Old Dominion University will host a virtual town hall for faculty and staff about the University's second Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP): Information Fluency through Critical Reading.

The event will be held on Zoom during Activity Hour, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Nov. 16. Registration is required; here's the LINK.

The town hall will outline the timeline and key signposts for the new QEP process, which coincides with ODU's reaffirmation process. Faculty are encouraged to add their insight to the process, specifically what initiatives they would like to see included in a campus-wide analysis of issues related to learners' engagement with multimodal content and media.

The issue is vital as our increasingly connected societal discourse is global, faster and - as we have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic - frequently a conduit for misinformation. Instilling in Old Dominion students the skills needed to consume material critically can help them succeed in the classroom and become more informed citizens.

The organization which oversees ODU's 2023 reaffirmation, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), requires that institutions develop a QEP-focused on student learning as part of the accreditation process.

During the 2020-21 academic year, a QEP committee was convened, conducted surveys, solicited and selected proposals from the ODU community about the next QEP topic. Proposals by two faculty teams (Information Fluency Team: Sue Kimmel, Lucinda Wittkower, Vukica Jovanovic and Megan Mize; Critical Reading Team: Brandon Butler, Mary Still and D.E. Wittkower) were merged to create ODU's next QEP.

QEP campus co-chairs Remica Bingham-Risher and Yvette Pearson are eager to hear more from their faculty colleagues on this new QEP.

"I am excited about augmenting our ability to collectively enhance students' learning experiences," said Pearson, professor of philosophy, "and to fostering University-wide collaboration as we develop and implement our QEP for 2023."

Bingham-Risher, director of ODU QEP initiatives, is hopeful that this process can continue to "shape and shift" student learning at ODU. "I'm personally interested in reflection as a means of processing experiences, as I've seen just how asking others to reflect on their learning can help them evaluate and apply what they've experienced."

The previous QEP, Improving Disciplinary Writing, enhanced upper-division undergraduate students' skills by focusing on writing that demonstrated a reasoning process supported by research and reflection on any given subject. It had a significant impact, reaching more than 400 faculty members and will also continue as the next QEP endeavor is being designed.

As part of that first QEP process, 23 five-day faculty development workshops were held. Those who attended impacted nearly 24,000 students. In addition, an Improving Disciplinary Writing Action Project was awarded nearly $3 million from the National Sciences Foundation to support a program by faculty researchers Jennifer Kidd and Stacie Ringleb to teach engineering lessons at local elementary schools.

"I've worked with faculty who've taken part in the QEP: Improving Disciplinary Writing workshops and action projects to help design assignments that prepare students for life beyond ODU, that ask them to imagine how what they've learned in their courses will be useful to them well beyond their time with us," Bingham-Risher said.

She's hopeful that the next QEP will follow the faculty development model that has helped broaden the scope of ODU's student learning endeavors. "We're building from the ground up, so I look forward to what our campus community will develop together," Bingham-Risher said.

For more information about the Information Fluency through Critical Reading QEP or the Nov. 16 town hall, contact Bingham-Risher (rbingham@odu.edu), Pearson (ypearson@odu.edu) or see the Old Dominion QEP WEBSITE.

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