This is another in a series of interviews with 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 QEP Spotlight series features Jackie Jay, professor of history in the Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies.
Q: In what ways have you been involved with the EKU QEP, Read with Purpose?
A: As a faculty member in the Department of History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies I have integrated the QEP into my teaching and worked with other History faculty to incorporate critical reading into our department-wide assessment practices. As the co-chair of the Academic Planning and Assessment Committee, I have had the opportunity to work with other academic programs as they developed their own critical reading assessments.
Q: In what ways is the QEP relevant to your discipline?
A: The critical reading of primary source documents and secondary source scholarship is a foundational skill of the discipline of history. Moreover, as the discipline has evolved, historians have become ever more aware of their metacognitive processes in reading their source material. How do our subjective experiences influence our approach and the research questions we ask? The importance of considering these factors and making them explicit in our scholarly work has become a key area of focus in recent years.
Q: In what ways has QEP professional development impacted your teaching?
A: Like all of my fellow History faculty members, teaching students the skills needed to critically read historical documents in order to develop arguments from them has always been a key focus of my teaching in Gen Ed and History program classes alike. QEP workshops have introduced me to new strategies for teaching these skills. For example, I spend more time modeling how I approach sources myself, and I explicitly tell my students what we’re doing, and why, as we walk through a text step-by-step.
Q: What impact is the QEP having on student learning in your discipline?
A: The QEP has been the impetus for a number of History faculty discussions regarding what specific elements in a student research paper might show the student’s ability to critically read texts. These discussions have impacted the kinds of instruction we give to our students, which in turn positively affects their research and writing.
Q: How does the QEP benefit the campus community?
A: It’s been fascinating to see how the QEP has fostered discussion across the disciplines and created common ground across the university among students and faculty alike. I recently participated in the QEP Faculty Forum and found it to be a remarkable demonstration of the wide reach of the QEP.
Q: How will you continue to promote critical reading in your courses, discipline, or across the university?
As we start to see the results from QEP assessment of students’ developing skills in this area, I’m eager to see how we can continue to improve our initial steps. How can we continue to refine our teaching to cultivate these critical skills?