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Quality Enhancement Plan to Focus on Transparent Instruction

HARROGATE, Tennessee, December 7, 2018—Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) is introducing a new Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) to increase student success through more transparent instruction. Faculty workshops will be available in spring 2019 with implementation in general education and gateway courses fall 2019. General education courses at LMU are those in the Lincoln Liberal Arts Core Curriculum while gateway courses are more challenging introductory courses which are key to a major career pathway. 

Dr. Jarstfer, Vice President for Academic Affairs, stated “this focused plan builds on several years of faculty and staff work and strategic initiatives to help students get the most from their LMU experience. The overall goal of this QEP is to increase student success. We see student success as engaged learning that leads to completing courses and graduating.” The QEP Steering Committee envisions that one of the major strategies to support student success is to help instructors make small modifications to some assignments in their courses which past research by others has shown to have a significant impact on student success. This should elevate and clarify the expectations in courses rather than lower performance expectations. 

As with LMU’s previous Quality Enhancement Plan, the QEP is a key component of LMU’s reaffirmation of accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and addresses the question “How can we help our students finish what they start and feel more confident as they work toward their goals?” 

In regards to the training process of this QEP, Dr. Kevin Cooper, Assistant Professor of Physics, remarks “It is my goal that students succeed both in my course and in their college career. Clarifying the purpose, tasks, and criteria of assignments in my courses will help my students to be more successful. The training and resources in our QEP are designed and chosen to aid instructors in making their assignments and courses more transparent to students.” 

This 5-year-long QEP seeks to strengthen learning experiences of all undergraduate students through transparent instruction. Transparent instruction methods will focus on helping students better understand why an assignment is important, exactly how to complete the assignment, and the criteria by which it will be graded. Faculty workshops will result in skills to modify existing assignments to address these three: components: Purpose, Tasks and Criteria. The motto is “We CAN see it clearly now!” 

According to Dr. Joanna Neilson, Chair of the Department of Humanities, “the QEP Steering committee hopes that as the 5-year rollout progresses, instructors will apply these approaches to all the courses they offer.” 

Research for the QEP confirmed that transparent instruction is beneficial to all students but especially first-generation students and other underserved populations that enter college at a disadvantage. First-generation students may lack family support, motivation and an understanding of what is expected, all of which often contribute to high failure rates. 

The QEP Steering Committee has worked for numerous months researching the topic and formulating a plan and is currently interviewing candidates for the QEP director position. Members include: Drs. Joanna Neilson, Kevin Cooper, Joshua Boone, Alexander Parks, Robin Wilson, Sandra Weems, Karen Carter, Martin Sellers, Travis Wright, Elizabeth Yagodzinski, Kala Perkins-Holtsclaw, Adam W. Rollins and Sandy Southern. Student members are Alisha Helton and Lucas Payne. 

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies.  The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423.869.6280 or email at [email protected].

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6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752