The Center for Teaching Excellence in cooperation with the QEP Taskforce introduced a bold initiative at the recent Lunch and Learn
April 4, 2016 – The QEP began with the goals of supporting a Christian worldview and improving students’ abilities to think critically. To date, the QEP taskforce has met those goals by developing and implementing LAR 2514 Christ-Centered Critical Thinking, defining critical thinking, and taking steps to integrate faith and learning.
The Center for Teaching Excellence in cooperation with the QEP Taskforce introduced a bold initiative at the recent Lunch and Learn – to establish a community whose thinking is powered by Christ and that promotes critical thinking across the disciplines at Shorter University. We asked questions such as: “To what extent do the various academic disciplines at Shorter University share common critical thinking principles and goals?” “How can the basic concepts of critical thinking be integrated and/or made more explicit in our respective disciplines?” “How do we move from critical thinking to wisdom?” Both students and faculty in attendance affirmed past efforts while offering suggestions for improvement and future accomplishments.
Achievement of these goals will involve reflecting on current practices with an eye toward improving the quality of learning, engaging together in activities aimed toward accomplishing shared goals, and redesigning our practices to foster critical thinking at the general education and discipline-specific levels. Questions remain concerning the meanings of Christian worldview and the integration of faith and learning. These questions will be the topic of our next Lunch and Learn scheduled for April 11, 2016.
Students take part in a fall 2014 QEP seminar led by Dr. Carissa Smith of Charleston-Southern University.
We are excited about Christ-Centered Critical Thinking at Shorter University!
Definition: Christ-centered critical thinking analyzes, synthesizes, and evaluates the tension between truth and experience as we pursue wisdom through a biblical worldview.
Motto: Thinking powered by Christ
Christ-Centered Critical Thinking is Shorter University’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that focuses on promoting a Christ-centered worldview and on improving critical thinking skills. This is a unique approach to enhancing the quality of our students’ critical thinking skills through the lens of Christ’s teachings.
Take a moment to learn more about our plan to stimulate Christ-Centered Critical Thinking.
What is a QEP, and why is it important?
The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is the component of the accreditation process that reflects and affirms the commitment of the Commission on Colleges to the enhancement of the quality of higher education and to the proposition that student learning is at the heart of the mission of all institutions of higher learning.
By definition, the QEP describes a carefully designed course of action that addresses a well-defined and focused topic or issue related to enhancing student learning. The QEP should be embedded within the institution’s ongoing integrated institution-wide planning and evaluation process and may very well evolve from this existing process or from other processes related to the institution’s internal reaffirmation review. (QEP Handbook, 3)
“Prior to the beginning of spring semester, I was extremely nervous about taking the Christ-centered critical thinking course based on other students’ reports of the difficulty of the class. Surprisingly, Christ-centered critical thinking turns out to be my favorite class I am taking this semester. I really enjoy the in-depth class discussions and debates.”
~ Student, 2014
How does Christ-Centered Critical Thinking support Shorter’s Mission and Educational Principles?
Our QEP focus, Christ-Centered Critical Thinking, evolved from broad-based involvement in chosen topic themes, from institutional research, and from a strong desire to fulfill Shorter University’s mission, as quoted below.
Philosophy for Christian Education
Shorter University is a Christ-centered liberal arts university dedicated to academic excellence within the context of a biblical worldview. As a Christian university, Shorter is committed to keeping an emphasis upon a biblically sound, integrated, faith-based education that promotes a zeal for academic, spiritual, and professional growth. The educational process of teaching and learning involves the whole person, and Shorter is committed to the principle that all truth comes from God and finds its fullest expression in the person of Jesus Christ. Shorter University deeply cares about the academic and spiritual development of its students and believes that students should be challenged academically and spiritually to impact culture. By providing an educational process intent on transforming lives through Jesus Christ, Shorter University seeks to glorify God through students equipped for lifelong servant leadership.
“Being forced to approach very controversial topics from a variety of viewpoints that may not have been my own have taught me to understand and accept opinions of others without having to agree with them. I have learned to not only think about what others think, but also to ask myself why they think that. I feel that this not only helps me to be more respectful in conversation, but also to help me to develop my own opinions and arguments more effectively.” ~ Student, 2014
Our organizational brand and educational philosophy are reflective of and are permeated by the timeless truths of Jesus Christ. Shorter University is committed to a broad-based liberal arts education, believing it is not only a task, but a calling to seek truth and to apply that truth in the marketplace of life. Christ-centered scholarship has its foundation in the biblical command to love God with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind (Mark 12:30) and must be pursued in every field of study.
Our Christ-Centered Critical Thinking QEP also meets all our Educational Principles designed to fulfill the mission. Shorter University provides a curriculum and educational environment that:
I. Effectively immerses students in the historical, scientific, and cultural bases for contemporary civilization by combining intellectual discovery with criticalthinking.
II. Engages students in a discussion of the values that bind together our society in general and the Christian community in particular.
III. Ensures that students reach the levels of skill in written and oral communication, mathematics, technology, and information literacy necessary to take full advantage of college coursework and that they continue to exercise and enlarge these skills.
IV. Persuades students of the value of integrating knowledge and of forming relationshipsamong courses and between acquired knowledge and new ideas.
V. Promotes in students the habit of acting on their responsibilities as members of oursociety and of the world community.
VI. Promotes in students the habit of enriching their lives through art and through religion.
VIII. Prepares students for careers or for further education.
I’ve gained intellectual courage and humility, which has helped me to pursue greater knowledge and understanding. I’ve realized that I need to be clearer in speech and gain more confidence in reason. Through this process I believe that what I’ve learned in this class has made me a better thinker, but more importantly has put me on a path to continue to improve my thinking skills throughout the rest of my life.” ~ Student, 2014
Our learning objectives
Three learner outcomes were set, as follows:
The student will demonstrate application of a Christ-centered worldview for ethical decision-making.
Using a Christ-centered worldview, the student will apply the intellectual standards to the elements of reasoning, as defined by The Foundation for Critical Thinking.
The student will demonstrate growth in intellectual traits of critical thinking, as defined by The Foundation for Critical Thinking.
Shorter University QEP Committee
Dr. Earl Kellett
Chair, Quality Enhancement Program Taskforce
Mrs. Mary Corbin
Administrative Assistant to the Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Dr. Cassandra Johnson
Chair, Communication Arts
Assistant Professor of Communication
Dr. Angie O’Neal
Chair of English, Modern Languages and Liberal Arts
Associate Professor of English
Dr. Gregory Poore
Assistant Professor of Liberal Arts
Dr. John Reams
Chair, Department of Music, Theatre, Dance
Assistant Professor of Music – Woodwinds
Dr. Kathi Vosevich
Associate Provost and Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
Associate Professor of English
Director, Honors Academy
Dr. Aisha Williams
Assistant Professor of Human Services