UAB’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) sets goals for student learning and outlines steps the university will take to reach them.
Faculty are essential to ensuring students develop the core QEP competencies — effective communication skills, depth and breadth of knowledge, experience with problem-solving and the ability to make informed, ethical decisions and be prepared for responsible citizenship in the community, nation and world. These strengths are essential for success in work and life as is being quantitatively literate.
The UAB Reporter frequently highlights faculty who are implementing quantitative literacy (QL) strategies into their curricula. Faculty who serve on the QL Committee will share their classroom experiences to illustrate “Why I Serve on the QL Committee” during the coming weeks.
Faculty can apply for QL designation for their courses and become more active in QL efforts on campus. Learn more about QEP and QL or contact committee Chair Ed Cook , Ph.D.
Service opportunities abound
The Core Curriculum Enhancement program has given me several service opportunities at UAB.
First, this past academic year I started a term as an SBS representative on the University Writing Task Force committee, which is one of the QEP Task Force Committees. We are creating a UAB Virtual Writing Center and also trying to match UAB writing coursework across the disciplines with the regional accreditation board’s recommendations.
Second, I have also joined the Quantitative Literacy Committee. I do not teach our program’s methods courses, but I have been alarmed that some of the undergraduates math skills are so rusty that they are unable to calculate a percentage when I give them an exam grade as a fraction!
The revision of my syllabus for “Women and World Politics,” which I have taught in the under various course numbers, was accepted by the QEP Task Force on Quantitative Literacy as a course that meets a QL designation (and, eventually, requirement). Although at first glance global gender politics may not seem to be a likely fit with quantitative learning, in fact I rely heavily on UN data in teaching the course and have found it very frustrating that many of our students are unable to understand a statistical table, graph or chart.
I hope that this course will demonstrate to some of our more math-phobic students the importance of basic mathematics and statistics in understanding international politics. In sum, I believe that the QEP is the most important development in undergraduate education that is taking place in our curriculum now. Understanding the humanities, the social sciences and the natural and applied sciences is not especially likely if a student lacks basic quantitative and writing skills.
— Lisa Sharlach, Ph.D., assistant professor,
Department of Government
Enhancing classroom instruction
The Quality Enhancement Plan or QEP is an integral part of the university plan to educate undergraduate students in real-world lessons.
|Norman Bolus |
The areas covered are quantitative literacy (QL), writing and ethics and civic responsibility. These three core areas are concentrating on making graduates of UAB a well rounded, ready-for-real-life person.
I have enjoyed serving on the QL Committee and have incorporated QL into my classroom in several different courses I teach, but especially in radiation biology, which is a QL-designated course.
I have seen the horrified looks on my students as I explained what a QL course entails, and I have seen hallmark moments when they have gotten more in-depth knowledge due to learning how to answer QL questions on exams.
Overall, I have modified an established course to include QL components, which did not require a huge course change but only a small modification, and I have seen a relatively large difference in the way the students learn.
Being a part of the QL Committee has helped me enhance my classroom instruction and think about how course material should be delivered to the student in novel ways. I have enjoyed the various discussions all of the members of the QL Committee have had, and it is surprising to see how similar student issues are across many different disciplines.
Perhaps this realization of commonality is one of the reasons I continue to serve.
—Norman E. Bolus, assistant professor,
director and clinical coordinator of the
Nuclear Medicine Technology Program