Higher Learning Commission

BOLD Faculty Engagement

Marygrove College

Overview of the Quality Initiative

The title of this Quality Initiative is "BOLD Faculty Engagement." It is part of a larger, on-going initiative at the heart of Marygrove College's Strategic Vision. The Quality Initiative, BOLD Faculty Engagement, aims at a major objective of Building Our Leadership in Detroit (BOLD): assurance of the sustainability of high-quality leadership development programs by creating in the faculty a deep appreciation for the links in education, leadership, and community change.


Marygrove's Strategic Vision, developed by the campus community and formally adopted by the Board of Trustees in May 2006, commits the College to "capitalize on its location in the City of Detroit" and work to become "widely recognized for its commitment to the metropolitan Detroit community" with "a national reputation for expertise on contemporary social, culturaL politicaL educational, and economic issues in urban areas" offering "degrees and programs that develop students' understanding of these issues as well as students' leadership skills, particularly those skills necessary to lead in urban communities" and to serve "as an institutional leader by undertaking projects related to current issues of significance to the City." This Strategic Vision uniquely focuses on urban and leadership issues, representing a long-term, strategic commitment to positive social change with the community.

In 2012, Marygrove College announced a program to revise its curriculum to develop leadership skills in Leadership in Detroit (BOLD) is grounded in the belief that everyone has a potential for leadership if given the proper support and guidance and is designed to make Marygrove a significant leader in the drive to rebuild Detroit. It is being underwritten by a $1.5 million grant from theW. K. Kellogg Foundation. The four additional objectives of the BOLD Initiative include:

  1. Transformation of the capacity of one of northwest Detroit's largest and longest operating institutions to produce student/community leaders in Detroit.
  2. Establishment of an urban leadership curriculum, a 4-year iterative experience, to emerge from the collaborative work of Teaching & Learning Leadership Teams (TLLTs).
  3. Leveraging an enhanced capacity to promote leadership talent by:
    • Connecting leadership development with community change initiatives, engage students with action-oriented experiential learning in Detroit to deliver coordinated programs/mentoring support for residents/community leaders;
    • Convening and Coordinating engagement of national experts, i.e. W.K. Kellogg
      Foundation's leadership and other fellowship program participants, in support of Detroit
      leadership development.
  4. Establishment of a national model for connecting college leadership enhancement with urban community change uniquely characterized by institution-wide commitment; interdisciplinary integration; and community collaboration.

In order to achieve these objectives for BOLD, deep and widespread faculty engagement in the learning necessary to transform the curriculum is critical.

Sufficiency of the Initiative's Scope and Significance

Relevance and Significance

The BOLD Initiative has potential for significant impact on the institution and its academic quality. BOLD is designed to transform the way students and residents develop as leaders at Marygrove and to embed within the college's faculty a distinctive and noteworthy ability to develop and nurture leadership talent. By transforming the curriculum and faculty-the core foundation of the academic institution-BOLD will enable the College to sustain a long-term commitment to enhance urban leaders and produce meaningful community change.

The BOLD Initiative is essential to a larger, comprehensive, institution-wide Marygrove commitment to improve the social and economic conditions in Detroit and the college's surrounding neighborhood. The goal of the BOLD Initiative is to embed a commitment to, and capacity for, leadership development within the college's core policies, processes, and intellectual capital and, in so doing, position the college to produce urban leaders for generations to come who will play a significant, institutional leadership role in enhancing social and economic conditions in Detroit. The successful attainment of this goal will be evident in the establishment of a college-wide Urban Leadership Curriculum and an expansion of leadership development and community engagement activities for students and local residents.

Even more importantly, however, the embedding of leadership development in the college's core will be evident in those dimensions most responsible for perpetuating a higher educational institution's organizational culture: a broad awareness among faculty and staff about best practices for teaching and learning leadership; a faculty culture of experimentation and modification within all courses in ways that promote leadership behavior among students; relationships and interdisciplinary networks among faculty and practitioners who support leadership development; and an integration of the institution's commitment to leadership development and urban community change with regard to faculty hiring, promotion, and tenure decision-making processes. By helping to accelerate the transformation of what we teach (leadership development in general and the Urban Leadership Curriculum in particular), how we teach (leadership pedagogy), how we encourage continual improvement (support and nurturing of faculty learning and development opportunities), and who we hire and promote (faculty hiring, promotion, and tenure systems) the impact of the BOLD Initiative will be sustained long after the initial W. K. Kellogg Foundation grant.

