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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 EKU 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 Dr. Sara Incera, assistant professor, Department of Psychology. 

Q: In what ways have you been involved with the EKU QEP, Read with Purpose?
A: I started by participating in the spring 2018 PLC which led me to apply for a QEP leadership grant. The grant provided funds to support an undergraduate research assistant who has run a university-wide survey about critical reading. I have also helped English Professor Lisa Bosley develop the Motivation to Read Workshop, which I highly recommend.

Q: In what ways is the QEP relevant to your discipline?
A: I am a cognitive psychologist who specializes in language. Critical reading is an important part of my research program. Investigating what it means to read critically is one of the areas of research I focus on that has direct practical applications.

Q: In what ways has QEP professional development impacted your teaching?
A: I assign challenging readings in all of my classes. Through the QEP, I have been able to provide additional guidance on how to approach these readings. Helping my students better understand the materials is an important aspect of my teaching efforts.

Q: What impact is the QEP having on student learning in your discipline?
A: It is my impression that when students are able to decode their reading materials, they have a much better learning experience. In asking them to “do something” with the reading, I am ensuring they actively read the content they are assigned. In addition, I am helping them create connections and apply this somewhat abstract information in new ways.

Q: How does the QEP benefit the campus community?
A: I believe that helping students engage with their readings is crucial across all disciplines. Ensuring our students are lifelong readers, as opposed to simply complying with our class requirements, is an important endeavor worth pursuing. We want to make sure we help our students see value in the materials we are asking them to read. It is important to keep them interested and to show them how their efforts pay off.

Q: How will you continue to promote critical reading in your courses, discipline, or across the university?
A: I plan to share the interesting results of our campus survey through posters, presentations and talks about critical reading. It comes as no surprise, but experts in specific disciplines have differing opinions regarding what critical reading behaviors are most effective for their students. Therefore, it might be useful to have an interdisciplinary approach in mind when creating professional development opportunities for critical reading.