The Quality Enhancement Project (QEP) is a required element of Mid-Continent University’s self-study process for reaffirmation of accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). SACS Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) defines the Quality Enhancement Project as a “carefully designed course of action that addresses a well-defined and focused topic or issue related to enhance student learning” and is an opportunity for MCU “to enhance overall institutional quality and effectiveness” and “improve student learning” (SACSCOC QEP Handbook).
The focus of Mid-Continent’s QEP is “to enhance students' critical thinking skills as a guide for belief and action in their lives.” The title of our QEP is IMPACT: Improving Mid-Continent’s Practical Application of Critical Thinking.
Mid-Continent University defines critical thinking as “…the process of analyzing, assimilating, appraising, and applying information.” There are four vital components: (A) Analyzing, (B) Assimilating, (C) Appraising, and (D) Applying.
Analyzing: Analysis of basic components and concepts is the first portion of the IMPACT plan. Successful critical thinkers should be able to consistently use this component in all your course assignments. They should consistently develop well-reasoned conclusions and solutions as well as consistently test outcomes against relevant criteria and standards. Analysis enables critical thinkers to compare and contrast ideas, identify alternate solutions to one problem, or differentiate the pros and cons of a theory or idea. Analysis allows critical thinkers to think through a biblical worldview and understand how and why they believe.
Assimilating: Assimilation is the ability to analyze data, prioritize relevant information, and use abstract reasoning to effectively interpret information. Critical thinkers use investigation to skills to gather information and demonstrate this ability in their education and decision-making processes.
Appraising/Applying: Appraisal and the application of information make judgments about the value of information. Critical thinkers should consistently make judgments based on the evidence of research and standard practices as well as communicate findings and solutions based on established criteria. Critical thinkers take the source a step further and appraise the source to see if the information will IMPACT their lives. They go above and beyond facts and actually evaluate data and information to let it IMPACT their education and decision-making processes.
Enabling all faculty—online, adjunct, traditional, accelerated—to incorporate critical thinking activities in their class. We do this by requiring their participation in development activities such as:
1. Monthly webinars
2. Online course
3. Regional workshops for adjuncts
4. Full time faculty workshop before each semester
|Student critical thinking skills||
CAAP critical thinking test
2 traditional classes2 Advantage face to face cohorts
Beginning freshman yearEnd of sophomore year
|Student critical thinking skills||Student writing assignment scored on a nationally normed rubric by faculty from another Christian college.||
English Comp I (Freshmen)Christian Ministries 4203 (Seniors)
|Impact of course activities on student critical thinking skills||Faculty-designed rubric to assess critical thinking writing assignments||Within all courses that have added a critical thinking component.|
|Faculty curricular and teaching innovations||Faculty self-report of new activities.||Each June.|
|Impact of development activities (workshops, webinars, online course)||Evaluation of activities to include question about how faculty will use that they learned in their classes.||At the end of each development activity|