Student Learning Outcomes and Initiative Areas

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QEP Student Learning Outcomes


Based on the responses to student and faculty surveys, the feedback received from focus groups with local employers, the insights gained from our research into published literature and best practices, and extensive discussion within and across the QEP working groups, the QEP Council identified the following student learning outcomes for ECU’s QEP:

At the conclusion of their undergraduate degree programs, ECU graduates will be able to

  1. Use writing to investigate complex, relevant topics and address significant questions through engagement with and effective use of credible sources.
  2. Produce writing that reflects an awareness of context, purpose, and audience, particularly within the written genres (including genres that integrate writing with visuals, audio or other multi-modal components) of their major disciplines and/or career fields.
  3. Demonstrate that they understand writing as a process that can be made more effective through drafting and revision.
  4. Proofread and edit their own writing, avoiding grammatical and mechanical errors.
  5. Assess and explain the major choices that they make in their writing.


QEP Initiative Areas


Student Support.  At the heart of this initiative area is the expansion and enhancement of the University Writing Center (UWC) on the first floor of Joyner Library.  With this initiative, the UWC’s capacity to assist students will increase dramatically, as tutoring space grows from a four-person table in the lobby of Joyner to a 2,700 square-foot dedicated space, complete with hardware and software to assist students with the electronic and multi-modal kinds of writing that many of them need to do in the 21st Century.  In addition to enabling more tutors to serve more students, the expansion will allow the UWC to offer a “Writing Mentors Program.”  This program, which is scheduled to begin on a small scale in fall 2013, will embed trained juniors, seniors, and graduate students as tutors in specific WI classes. These Writing Mentors will be able to help course instructors plan effective means of teaching writing and to provide feedback to students on the writing that they produce for the course.

Faculty Support. This initiative area includes various professional development programs designed to increase communication and collaboration between instructors of the Writing Foundations courses and instructors of WI courses across the university. Faculty Learning Communities, involving faculty from both of these groups of instructors, will investigate issues in writing and teaching writing and will work to align and connect the writing instruction that students receive at ECU. Another important component of faculty support is the Writing Liaisons initiative, a program that identifies faculty from departments across the university to serve as points of contact for sharing information about writing and writing instruction among academic programs and the University Writing Program.  Additionally, QEP faculty support will include an expansion of online instructional resources for WI faculty.

Curriculum Enhancement. This initiative area addresses the gap between the writing that students do in their Writing Foundations courses (currently English 1100 and 1200) and the writing that they do in other, later courses. According to student survey results from this past fall, although students generally believe that English 1100 and 1200 will help them in other courses, they often do not see a clear connection between the kinds of writing that they do in the Writing Foundations courses and the kinds of writing that they do in their courses in other areas.  As a result, many of them fail to apply what they have studied in English 1100 and 1200 to later coursework. In response, the QEP includes two key curriculum enhancement actions: a proposed change to the focus and timing of English 1200 and the introduction of “metacognitive” teaching strategies to enhance learning in Writing Foundations and WI courses.

First, the change to English 1200 would move the course to the 2000-level (English 2201) and structure it as a link between general academic writing skills and writing in disciplinary contexts. Through English 2201, students would have the opportunity to explore what writing looks like in the discipline/career area they are interested in and to develop skills that will help them recall, adapt, and apply the writing strategies that they learn in English 1100 to other, more specific contexts.

Second, students in English 1100 and 1200/2201 will, as part of the QEP, be required to engage in regular writing self-analysis, a practice through which they will analyze and assess the effectiveness of their own writing processes and written products. Research in cognitive psychology, as well as several other fields, has shown that people learn more effectively, and are more likely to be able to apply what they learn to new and different situations, if they are adept at metacognition, the ability to monitor and assess one’s own thinking and performance.


Third, to further develop the metacognitive skills introduced in the Writing Foundations courses, the QEP Director and Director of the University Writing Program will identify faculty from programs across campus who are interested in implementing an enhanced metacognitive component in their WI courses. During the 2013-2014 academic year, these instructors will be invited to attend several professional development sessions that focus on strategies for using writing self-analysis in WI courses. Faculty volunteers will incorporate metacognitive practices into their WI courses beginning in fall 2014 and will be asked to collect samples of student writing projects and writing self-analyses for QEP program assessment purposes. Budget permitting, participating WI faculty will receive a small travel/research stipend for their assistance.