“Everyone thinks; it is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed or down-right prejudiced. Yet the quality of our life and that of what we produce, make, or build depends precisely on the quality of our thought. Shoddy thinking is costly, both in money and in quality of life. Excellence in thought, however, must be systematically cultivated.” –Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools
What is the Quality Enhancement Plan?
The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is a multi-year project intended to enhance the quality of higher education and improve student learning. Our accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) requires that the college undertake such a project as part of our reaffirmation process.
What is the QEP topic for El Centro?
El Centro College’s topic is "CT3: Critically Thinking Things Through," in which we define critical thinking as “a disciplined and continuous process of asking the right questions and practicing logical thought processes to come to justifiable conclusions."
Why did El Centro choose this topic?
A part of the mission of El Centro College is to provide “opportunities responsive to the academic, workforce, and personal needs of our diverse community.” In today’s dynamic economy, employers are increasingly on the lookout for creative problem-solvers. Thus, we as a college deem it crucial to produce adaptable graduates who are able to think critically and reflectively. Within the years allotted for the QEP, El Centro will more intensively explore ways to explicitly encourage critical thinking; in turn, this will result in students who are better prepared to grow and take full value from their learning experiences.
Who at El Centro is involved in the QEP?
Everyone! The QEP is a community-wide initiative. Students will be doing their part by completing a variety of assignments that focus on different aspects of critical thinking. In addition, faculty will present lessons and assignments that guide students in learning skills relevant to the QEP topic. Staff will provide support in the promotion of the topic, as well as in the collection and assessment of student artifacts.
How will the QEP be implemented?
As mentioned above, faculty from any and all disciplines will create unique assignments that focus on (and challenge) their students’ ability to think critically. Once the students complete these assignments, a random sampling will be collected and assessed by a team of faculty and staff. Based on these assessment results, the QEP committee –and the college as a whole –will determine ways to improve in developing our students’ critical thinking skills.