QEP 2005 Success Stories
Researching Congress in D.C. — Applied Methods in American Politics
Dr. Jocelyn Evans, chair and assistant professor of the UWF Department of Government, used a QEP grant to facilitate a course in which government students identified their own theoretical questions about the U.S. Congress and answered them through field research in Washington, D.C. The students were able to explore different types of research methods available to political scientists, as well as focus on the “ins and outs” of elite interviewing. Several of the students involved in the inaugural course made major strides after graduation: two went on to law school, and one has since graduated and opened a law firm; one student works for an academic publisher; and another student serves as the vice president of sales for a local chiropractic software company.
Development of ArgoJournals: The Journal of Undergraduate Research in Psychology and Behavioral Science
In the fall of 2005, members of the UWF Psychology Department proposed a Quality Enhancement Plan project for the development of an online undergraduate psychology research journal. They were able to complete the project, titled “The Journal of Undergraduate Research in Psychology and Behavioral Science,” on deadline, providing graduate students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of research design, report writing and critical thinking by serving as manuscript reviewers. There have been four volumes published thus far. Although the project was developed by the Psychology Department, they made it open to the entire university by creating ArgoJournals, an online collection of journals. It currently houses three units from multiple university departments: Psychology, Student Scholars Symposium (formerly known as SEASTARS) and Chemistry.
Engaging Graduate Students in Professional Presenting, Publishing and Procurement Experiences (P3 Project)
The Presenting, Procuring and Publishing (P3) project engaged College of Professional Studies graduate students in managing, writing and submitting authentic scholarly products utilizing project management skills spearheaded by the UWF Community Outreach Research and Learning (CORAL) Center. The project provided simulating paper competitions in three areas for UWF doctoral students and alumni, completed through the UWF Doctoral Research and Rigor (R&R) Program: Presenting a Conference Paper; Publishing an Article in a Journal; and/or Procuring Funding by Writing a Grant Proposal for Submission. Twenty-nine doctoral students and alumni and eight faculty members participated in the project during its first competition in 2008. Since then, several conferences have been hosted by the doctoral program, and the number of participants continues to increase. Dr. Carla Thompson, associate professor of Research and Advanced Studies, also initiated a grant writing workshop that has been offered every semester since the completion of the QEP project. To date, 63 participants have completed the workshop.
History Capstone Experience
From 2005-2006, faculty members from the Department of History created and implemented a capstone experience for graduating seniors as part of the Academic Learning Compact, in order to create a useful, simple way of assessing undergraduate performance. The assessment procedure measures the student’s ability to develop a proposal, identify resources, plan and implement a project and present his or her findings to a faculty member. As part of the Capstone Experience, each student must complete a research paper, class project, documentary, series of oral histories, and an in-class presentation or alternative project that has been approved by a professor. The process has been proven to increase student accountability, provide opportunities for direct and cognitive assessments and support alternative methods of teaching and learning. Since its creation, the History Capstone Experience has been required for every history student. The project successfully addresses all five ALC Student-Learning Outcomes outlined in the QEP goals: content knowledge, critical thinking, communication, ethics and integrity and project management.
Assessing Critical Thinking: A College's Journey and Lessons Learned
The UWF College of Business began transforming its assessment plan in 2005, following a shift in the AACSB accreditation criteria to include assessment. The College of Business administrators and faculty elected to use a summative approach, designating a required Business Policy capstone course for all undergraduate students. As part of the course, students prepared analyses outside of class and participated in classroom discussions, allowing them to gain an understanding of proper application of course and general business concepts. The case series analysis series culminates in an individual written assignment, intended to be a demonstration by students of their level of understanding and ability to apply both course and general business curriculum concepts. Starting in spring 2005, the capstone faculty implemented a program to assess the critical thinking ability of students in all sections of the capstone policy course. Since then, the learning goal has been assessed and interventions have been implemented as findings are released. Members of the College of Business faculty wrote an article about the process, titled Assessing Critical Thinking: A College’s Journey and Lessons Learned, which was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Education for Business. Several articles based on the work have also been presented at conferences of SACS and the Association for Business Simulation and Experiential Learning.