BOLD will enhance the College's capacity to anchor community change initiatives. The possibility of far-reaching effects should attract potential foundation, government and corporate funders who are committed to supporting the work of urban leaders who will facilitate social and economic change. More importantly, BOLD will embed within the core business of the College- its teaching and learningthe capacity to promote leaders and foster social change; as such, the long-term impact on leadership development and social/economic change will be financially sustained by core operational revenues (tuition and fees) of the College.

The Quality Initiative is related to the College's mission. One of the Teaching and Learning Leadership Teams (TLLT), the Values and Principles of Leadership TLLT, was charged with developing the underlying conceptual framework of values and leadership principles that will undergird the curriculum. To center their work they reviewed key Marygrove documents, including its Mission Statement and the Belief Statements of the sponsoring religious congregation for Marygrove-the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate heart of Mary (SSIHM). One of those key documents was an essay written by Sr. Rose Matthew Mangini, SSIHM, for Marygrove's 1998 Homecoming, "Quantum Marygrove." She says:

... Always at the heart of Marygrove, is the meld of liberal arts with the practical professional, recognizing the need for enlightened leadership and technical skill in the non-stop diversity of contemporary life. Perhaps this consciousness and training for leadership is one of the strongest legacies of Marygrove .... " (p.6).

Sr. Rose Matthew captures Marygrove's enduring commitment to leadership development. The Statement of Values and Leadership Principles produced by this TLLT was vetted through a series of college-wide dialogs and is recognized internally for its consistency with Marygrove's mission.

This Quality Initiative is connected to the institution's planning processes. Progress on the Strategic Vision has been an overarching aim in the 2011-13 Strategic Plan, and resulted in the articulation of the BOLD Initiative. Continued implementation of this Strategic Vision, referred to in the next plan as "Making Progress on the Urban Leadership Initiative," is incorporated as one of two linked strategic objectives for the 2014-16 Strategic Plan, which is in development to be approved by the Board of Trustees in October 2013.

Through analysis of Marygrove's results from the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) 2012 Freshmen Survey, we know that incoming freshmen exhibit interests and abilities that will align with an Urban Leadership Curriculum. The table below compares selected results for all participating baccalaureate institutions with Marygrove's first year student results, which are consonant with the prior year's results.

Interest/Ability Marygrove
Freshmen 2012
All Baccalaureate
Freshmen 2012
Becominq a community leader 49% 37%
Influencing the political structure 29% 20%
Influencing social values 42% 42%
Participatinq in a community action proqram 42% 31%
Leadership ability 59% 61%

The BOLD Initiative has developed a partnership with University of Michigan's School of Education National Forum for Higher Education and the Public Good, under the leadership of the National Forum's Director Dr. Betty Overton Adkins. In support of the BOLD Initiative, their research on higher education leadership programs in the United States affirms the distinctive nature of BOLD's curricular focus on all undergraduate students. Most undergraduate leadership programs they studied concentrate on an academic major, minor, or certificate; an extra-curricular program; or a mixed program that combines curricular and extra-curricular components. Marygrove's model is designed to impact all undergraduates in general education courses and their academic major/minor. The successful implementation of BOLD will achieve the long-term goal of creating an informed, dedicated cadre of student and community leaders playing a major, ongoing role in improving educational, health, security and economic outcomes for Detroit families/vulnerable children.

