The mysterious, invisible gift of time to think beyondis the reading brain’s greatest achievement; these built in millisecondsform the basis of our ability to propel knowledge, to ponder virtue,and to articulate what was once inexpressible— which, when expressed,builds the next platform from which we dive below or soar above.— Maryanne Wolf, Proust and the Squid: The Science and Story of the Reading BrainEastern Kentucky UniversityQuality Enhancement Plan 2017-2022Read with PurposeSACSCOC On-site Review February 21-23, 2017

Eastern Kentucky UniversityMESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENTEastern Kentucky University is pleased to present our Quality Enhancement Plan for 2017, Readwith Purpose. As the cornerstone of our SACSCOC Reaffirmation of Accreditation, the QEP isbased on reflection and assessment of how we can best increase student achievement of theirgoals. The QEP recognizes the need to more actively engage students in critical reading as thefoundation of their college success: it will involve faculty, staff, and students in thinking moredeliberately about the role of critical reading for learning. Building on the success of the previousQEP, a focus on purposeful reading will deepen students’ critical thinking and promote theintellectual vitality at the heart of what we value.Read with Purpose has been brought to fruition through extensive idea gathering, discussion,research, assessment, and planning by many people across campus. The end result is a wellstructured plan that will help students develop the kind of critical reading necessary for thoughtfulaction in a complex world. I know that faculty, staff and student leaders across campus are excitedto take advantage of QEP professional development opportunities that will allow us “to developcritical readers through the use of metacognitive strategies.”This QEP is going to transform what it means to be a Colonel by improving teaching and learningon our campus and, thereby, empowering undergraduates to be lifelong, independent learnersthrough critical reading.3

INTRODUCTION TO EASTERN KENTUCKYUNIVERSITYEastern Kentucky University, located at the nexus of the bluegrass region and the Appalachianfoothills in Richmond, Kentucky, is a comprehensive regional university dedicated to high-qualityinstruction, service, and scholarship. From its establishment in 1906 as a normal school toprepare schoolteachers, the University has grown to offer more than 100 degree programs atthe associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels. Today, approximately 17,000students come from almost every state and 60 countries, and approximately 140,000 successfulalumni worldwide have distinguished themselves in virtually every profession. Many studentsattend one of three EKU regional campuses scattered throughout the area, helping to servestudents from some of the poorest counties in the nation.Underscoring the University’s legacy as a “School of Opportunity,” many of Eastern’s successfulalumni were the first in their families to attend college. Even today, 29 percent of this year’sfirst-year students are first-generation college students. At the same time, EKU is attractingmore of the best and brightest students; the Fall 2016 class is the best academically prepared inthe institution’s history.Just as the vast majority of EKU students come from Kentucky, approximately 76 percent of theUniversity’s graduates are employed in Kentucky one year after graduation, the state’s highestpercentage among all its public four-year institutions. Many are employed in service occupationsvital to any community’s quality of life: education, health care and public safety.4

Eastern Kentucky UniversityThe University is committed to its strong liberal arts core and its professional programs. Some ofthe University’s best-known academic programs are housed in its College of Justice and Safety,EKU’s Program of Distinction. The University’s other nationally known programs includeOccupational Therapy, Nursing, Environmental Health Science, Aviation, Professional GolfManagement, Forensic Science, and American Sign Language-Interpreter Education. Inaddition, the University’s cross-disciplinary Honors Program has led the nation over the past 27years in the number of presenters at the National Collegiate Honors Council.The biggest area of enrollment growth in recent years has been online, extending theUniversity’s global reach. Since 2007, enrollment in online courses has grown from 165 to morethan 3,200. In fact, roughly one in five EKU students takes courses online. EKU also hasbecome increasingly popular with military veterans and twice in recent years has been namedthe No. 1 institution nationally by Military Times EDGE magazine for its efforts to help veteransand their dependents achieve their educational dreams. The University also has taken steps toraise its international profile and now enjoys partnerships with institutions in a dozen countries.Closer to home, Eastern’s growth has been accompanied by a steadfast commitment to serviceand outreach to a primary service region that includes some of the most economicallydisadvantaged counties in the nation.EKU’s Quality Enhancement Plan, Read with Purpose, will further the university’s strategicgoals of academic excellence and student success.5


Eastern Kentucky UniversityTABLE OF CONTENTSExecutive Summary9Topic Selection Process12Desired Student Learning Outcomes26Literature Review and Best Practices28Implementation Plan39Implementation Timeline50Organizational ices75797


