This is another in a series of interviews with campus QEP leaders – those staff, faculty and administrators across campus promoting the goals of EKU’s Quality Enhancement Plan. The current QEP, Read with Purpose, calls for Eastern to develop critical readers through the use of metacognitive strategies. Building on the past QEP, which focused on developing critical and creative thinkers, this effort represents the University’s commitment to institutional improvement, and provides a long-term focus for faculty and staff professional development and student learning.
This installment in the series features Dr. Bill Staddon, associate professor of biological sciences:
Q: In what ways have you been involved with the EKU QEP, Read with Purpose?
A: I am a member of the QEP Implementation Team. This past semester I took part in a professional learning community that addressed critical reading.
Q: In what ways is the QEP relevant to your discipline?
A: In biology, critical reading skills are necessary for understanding textbooks and scientific papers. The challenge with biology textbooks is that, while they are meant to be clear to students, their texts are information and vocabulary rich, presenting a challenge to students. In contrast, scientific papers are often cryptic to students as they are written for professionals in the field in a concise and sometimes confusing manner.
Q: In what ways has QEP professional development impacted your teaching?
A: The PLC has given me a lot to think about. Up to this point I was learning how to teach critical reading through trial and error. The PLC has given me some new strategies to try in the classroom.
Q: What impact will the QEP having on student learning in your discipline?
A: I think that if faculty are able to participate in faculty development associated with the QEP, they will find themselves introduced to variety of new approaches to teaching critical reading.
Q: How does the QEP benefit the campus community?
A: The QEP brings a unifying focus to campus, allowing faculty with the same interests to come together in groups like PLCs.
Q: How will you continue to promote critical reading in your courses, discipline, or across the University?
A: I recently began planning for an upper-division course based on critically reading scientific literature. I now think I have a better sense of how to make such a course work.