Intended Impact

The establishment of an Urban Leadership Curriculum is to emerge from the collaborative work of Teaching & Learning Leadership Teams (TLLTs) in 3 areas:

  • Core Values & Principles of Leadership: Establish the foundational leadership development approaches to be adopted in the undergraduate curriculum by experimenting with and evaluating activities, assignments, and courses focusing on values and principles of leadership
  • Understanding the Urban Context: Develop urban-focused subject matter content to infuse in the undergraduate curriculum.
  • Exploration & Innovation in Leadership Pedagogy: Develop innovative pedagogy aimed at producing 21st century leaders who communicate a message and engage residents by moving beyond the written and spoken word to include image and sound. Interdisciplinary teams of faculty will explore concepts like infused-educational strategies, place-based education, participatory action research, and visual thinking skills, establishing infused experiences for all students and influencing all faculty in the approach to teaching and learning leadership.

Marygrove expects to add four more TLLTs in 2013 in the areas of non-traditional leadership, feminist leadership, sustainability, and social entrepreneurship. They will begin work in Summer 2013.

Clarity of the Initiative's Purpose

Purposes and Goals

This Quality Initiative aims to:

  1. Create in the faculty a deep appreciation for the links in education, leadership, and community change in order to develop courses, activities, assignments, etc. that will lead to a signature undergraduate curriculum that fosters urban leadership. This will be achieved through:
    • Involving teams of approximately ten faculty and staff in TLLT seminar work
    • Supporting professional development activity through conferences, workshops, and national community-focused leadership organizations
    • Creating or making available resources to stimulate deep learning in these linked areas.
  2. Promote systemic change to sustain a leadership development focus. This will be achieved through:
    • Developing relationships, networks, and practices among faculty/ staff across departments to embed an understanding and appreciation of the practices of leadership.
    • Embedding reporting mechanisms that document development of practice
  3. Transform Marygrove's curriculum by developing a signature 4-year integrative and iterative academic experience for all Marygrove students. This will be achieved through:
    • Approving desired student learning outcomes
    • Re-thinking the first year and capstone courses
    • Expanding co-curricular service learning and community engagement opportunities
    • Analyzing curriculum maps identifying use of the values & principles of leadership and urban subject matters in existing courses
    • Expanding the use of innovative pedagogical strategies such as place-based learning, participatory action research, visual thinking, etc.
    • Using customary existing curriculum revision and development protocols: departmental & Faculty Assembly deliberation and recommendation; Curriculum Review Committee; General Education Committee; and Assessment Committee

Evaluation of Progress and Accomplishments

Marygrove has established the BOLD CounciL led by the President and consisting of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Deans, TLLT leaders, and the Director and selected staff of the Office of Urban Leadership. This group meets monthly to review and advance this work. In addition, the BOLD Council organizes periodic joint TLLT retreats in order to share information, make changes recommended by the TLLT members, and identify emerging needs. BOLD Council also schedules college-wide meetings and collects written feedback that is reviewed and acted on. The BOLD Council reports regularly to the Faculty Assembly, whose membership is surveyed with the assistance of two external groups: staff from the University of Michigan's School of Education's National Forum for Higher Education and the Public Good and from Formative Evaluation Research Associates (FERA), an independent evaluation group based in Ann Arbor, Michigan that has provided evaluation and learning opportunities to the nonprofit sector for over 35 years. We have just developed baseline information through the surveys of both of these groups, who have developed a collaborative relationship through mutual work with BOLD. Since FERA uses the Participatory Action Research methodology for interpreting survey results in their work with us, this group not only provides us with valuable information for making changes, but also models for us a research pedagogy we expect to incorporate into research projects.

We will gauge faculty engagement through membership in TLLTs, attendance records from curriculum mapping work, committee meeting minutes, and participation in BOLD-related workshops. Since virtually all of the undergraduate courses incorporate student learning outcomes in course syllabi, we have a baseline from which to identify changes or additions to established learning outcomes. We will also be able to identify faculty engagement in department annual reports.

Finally, comprehensive reports required by the Kellogg grant will provide evidence of faculty engagement.

Evidence of Commitment to and Capacity for Accomplishing the Initiative

Internal and External Support

Marygrove's senior leadership and faculty are committed to the implementation of a signature Urban Leadership curriculum for undergraduates. As such, its assessment and improvement will be incorporated into the on-going evaluation of Marygrove's commitment to the standards of quality necessary for reaccreditation.

