The QEP Spotlight continues its 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 of QEP Spotlight features CEC Coordinator for the Noel Studio Chaise Robinson.
1. In what ways have you been involved with the EKU QEP, Read with Purpose?
The EKU QEP Read with Purpose has always been deeply aligned with our goals here at the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity. Reading with purpose is a fundamental part of good writing and being an active and engaged learner. Regardless of the degree program or course, reading critically is an important part of understanding and then applying knowledge. We continuously strive to emphasize this in the Noel Studio, in both our General Consulting and Course-Embedded Consulting programs. In my time as a Course-Embedded Consultant, I’ve been involved with the QEP in my one-on-one sessions with students, helping them dissect and analyze the readings they encounter in their ENG 101R and ENG 102R courses. In my role as CEC Coordinator, I’ve integrated the QEP into our training materials by structuring seminars around targeting reading skills as much as we target writing skills. We target reading skills by encouraging consultants to look for instances in a student’s writing that signal a misunderstanding of the text, as well as create seminars that have CECs themselves engage in a text and practice these critical reading skills to then bring to their consultations.
2. What impact is the QEP having on your own learning?
I am currently pursuing an M.F.A. in Creative Writing through the Bluegrass Writers Studio and reading with purpose is a key component of my everyday work as a student of writing. One of the best ways to better yourself as a writer is through reading with purpose — reading to discover the “tricks” up the sleeves of other successful writers and implement those strengths into our own work. In my program, we frequently deeply analyze other writer’s works to observe the parts that make up the machine; looking at a writer’s style, voice, imagery and symbolism, structure, form, and more, with the purpose of learning from them what makes effective writing. In the summers, the Bluegrass Writers Studio invites a wide variety of writers to come and discuss their craft with us in lectures, giving us the opportunity to hear from the writer’s themselves about their process and techniques. Reading with purpose goes deeper than even just reading to understand or to analyze — reading with purpose gives us the opportunity to unveil the techniques behind the curtain to improve our own writing, and that’s the core of what we study in the M.F.A. program.
3. In what ways has QEP professional development impacted your work with students in the Noel Studio?
When working with students, we practice annotating and effective note-taking skills, and talk through ideas and main points to analyze and dig deeper into the readings we encounter. Even just talking through a reading together is a part of reading with purpose — taking part in those larger discussions that the readings are a part of and seeing how these ideas are connected to what we’re learning in the course. To me, there’s nothing more exciting than seeing that lightbulb moment happen for a student, where the words on the page no longer seem intimidating or foreign and that deeper meaning comes through for the student. I think that’s the core of the EKU QEP, to teach students that we can make what seems hidden and unknowable underneath difficult or complex readings come to the surface through being active readers.
4. In what ways do you see the QEP supporting student learning at EKU?
Being a critical reader is something that goes far beyond ENG 101 and ENG 102. In every degree and career path, there’s a need to be an engaged learner; and being able to read critically to understand, analyze and apply the information being given to you is a universally sought-after skill. Emphasizing reading with purpose for our students is helping set them up for academic and career success, as many modern-day workforces are looking for applicants with strong critical thinking skills. Being active readers develops our critical thinking skills by having us engage deeply with a text to interpret and utilize a source, and this ability to critically analyze information is a transferable skill for so many different aspects of life, especially in an ever-growing digital world where we are constantly being confronted with information we must analyze for ourselves. The QEP seeks to set students up for long-term success, as critical reading is a life-changing skill.