Eastern Kentucky UniversityEastern Kentucky University’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), Read with Purpose, seeks todevelop critical readers who are guided by purposeful inquiry; as such, it reinforces theuniversity’s current emphasis on promoting metacognitive strategies to foster deep learning. TheQEP is also grounded in EKU’s strategic vision, “Make No Little Plans: A Vision for 2020,” whichcommits to “maintaining and enhancing the critical and creative thinking” initiatives that were thefocus of the previous QEP. More intentional cultivation of students’ critical reading ability willsupport this ongoing commitment by helping students transition to the kind of purposeful readingthat marks scholarly inquiry and academic and professional achievement.Critical reading was chosen as the focus of the QEP after a four-year process of broad, inclusivediscussion by all university constituencies and a concurrent examination of institutional data.University leaders, faculty, staff, and students agree that developing students’ critical readingability will improve student learning and academic success at EKU. Read with Purpose is guidedby a central goal and three Student Learning Outcomes that will provide the measure ofsuccess:Student Learning Goal:The goal of the QEP is to develop critical readers through the use of metacognitive strategies.Student Learning Outcomes:4 Students will demonstrate critical reading of academic texts and materials.4 Students will report awareness of metacognitive reading strategies.4 Students will express confidence in their abilities as critical readers.To achieve these outcomes, EKU faculty, staff, and student leaders will use and teachmetacognitive strategies that promote critical reading. Through online resources, in-personworkshops, professional learning communities, and scholarly projects, EKU instructors willexplore and develop innovative pedagogies to help students analyze, synthesize, and evaluatetexts across disciplines. Professional development of instructors is concentrated in two areas: infirst-year courses that impact nearly all students and in courses across the disciplines, includingtargeted General Education courses and other courses where faculty self-select to participate.Professional development of student leaders who serve as peer mentors and tutors across theuniversity will focus on ways to recognize students’ reading challenges and to support theirdevelopment as critical readers. Online resources and workshops will provide student leaderswith strategies to reinforce critical reading instruction in classrooms and help students havegreater success with course assignments.9

A comprehensive assessment plan provides summative assessments that will measureachievement of Student Learning Outcomes. These include a direct measure of students’ criticalreading in both General Education and upper-level courses through applying an EKU developedCritical Reading Rubric to students’ written work, an indirect measure of students’ awareness ofmetacognitive reading strategies through the use of the Metacognitive Awareness of ReadingStrategies Inventory (MARSI), and an indirect measure of students’ confidence in their abilitiesas critical readers through an EKU-developed confidence scale. Data will also be usedformatively to guide adjustments to professional development and classroom pedagogy.Additional formative assessments will include participant surveys after each professionaldevelopment event to evaluate faculty, staff, and student leader learning and to inform design offuture professional development. Faculty promotion of metacognitive strategies will be assessedthrough EKU’s student course evaluation instrument, eXplorance Blue. Assessment of theimpact of student leaders in developmental reading and writing courses will be measuredthrough analysis of student reflection essays.EKU has committed sufficient funds to initiate and sustain the QEP and it does so efficiently bycapitalizing on structures and expertise already in place at the University. The budget reflectssignificant investment in the professional development of faculty, staff, and student leaders.Reassigned time for faculty members to serve as QEP Co-Directors and a Faculty AssessmentLiaison will provide leadership, facilitation, and oversight of QEP professional development andassessment initiatives. An Assistant Director of Assessment, housed in the Office of InstitutionalResearch, will manage QEP data that will inform professional development, curriculum andcourse design, and indicate achievement of Student Learning Outcomes. The QEP budget alsosupports leadership grants and stipends for summer training incentives for intensive faculty andstaff development projects. Funding for course-embedded peer leaders in developmentalreading and writing courses provides support for underprepared students’ critical readingdevelopment, helping to increase their academic persistence and success.Direct instruction and support of metacognitive practices will help students read with purposeand develop the critical reading skills needed for deep learning. Ultimately, the work of the QEPwill contribute to EKU’s mission, which seeks to prepare “students to contribute to the successand vitality of their communities, the Commonwealth, and the world.”10