To accomplish this, the President and Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA), in collaboration with Academic Deans, fully understands that faculty engagement in the process and outcomes of curriculum development is paramount for this to result in sustainable change. As a result, the College has named continued progress on the Urban Leadership Initiative as one of two strategic goals and both devote considerable time to leading the accomplishment of this strategic goal. In addition, the Vice President for Institutional Advancement (VPIA) collaborates through allocating staff time for grant development to sustain the project after the BOLD grant concludes and in strategizing for the community development aspect of this innovative curriculum.

In addition to senior leadership involvement, the College has established the Office of Urban Leadership (OUL) in order to develop an infrastructure to support curricular and co-curricular initiatives. This responds directly to insistent faculty feedback that the pedagogies of active learning and community engagement needed staffing to ensure the persistence of pilot activities. In addition to OUL this Quality Initiative has the support of Faculty Assembly leadership, the Academic Council whose makeup consists of department chairs and deans, and the Division of Student Development.

As indicated earlier, Marygrove also has the external support and active engagement of a variety of partnerships, each of which contributes something unique to the overall initiative. A selected list of those partners include:

  • UM's National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good
  • Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance
  • Data-Driven Detroit, an organization whose mission is provides accessible, high-quality information and analysis to drive informed decision-making.
  • Success A New Beginning, Inc. (SANBI), an organization that specializes in non-traditional Leadership Work
  • Our Neighborhood Engaged (ONE), a college-community organization that represents the one square mile surrounding the campus
  • Council of Detroit Baptist Pastors
  • Detroit Economic Growth Corporation

The first six named partnerships provide a variety of resources that support faculty engagement.

We know there will be challenges and issues in implementing "BOLD Faculty Engagement." There are three in particular that we are strategizing about in order to respond to those challenges. The key issue we will need to solve in order to make significant progress during this Quality Initiative is the existing level of responsibility for Marygrove faculty, who teach 24 credit hours during an academic year-typically four courses per semester. This teaching load is likely to strongly impact the establishment of a critical mass of faculty who will be able to learn the scholarship of leadership pedagogy. That study will lead faculty to pilot new learning activities, share lessons learned from those activities with colleagues, and assess their success in producing the desired student learning outcomes. While we are already seeing that occur, the key issue is the critical mass. In addition, we are witnessing the effectiveness of the Teaching and Learning Leadership Teams (TLLT), yet are aware that developing sustainable learning communities that emerge from the TLLTs after the grant is completed will be another challenge.

Second, mapping the curriculum to identify where leadership principles and urban subjects are already being used is a major undertaking that we expect will stimulate faculty engagement in thinking about discipline-based and general education courses, but we know that it will take time. While we have consultant assistance and a useful reporting tool to assist in this work, we are aware that our mapping activity is ambitious given the timeframe, so not all programs may be completed in our preferred timeframe.

Third, in addition to their teaching loads, Marygrove faculty will need to combine current committee work responsibilities with the intensive work of stewarding the curriculum approval process through the discussion and review process prior to approval. This will demand additional time for and carefully executed committee service.

Groups and Individuals Involved in Implementation

  • Senior Leadership, including the President, VPAA, and VPIA
  • BOLD Council and the Office of Urban Leadership (OUL)
  • TLLT faculty leaders
  • The First Year Seminar team
  • Faculty Assembly and its committees, especially the Curriculum Review, General Education, and the Assessment Committees

Their responsibilities are identified in the next section.

Committed Resources

A 3-year $1,500,000 grant from the W.W. Kellogg Foundation, as well as the allocation of resources and personnel from ongoing operations, supports: the Office of Urban Leadership; consultants, including resource specialists from the University of Michigan's School of Educ ation; evaluators; guest speakers; conference attendance; faculty/staff planning retreats; and faculty/staff/student mini-grants for civic engagement projects. The W .K. Kellogg grant also provides stipends for faculty and staff who are involved in the TLLTs. There are designated funds for conference participation during the 2013 and 2014 grant fiscal years, and resource acquisition supports for TLLT work, such as speakers, print and multimedia.

