How the QEP affects you

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Last semester’s lectures from Dr. Lee Camp were part of LCU’s critical thinking initiative. Dr. Camp teaches on ethics-related topics and Christian nonviolence at Lipscomb University in Tennessee.

My assignment: Write an article on LCU’s QEP.

I started by asking ten random students around campus, “What do you think QEP stands for?” I received answers such as “I have no clue” and “I’ve never heard of that before.” It became clear none of them were able to even guess the correct answer. I expected this, since I hadn’t known either before starting this project.

After researching, I found that QEP stands for “Quality Enhancement Plan.” LCU’s director for this effort is Dr. Cathy Box. She is an associate professor in the School of Education and program coordinator for the Curriculum and Instruction Master’s Program in the Graduate School of Education.

Pursue. Persist. Grow. These three words we see every day on building doors around campus embody the meaning of the QEP. Basically, the QEP influences our educational environment by promoting the use of critical thinking and upper-level vocabulary during classes, and by encouraging outside research. The primary goals are to:

  • Designate and plan specific upper-division critical thinking-intensive courses across programs that would enhance students’ critical thinking through writing
  • Create faculty development opportunities to further enhance how faculty can foster critical thinking in the classroom.

Dr. Cathy Box, associate professor in the School of Education and director of LCU’s QEP.

As a student, the next question you should be asking is, “What are our faculty actually doing to enhance critical thinking in our classes?”

According to the QEP, a Faculty Fellows program is in place to train faculty members on the use and implementation of critical thinking strategies in specific upper-division courses. The faculty voluntarily do these programs to increase critical thinking in their classes. Faculty members can receive professional development opportunities and learn more advanced methods of teaching critical thinking elements through content.

Once I understood the QEP better, I sat down with fellow student Justin Miller. Justin is a senior and previously had no knowledge of the QEP. After explaining what it is and does, I asked Justin, “What does this mean to you as a student here at LCU, now that you are informed about the QEP?”

Justin’s response: “It’s encouraging to know that the staff is working to increase our educational experience, even if we as students aren’t exactly aware of it during the process.”

Although from the poll I took it appears students at LCU are very unaware of the Quality Enhancement Plan in place, we should be. This is a beneficial plan for us as students to increase our critical thinking and overall educational experience, and the more informed we become the more impact it will have.

For more information on the QEP, you can read a detailed report here.

Do you know what it means to think critically? Add a comment below.

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