February 23, 2015
In a broad-based, campus-wide effort, Texas Tech University will implement a new Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) in 2016-2020 for undergraduate students. As part of the SACSCOCS reaccreditation process, the QEP is designed to improve communications skills and awareness on a global scale.
“Our students are graduating into a world that reflects a more diverse and culturally rich workplace,” Texas Tech President M. Duane Nellis said. “Not only must we prepare them in the classrooms and labs, but also create an environment reflective of the world in which they will be employed. It is essential we provide them the communication tools necessary for the most productive career experience possible.”
Titled “Bear Our Banners Far and Wide: Communicating in a Global Society,” Texas Tech faculty, staff, students and stakeholders all joined the effort of collecting and contributing to the decision-making process of how the QEP topic would be selected.
Guided by Texas Tech's mission statement, which is “dedicated to student success by preparing learners to be ethical leaders for a diverse and globally competitive workforce,” members of the Texas Tech community had two specific goals in mind to improve students' communication skills in an increasingly interrelated world.
“Texas Tech's QEP was developed to improve our undergraduate students' communication skills and their multicultural awareness so they can better function in our interconnected world,” said Gary Smith, Texas Tech's 2016 QEP proposal development committee chair. “Communication includes oral, visual and non-verbal in addition to writing, and we intend to provide our students with the necessary tools to allow them to communicate in a culturally informed and appropriate manner.”
The goals of QEP also align with the new Texas Core Curriculum objectives that include communication skills in every core course. With the new QEP and Texas Core Curriculum objectives, students will create works that demonstrate essential communication skills and global awareness.
The new objectives will require students to fulfill a three-hour multicultural course and six hours of the writing intensive course requirement, which is being changed to include other forms of communications and will be renamed the communication intensive course requirement.
Paige Lehmann, a senior philosophy major from Dallas and student member of the QEP development committee says this new QEP will improve Texas Tech in a variety of ways.
“The undergraduate student learning experience is the primary importance throughout the entire QEP planning process,” she said. “It is beneficial for the entire university because of what the project offers: a refined set of competitive skills, a more globally competent student and an eager acceptance of international experience by the student.”
To manage the curricular changes, training opportunities and assessment activities of the 2016-2020 QEP, Texas Tech will establish the Center for Global Communication. The center also will work with other entities on campus to develop and implement tools for measuring new student learning outcomes.
Texas Tech also will establish the Communication Tutoring Center (CTC) to create more instructional support for these curricular revisions. The CTC will complement Texas Tech's University Writing Center by providing tutoring sessions for students who want assistance with oral presentations and visual and multimedia projects.
“With the proliferation of the Internet, communication is more multi-modal,” said Kathleen Gillis, director of the University Writing Center and a member of the QEP development committee. “As a result, our graduates will need innovative and comprehensive instructional support in order to adapt to any communicative context, whether it be a business meeting in China or a legislative session in Austin.”
Texas Tech's first QEP (2005-2010), titled “Campus Conversation on Ethics,” addressed the university's mission statement by helping students develop a set of ethical standards to provide the needed guidance for making life-long decisions.
The 2005-2010 QEP focused on:
Texas Tech's Ethics Center was created out of the previous QEP to enhance the overall ethical culture on campus by promoting ethics education, facilitating ethics research, providing outreach and fostering discussion on ethical issues among Texas Tech students, faculty, staff and alumni. Texas Tech's Ethics Center remains a vital part of campus.
Once Texas Tech's 2016-2020 QEP proposal is reviewed, the university will begin its implementation of “Bear Our Banners Far and Wide: Communicating in a Global Society” in January 2016.
For more information about the 2016-2020 QEP, visit its website for more information.
Texas Tech also encourages students to show how they are interacting in a global society, such as sharing travel pictures, by using the #BearOurBanners hashtag.