This is another in a series of interviews with staff, faculty, administrators, and students 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 QEP Spotlight series features EKU Associate Professor in the Department of Government, Dr. Anne Cizmar.
1. In what ways have you been involved with the EKU QEP, Read with Purpose?
I have been involved with EKU’s QEP Read with Purpose in multiple ways. As an instructor, I have incorporated reading strategies into my classes to help students grapple with complex reading assignments. As a scholar, I have researched methods for increasing reading compliance and student success.
2. In what ways has QEP professional development impacted your teaching and learning?
The QEP focused my attention on strategies to improve discipline-specific reading skills among our students. There are some strategies for reading political science texts that I acquired throughout my career. The QEP demonstrated techniques I could use to teach those same skills to our students. I think that has improved my students’ reading compliance and ability to take away important content from the assigned texts. Additionally, I completed a QEP Leadership Grant project with an undergraduate student at EKU to compare various methods of increasing student reading compliance and student learning. The manuscript is currently under review at a peer-reviewed pedagogical teaching outlet. Completing the project was a great experience for the undergraduate research assistant and co-author who worked with me on the project, and also informed my teaching practices in the classroom.
3. What impact is the QEP having on student learning in your discipline?
The dissemination of empirical research findings through peer-reviewed journal outlets and academic books is a core part of the political science discipline. It is critical that all political science students develop basic skills at reading and understanding academic research. The QEP’s focus on training students to read across disciplines and different types of texts through metacognitive strategies greatly assists with this critical objective.
4. How has the QEP benefited the campus community?
It gave a great opportunity for the campus community to better understand our students and see ways that we could assist them in deep learning across disciplines and programs. The QEP, with the focus on reading skills, touched every program and class across the campus. The beauty of the Read with Purpose QEP is that the QEP is general — it is applicable to all classes and programs across campus — but also specific — it can be tailored to the unique goals of each discipline.
5. How will you continue to promote critical reading in your courses, discipline, or across the university?
Everything I have learned in the past five years about metacognitive reading strategies is now ingrained in my teaching style. The techniques I have learned in training students to read for political science have become second nature in the classroom. I look forward to continuing these practices and helping our students achieve strong reading skills for years to come.