QEP to be introduced Fall 2016

May 12, 2016


Staff Reporter | jmp073@latech.edu




Louisiana Tech will launch a communication-enhancing program in Fall 2016 designed specifically for incoming freshmen. This program, part of the Quality Enhancement Program, will address the lack of communication skills possessed by graduates entering the workforce.



As part of the staff at the BARC, Stacy Gilbert participated in the work groups which collaborated together to create the QEP.



Gilbert said the QEP was created to strengthen the skills employers look for most in graduates.



“Work employers felt one of the things college students need coming out of college was the enhancement of oral communication skills,” Gilbert said. “The focus of this plan is communication but with a partnership with the First-Year Experience course.”



Gilbert said the FYE course will replace university seminar and will broaden the content taught in the course.



“This FYE course is no longer a college survival course; it’s a life-surviving course,” Gilbert said. “The FYE course will use communication language to connect classes so that students can build on these skills throughout their college career.”



Over the last three quarters, Gilbert and instructor of communication Lisa Merritt have been co-teaching in order to give a trial-and-error run of the companion course offered by the QEP.



The QEP can be broken down into four components: companion courses, BARC COMMons, professional development of faculty, and Blue Fire Mentors.


Merritt said communication is the common thread throughout all the components of QEP.



“The BARC COMMons will be a tutoring center for presentations similar to the writing center which is a tutoring center for papers,” Merritt said. “The professional development of faculty component will hopefully encourage faculty to be more engaging and Blue Fire Mentors is a program for students to learn by teaching other students.”



Communication 101 will take the place of Speech 110 and Speech 377. Twenty-one sections of Comm 101 will be offered each quarter next year.



Dean of the Liberal Arts College Donald Kaczvinsky said redesigning the Comm 101 course was a separate process outside of the QEP until the focus groups revealed the importance of students learning communications skills at the beginning of their careers.



“Comm 101 and the First-Year Experience course became a natural wedding,” Kaczvinsky said. “Both courses would be co-requisites for freshmen.”



Hope Johnston is a freshman communication major and attended one of the piloted Comm 101 courses, co-taught by Gilbert and Merritt during the winter quarter.



Johnston said she originally attended the class without knowing she wanted to be a communication major.



“This class really helped me find what I wanted to do with my life and find my major,” Johnston said. “Making it required would be very helpful for all upcoming freshmen.”



Merritt said communication is a reflection of self and is important for freshmen who are in a crucial transitional phase of their lives.



“The huge part of the QEP is getting students engaged in the university, finding their place, finding out about themselves,” Merritt said.


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