The procedure for selecting the QEP Learning Initiative involved input from faculty members across the entire campus as well as from staff and alumni. Included was a “bottom-up” process in which any member of the faculty or staff was given the opportunity to propose a learning initiative and participate in the selection process.
• Campus-wide conversations were held about improving student learning. The goal was to solicit broad-based input by encouraging members of the University community to submit ideas to the Leadership Committee, the Compliance Committee, or the QEP Committee, as well as by completing an electronic submission and/or by attending Town Hall Meetings. Town Hall meetings were conducted for faculty and staff to solicit ideas for the QEP on the following dates: October 5, October 9, October 17, October 27 and November 1, 2007.
• The University Faculty Senate and Staff Council were involved in encouraging faculty and staff to attend the Town Hall meetings and in informing faculty and staff about the meetings. The Academic Policy Council (APC) was informed about the QEP and encouraged to help publicize the QEP process.
• To reach as broad an audience as possible, the Associate Vice Presidents of Academic Affairs met with various groups to discuss the QEP and request input. The Associate Vice Presidents for Academic Affairs met with the Academic Program Council, the Alumni Board, and the Council of Academic Deans to discuss the QEP, to solicit ideas, and to inform the committees about the QEP process.
• A request for additional faculty input was made through the academic deans. Specifically, faculty were asked by e-mail, “If there is one thing you could do to improve student learning on the SHSU campus, what would it be?”. Subsequently, a website was created to encourage faculty and staff to contact the Leadership Committee, the Compliance Committee, or the QEP Committee to submit ideas.
• After collecting the suggestions, the QEP Committee narrowed the list to six ideas. Each of the six ideas was assigned to a member of the QEP Committee to develop. Their task was to outline the basic strategy for implementing the idea and identifying potential sources of data to substantiate the educational need. Based on the respective presentations and looking at the data supporting each of the ideas, the QEP Committee selected three prospective QEP topics: reading, writing, and mastery of science. Three programs that addressed these concerns were then chosen: Common Reader Program, Writing to Succeed, and Foundations of Science. For each of these three ideas, a one-page synopsis was developed and distributed to all faculty by e-mail. The three programs were then presented at college-wide meetings by program “champions.” Faculty members were given a chance to ask questions about each of the suggested QEPs. A survey was sent to the faculty to determine the level of faculty appeal for each of the three plans. After analyzing the data, the QEP Committee selected the Foundations of Science option for the QEP.
• During Spring 2008, Dr. Marcus Gillespie was named chair of the reconstituted QEP Committee. This committee was charged with the task of fully designing the new course, developing an assessment process, and coordinating efforts between faculty and administrators. The primary goal of the QEP is to enhance the scientific reasoning abilities of non-science majors. The committee contained representatives from each of the natural science departments, as well as colleagues involved in the general sciences.