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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 Trenia Napier, associate university librarian and Noel Studio associate director, programs and outreach at EKU:

Q: In what ways have you been involved with the EKU QEP, Read with Purpose?

A: The seeds of my involvement with EKU’s Read with Purpose QEP began prior to its official adoption and implementation. In 2015, Dr. Lisa Bosley (now QEP Co-director) began providing critical reading instruction to the Noel Studio’s consultants and course-embedded consultants (CECs). Each semester, I participated in Dr. Bosley’s training sessions alongside our consultants, helping them make connections between critical reading and writing. Each semester, I also made my own connections between critical reading and information literacy.

With the 2017 launch of Read with Purpose, I became more intentional in my efforts to incorporate critical reading pedagogy into my library instruction sessions and workshops. I also pursued opportunities to build critical reading programming and outreach through collaborative partnerships between EKU Libraries, the Noel Studio, and the QEP. For example, with the support of QEP co-directors Dr. Jill Parrott and Dr. Lisa Bosley, I directed Noel Studio consultants in developing and leading critical reading workshops for students as part of the Read with Purpose Kick-Off. Since then, I have attended several QEP professional development opportunities, partnered with faculty and librarians to develop and facilitate programmatic approaches that incorporate critical reading practices and co-facilitated workshops, presentations and faculty panels that focused on the intersections between critical reading and information literacy.

Q: In what ways is the QEP relevant to your work as a librarian?

A: Librarians are uniquely positioned to help students access, evaluate, understand and make use of information within and across disciplines. Critical reading is intrinsically linked to information literacy and the research process, which is at its core an interactive and reflective practice of recursive inquiry, personal knowledge construction and meaning-making. Furthermore, librarians are dedicated to supporting students in becoming independent, self-regulated learners through metacognitive and purposeful engagement with our rich and diverse information ecosystem. This work is directly aligned with the QEP’s focus on purposeful inquiry, metacognitive strategies and deep learning.

Q: In what ways has QEP professional development impacted your work in the EKU libraries?

A: QEP professional development encourages me to continuously explore the synergistic relationship between critical reading and information literacy, empowering me to participate in programmatic conversations, collaborations and initiatives that acknowledge and support this relationship. For example, during the summer of 2018, Clay Howard, reference and instruction team leader librarian, Dr. Kevin Jones, reference and instruction librarian and I partnered with Dr. Jill Parrott, QEP co-director and First-Year Writing Coordinator to develop an integrated curriculum for ENG 102: Research, Writing and Rhetoric that makes the connections between critical reading and information literacy explicit. Initially piloted by three classroom instructors across five sections of ENG 102 and one section of ENG 102R during the Fall 2018, the curriculum was opened to all ENG 102/102R instructors for Spring 2019.

Q: What impact is the QEP having on student learning at EKU?

A: Existing research and my own experiences indicate many of the obstacles students face when immersed in academic inquiry and research are rooted in a lack of training and experience with the deep, critical reading demanded of them by the difficult and diverse texts they encounter. Within the Libraries, the QEP’s focus and training on critical reading prepares librarians to better guide students through such obstacles by supporting us in incorporating critical reading pedagogies into workshops, instruction sessions and individual research interactions, while simultaneously preparing students to be more critical seekers, consumers and producers of information. For example, the pilot of the ENG 102 critical reading curriculum developed by EKU librarians, the First-Year Writing program (FYW) and the QEP offered anecdotal evidence that applying a simple “Think-Aloud” to critically reading a library database screen transforms the way students approach this non-traditional text, leading to more reflective and intentional search strategies.

Q: How does the QEP benefit the campus community?

A: Dr. Gill Hunter and Matt Schumacher kicked off the 2018-19 Colonel Leadership Network in fall 2018 by asking participants to consider the differences between institutions of higher learning that seek to admit “college-ready students” and those that seek to be “student-ready colleges.” Read with Purpose affirms the EKU campus community’s commitment to being a “student-ready college” –a paradigm that, when fully embraced, supports the success of all students.

Q: How will you continue to promote critical reading in your work for EKU libraries?

A: I will continue to assess and revise the ENG 102 critical reading curriculum through formal assessment, informal dialogue and the growing body of research on critical reading and information literacy. I also anticipate the experiences of Noel Studio course-embedded consultants placed in supported sections of ENG 102R, a new development for the 2018-19 academic year, will have a significant impact on my work as EKU Libraries’ liaison to FYW. Finally, several of my EKU Libraries colleagues and I are participating in the spring 2019 “Teaching Disciplinary Ways of Reading” PLC with Dr. Lisa Bosley, which is sure to influence the work we all do for EKU Libraries.