Kentucky Wesleyan College’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), WE–Writing through Engagement, will strengthen student writing. The ability to communicate effectively in writing is fundamental in today’s professional world. The WE QEP will improve student writing through three specific engagement experiences – (1) Internships, (2) Service-Learning, and (3) Research, Scholarly and Creative Work. Extensive research has demonstrated that integration of course content with practical experience engenders deeper and more meaningful learning, has positive influences on persistence, degree completion, and the development of skills, and promotes students’ personal development.
WE- Writing through Engagement has two overarching goals: (1) improve student writing through engagement and (2) prepare students to achieve success in life. The QEP focuses first and foremost on students; therefore, the goals are centered on eight student learning and student development outcomes that a variety of direct and indirect methods will assess. The assessment plan also will monitor Strategic Plan initiatives. Administration of the program will be housed in Academic Affairs, led by the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College (VPAA) who reports directly to the President. The QEP Director of Engagement and Director of Writing report to the VPAA and will provide leadership for the ongoing development, implementation, and assessment of Kentucky Wesleyan College’s QEP. They will ensure wide participation of faculty and students in the engagement activities and integration of the QEP within the institution.
The QEP plan is the result of input from all relevant campus constituencies. The composition of the committees involved in identifying the topic and developing and implementing the QEP represent a broad array of faculty, staff, students, administrators, and trustees. The topic represents an important need that aligns with the College’s mission, current and past Strategic Plans, an existing Title III grant, and concerns expressed from both students and faculty about how to improve student learning and student preparation for life. Institutional assessment data; National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) scores; results of student focus groups; examination of course syllabi; and faculty, staff, administrator, and student surveys demonstrated the need for improving student writing and providing opportunities for students to become more engaged in their education and preparation for life after college.
Integration of course content with practical experience and improving student demonstration of that integration through written communication align with Kentucky Wesleyan’s mission and Strategic Action Plans. WE- Writing through Engagement centers on what we know about teaching and learning: (1) the importance of writing to students’ future endeavors; (2) the effectiveness of experiential learning in deepening learning and making connections between classroom content and real world experience; (3) the improvements in student personal development and skills as a result of participation in these experiential learning situations; and (4) the increase in students becoming more confident in their abilities and career goals.