engage an ethnically, culturally, globally and economically diverse student body representative of WMU undergraduate programs.

(Note: The objectives and strategies for this goal were revised during the spring 2017 semester.)


A. Actively recruit all international students who meet the honors college requirements.
  • Target incoming students who receive Haenicke scholarships.
  • Coordinate recruitment with ISORP for incoming freshmen and targeted internal transfer orientation for international students.
  • Work with international advisors and HIGE leaders to raise awareness of the honors college.
B. Increase ethnic diversity to mirror WMU undergraduate demographics by 2019.
  • Recruit from the Kalamazoo Public Schools. Add the Lee Honors College as a stop on tours of KPS students already planned for other areas on campus.
  • Recruit from urban schools such as Cass Tech and Renaissance High School in the Detroit area and other high schools in high diversity regions.
  • Actively participate in campus initiatives that will increase honors college visibility among diverse populations, such as the Multicultural Meet and Greet, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Diversity Council, and the Bronco NCORE Project.
C. Establish an endowment for students with high financial need. Long-term goal is $100,000 to generate $4,500 per year for students.
  • Fund the Bernard H. and Terilyn L. Koretsky endowment at the minimum $10,000 endowment level.
  • Develop policies for awarding these funds.
  • Work with Office of Development & Alumni Relations to identify potential donors and develop a strategy for continued growth of this endowment.
D. Achieve same proportion of first generation students in the honors college as in the undergraduate WMU population by 2019.
  • Partner with the TRIO program to identify and recruit first generation students.
  • Utilize information from FAFSA to identify and support first generation and low income students.
  • Continue efforts to reach out to relevant student groups at their locations.
E. Achieve same proportion of veterans and military personnel in the honors college as in the undergraduate WMU population by 2019.
  • Partner with Office of Military and Veterans Affairs to identify and recruit veterans.
F. Achieve 80% or more of current and prospective students reporting an open, welcoming, inclusive atmosphere in the honors college.
  • Review results of spring 2017 survey and implement strategies based upon the results.
  • Survey all current honors students and staff each year to determine progress and suggestions for improvement.
  • Develop and implement a surveying process specific to academic advising services to ensure continuous improvement.
  • Develop and implement a surveying process for prospective students and families participating in new daily building tours initiative in partnership with the Office of Admissions scheduled to being fall 2017.
G. Implement strategies identified during a review of Goal #3 in spring 2017.
  • Establish an Honors College Diversity Council made up of honors college staff and students.
  • Place a feedback/suggestion box in a visible location in the honors college.
  • Gather appropriate data regarding retention of students from under-represented groups (e.g., thesis completion, reasons for departure from the honors college, $100 fee as barrier, etc.).
  • Conduct diversity and inclusion training for honors college staff, PSST mentors, and students.

4. Expand the visibility of the Lee Honors College within WMU and the surrounding region.


A. Increase participation of faculty in honors college activities.
  • Continue yearly call requesting faculty to organize Lyceum series.
  • Increase faculty submission of Study in the States and general education course proposals and number of faculty teaching honors courses.
  • Increase the number of honors instructors participating in faculty development workshops from <5 per year to at least 25 per year by 2019.
  • Initiate annual or semi-annual meetings with chairs/directors to identify candidates for prestigious scholarships.
  • Continue to send fall registered honors student lists to chairs and directors
  • Continue to send lists of students on warning or probation to chairs, directors and program advisors.
B. Increase the number of students defending their thesis during Thesis Celebration Days to 75% or more of graduating seniors by 2019.
  • Survey students to select dates to optimize student participation.
  • Initiate thesis course.
  • Advertise to broader community.
  • Ask thesis chairs to encourage students to participate in the Thesis Celebration Days.
C. Increase community participation in honors college events.
  • Increase participation in the Scholar Scare 5K by 40 participants per year for 5 years.
  • Host at least one high-‐ profile speaker each year, reaching an audience of more than 100 people.
  • Increase community partners (e.g. KAMSC, KPS) hosting honors college students presenting their scholarly and creative work.
D. Strengthen community partnerships through student volunteerism.
  • Maintain an average of three PSST-‐ organized community service events per month.
  • Continue to support student organizations affiliated with the honors college who organize volunteer opportunities.
  • Increase available honors service-‐ learning courses.
E. Increase campus visits and contact with prospective students.
  • Double the number of dual enrolled students by 2019.
  • Maintain more than 700 student competitors at the Medallion competition.
  • Increase the number of prospective students who participate in student shadowing opportunities to at least 40 per year by 2019.
  • Increase the number of K-‐ 12 students visiting the honors college to at least 100 per year by 2019.