There is also college-funded support built into for fiscal year 2014 and 2015 for faculty professional development, curriculum improvement projects, and library resource acquisitions.

"BOLD Faculty Engagement" is a project of the BOLD Initiative. As such, it claims the time of senior leadership and deans. The Office of Urban Leadership has four employees, two of whom are grant funded, one is college-funded, and one is an AmeriCorps employee assigned to Marygrove.

In terms of technological resources, the BOLD Initiative has both Marygrove College web presence, as well as an intranet presence whose infrastructure was built by Information Technology staff on the College's existing learning management platform. TLLT groups make their resources available to the faculty through this intranet site and they maintain it. Some multi-media resources on the website have been professionally developed and funded through the Kellogg Foundation grant. The College has also purchased software, Community Benefit Inventory for Social Accountability (CBISA), which will enable us to track engagement activity.

Appropriateness of the Timeline for the Initiative

The following table summarizes the faculty groups and their involvement over the next 18 months. We recognize that it is an ambitious schedule but view it as consonant with the expectations of the College's current and next Strategic Plans. Marygrove aspires to being a national model for colleges leading community change.

Responsibility Activity Timeline
Faculty Teaching &
Learning Leadership
Teams (TLLT)
Curriculum development May-Sep 2013
Faculty Assembly SU 2013 Presentations Sep-Oct 2013
Curriculum Integration May-Aug 2014
Resource identification Nov-Dec 2013
Mar-Apr 2014
Nov-Dec 2014
First Year Seminar Team Curriculum development Jui-Oct 2013
Course pilot & assessment Jan-May 2014
BOLD Council Draft Leadership Curriculum Student Learning
Outcomes Working Document
Jui-Aug 2013
Oversight of integration of the layers of
curricular innovation
Jul 2013 - Dec 2014
Academic Departments Curriculum Mapping & Analysis: Values &
Principles of Leadership
Jul-Dec 2013
Curriculum Mapping & Analysis: Urban Subjects
Jan-May 2014
Identification of pilots to assess Aug-Sep 2013
Program Recommendation on Key Curricular
Aug-Dec 2013
Curriculum Review
Review Template Development Sep-Oct 2013
Course reviews Jan-May 2014
UL Curriculum Review & Recommendation Sep-Oct 2014
General Education Values & Principles of Leadership Curriculum Sep-Dec 2013
Committee Mapping & Analysis  
Urban Subjects Matter Curriculum Mapping &
Jan-May 20 14
UL Curriculum Review & Recommendation Sep-Oct 2014
Assessment Committee UL Student Learning Outcomes Assessment
Sep-Oct 2013
Pilots Assessment Review Sep-Oct 2014
Faculty Assembly Discussions: Department Recommendations on
Key Curricular Issues
Aug-Nov 2013
UL Curriculum Presentation & Discussion Sep-Nov 2014
UL Curriculum Vote Dec 2014

This activity will lead to the:

  • Implementation of pilot interdisciplinary courses integrating new, innovative leadership pedagogy designed by Teaching and Learning Leadership Teams (TLLTs), linked to formative assessment/evaluation processes;
  • Expansion of community engagement opportunities for students;
  • Coordination of the continuation/expansion of customized leadership development programs for local organizations/residents;
  • Development of resource allocation plans with internal/external funding sources to sustain Urban Leadership Curriculum;
  • Approval of an Urban Leadership Curriculum (a four-year iterative learning experience for all undergraduate students of all majors) as a signature element of Marygrove's institutional identity.

Marygrove expects to also:

  • Conduct evaluation of BOLD's impact to produce systemic change required to sustain the college leadership development focus;
  • Articulate, for national dissemination, lessons learned from BOLD, including its contribution to the College's broader strategy of leading community change initiatives.

These activities flow from the Quality Initiative, but will probably develop after the conclusion of this Quality Initiative.


Institution Contact

Jane Hammang-Buhl, Vice President for Academic Affairs (ret.)

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