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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 Joshua Reichert, Assistant Professor in the Department of Fire Protection and Paramedicine Sciences at EKU.

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

A: First I was a student of Read with Purpose, now I am a facilitator of the cause. When I came to EKU to teach in 2016, I had never heard of ‘read with purpose’. I sat through a few lectures and talked with colleagues in the library and started to hear more about it. I have become a large proponent of it because I found out very quickly how much students need to enhance their ability to critically read.

Q: In what ways is the QEP relevant to your discipline?

A: Fire protection is very broad. There are very few solutions that fit across all applications. It takes critical thinking and solid understanding of fire dynamics, building construction, and human behavior to provide adequate life safety. All the tools are there to create innovative solutions, it takes creative thinking. By teaching my students to critically read and ask questions, it allows them to broaden their mind to find adequate solutions to meet the goal of life safety.

Q: In what ways has QEP professional development impacted your teaching?

A: There is so much information available to students. While 16 weeks may seem like a lot of time, the amount of time I get with the students to teach them material always feels so limited. By challenging my students to critically read, it has allowed my students to ask better questions because their comprehension of the material has been enhanced. This means the amount of material my students are reading per semester has increased every semester since 2016.

Q: What impact is the QEP having on student learning in your discipline?

A: The students are getting more information and more knowledge. By requiring students to read more, they are getting to cover more content that I may not have time to cover in class. This has led to me being able to ask questions in class (or out of class) and students know the answers as opposed to me asking questions and students relying on past experiences. It has really enhanced the overall class experience.

Q: How does the QEP benefit the campus community?

A: I think having initiatives such as this is beneficial for both faculty and students. The more knowledge that can be shared and acquired within the campus community only makes the education output more efficient and more effective.

Q: How will you continue to promote critical reading in your courses, discipline, or across the university?

A: I find myself quite often promoting critical reading even without thinking about it. There are times I have students come to me with a question (whether in my class, not in my class, or in a different discipline all together) and I am encouraging them to critical read. Most students have the material available to them to find answers to their questions, it is getting them to ask the right questions to fully comprehend the material. I will continue to do this for any student that knocks on my door or sits next to me at the library. I will also continue to support and attend classes at the Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning to keep myself up to date and in practice.