 5. Increase and maximize effective use of fiscal and human resources.


A. Maintain current honors college total enrollment at 1500-‐ 1700 students.
  • Continue current recruitment and retention practices.
  • Explore new methods of outreach with Office of Admissions.
B. Increase scholarship funding available for study abroad to $25,000 by 2019.
  • Campaign through alumni and friends outreach to add to existing endowments and possibly create new ones.
C. Identify funding sources for five $3,000 scholarships for non-traditional students by 2019.
  • Explore area service organizations and foundation support.
D. Increase transparency to communicate to all constituents regarding how honors college funds are spent by 2015.
  • Add pie chart showing student program fee expenditures on website (about tab).
  • Add fiscal statement to website and other reports: The Lee Honors College will be good stewards of our fiscal and human resources by making cost effective decisions that benefit the honors student, the WMU student and WMU.
E. Support transition of the Academically Talented Youth Program to financial independence from the honors college for ATYP staffing needs by July 1, 2017.
F. Restore staffing and ensure positions are appropriate to position responsibilities and the size and scope of the honors college by 2017.
  • Within 3 years, restore the current 0.85 FTE staff advisor position to a 1.0 FTE advisor position.
  • Within 3 years, convert the administrative assistant position to an executive assistant position.
  • Within 3 years, convert the coordinator of budgets position, to budget analyst senior.
  • Within 3 years, convert two academic year graduate assistant positions to fiscal year positions.
  • Within 3 years, secure funding to employ undergraduate student receptionists and PSST mentors over 12 months, instead of 8 months.
  • Convert doctoral associate position to full time marketing-event coordinator-webmaster position by 2019
G. Ensure that honors college staff members provide excellent service and individualized attention to our students, visitors and staff to ensure a positive environment for all constituencies of the honors college.
  • Reduce auditing time by having registrar track GPA and note standing in the honors college.
  • Explore implementation of Degree Works for conducting audits.

6. Establish stronger connections to honors college friends and alumni.


A. Increase the number of alumni for whom we have current contact information by 50% in 5 years.
  • Increase use of social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) to identify and maintain contact with honors college alumni.
B. Continue biannual friends & alumni newsletter.
C. Increase the number of participants in reunion events by 30 per year for 5 years.
  • Improve advance promotion of all-‐ Medallion reunion.
  • Use social media to identify alumni to lead and participate in reunion events.
D. Increase networking between current students and alumni.
  • Increase the number of alumni dinners connected to Study in the States trips and other events from three per year to ten per year in 5 years.
  • Increase alumni participation in Fall Welcome, Thesis Celebration Days and Medallion Competition by 10% per year for 5 years.

7. Provide an innovative and dynamic curriculum that promotes critical thinking, communication skills, global engagement, involved citizenship and a desire for lifelong learning.


A. Increase the number of students applying for Prestigious Scholarships from ~3 per year to more than 20 per year by 2019.
  • Promote prestigious scholarship opportunities at Medallion Scholar Luncheons and at Mix It Up.
  • Work with chairs, directors and advisors to identify and mentor potential applicants.
  • Continue to assist applicants with essays and other application materials.
B. Continue to offer an excellent selection of honors courses that focus on critical thinking and communication skills.
  • Increase the number of honors courses that include a significant number of writing assignments to at least 75% of all honors courses in 5 years.
  • Continue to offer at least one honors course in each general education distribution area every fall and spring semester.
  • Increase the number of courses that include performance tasks or collegiate learning assessments.
C. Increase the number of honors students pursuing accelerated degree programs to at least 30 by 2019.
  • Promote accelerated degree programs at Mandatory Freshman Advising.
  • Promote accelerated degree programs on honors college website.
  • Offer a Mix It Up highlighting accelerated degree programs.
D. Increase the number of honors students participating in study abroad to 33% in 5 years.
  • Increase scholarship funding to support study abroad.
  • Launch new global discovery experience program.
  • Continue to highlight study abroad at Dinner with the Deans.
  • Continue to collaborate with HIGE to promote study abroad.
E. Increase honors service-learning courses by one per year for five years.
  • Track service learning in instructor syllabi.
  • Provide volunteer credit to students in service-‐ learning classes.
F. Increase the number of students participating in federal internships (e.g. National Science Foundation, Department of Justice, Department of Energy) from ~1-‐ 2 per year to 10 per year by 2019.
  • Highlight opportunities at Mix It Up.
  • Promote opportunities at Medallion Scholar luncheons.