Eastern Kentucky UniversityQEP TOPICSELECTIONPROCESS11

Identification of Potential QEP ThemesThe QEP theme, critical reading, was determined through broad-based discussion and dataanalysis over a four-year period, from 2011-2015. Dr. Rose Perrine, Professor of Psychology &Associate Dean of University Programs, led the topic-selection and initial planning efforts basedon her expertise in student learning outcomes assessment. Dr. Jaime Henning, AssociateProfessor of Psychology and Program Coordinator for the Industrial/Organizational PsychologyGraduate Program, was selected as co-leader based on her expertise in applied organizationalresearch. Dr. Henning also supervised graduate students who assisted with QEP development.Potential themes for the QEP were gleaned from multiple sources, including current and formerstudents, staff, faculty, administrators, members of EKU’s Board of Regents, and communitypartners. Initial ideas for EKU’s QEP 2017 came from discussions held by EKU’sImplementation Team during meetings convened from 2011-2014. EKU’s Implementation Team,which includes leaders across the University in Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, FinancialAffairs, and Student Government, meets regularly to identify obstacles and solve problems in allareas of University functioning. These obstacles generated themes that were considered aspotential QEP topics.Additionally, during a two-year strategic planning process (2012-2014), students, staff, faculty,administrators, members of EKU’s Board of Regents, and community partners provided input forEKU’s 2016-2020 strategic plan via open forums, workshops, focus groups, and surveys. Aspart of this process, participants were asked to suggest topics for EKU’s QEP-2017.Because most issues affecting student success are not unique to a single institution, graduatestudents in the Master’s Program in Industrial/Organizational Psychology were charged withreviewing recent QEP themes at other SACSCOC accredited institutions in order to capitalizeon what others had learned. This research suggested that other institutions’ themes eitherduplicated or were very similar to the themes already identified from the EKU sources above,and we were then confident that we had a comprehensive list of student-learning obstacles andgoals that were important to consider for EKU’s next QEP theme.Perception Survey #1 (Fall 2014)To ascertain broad interest in the potential themes identified and to generate additional themes,graduate students in Industrial/Organizational Psychology also developed a survey andconducted focus groups with faculty, staff, administrators, and students to identify primary areasof concern regarding student learning. Seventeen potential QEP themes were presented on12

Eastern Kentucky UniversityPerception Survey #1. Survey respondents were asked to rate the themes and wereencouraged to write in additional themes. Participation in the survey and focus groups wasencouraged via flyers and email invitations from the Provost, department chairs, and studentgroup leaders; through multiple issues of EKU Today (online newsletters sent to employees’ andstudents’ EKU email addresses), and through a student drawing for a 50 dollar bookstorevoucher.Respondents included students (73), staff (208), faculty (221), and administrators (22), with sixtop themes identified as most important for EKU student success: Information Literacy,Applied/Experiential Learning, Quantitative Literacy, Ethics/Values, Metacognition, and ReadingCulture. The results of Survey #1 and the focus groups, as well as next steps in QEP planning,were shared with students, administrators, faculty, and staff in January 2015 via the QEP-2017Newsletter Vol. 1 (Appendix A).Refining and Narrowing the Potential QEP ThemesQEP Co-Leaders next determined which of the top themes were outcomes (information literacy,quantitative literacy, ethics, reading) and which were processes (applied learning,metacognition) and concentrated on identifying a student-learning outcome that was mostimportant for students’ success. Toward that goal, the Co-Leaders researched data for furtherevidence of student strengths and weaknesses in the six areas.A thorough analysis of institutional data, as well as data from the National Survey of StudentEngagement (NSSE), provided little direct evidence to support application of knowledge, culturalsensitivity, or ethics/values as QEP topics. Evidence did suggest student weakness inquantitative literacy. Although each of these are areas of importance to the University, and thedata show room for improvement in each area, the data suggested greater need in the areas ofinformation literacy and reading.Information LiteracyDirect evidence of students’ information literacy skills came from assessment of EKU’s GeneralEducation Program, specifically in ENG 102: Research, Writing and Rhetoric (the secondrequired first-year writing course). At the end of the semester, students complete a common,faculty-developed writing assignment, which is evaluated by faculty teams using a standardscoring rubric which includes a competency related to information literacy: Students will selectrelevant, accurate, and appropriate sources. In Fall 2014, 91% of students met this competency.However, these data may be misleading for several reasons: only students who remain actively13

engaged in the class complete the end-of-term assignment. Thus, poor-performing students areunderrepresented. Additionally, students are categorized as either beginning, developing,competent, or accomplished, and for General Education program reporting purposes,developing students are included in the statistic of those who meet the competency. Developingis roughly interpreted as C—D work. Parsing the data more narrowly, only 44% of studentsscored at least competent (A—B work) on the information literacy criterion of the assignment.Other limits to the generalizability of General Education program data as an indicator ofinformation literacy skills are the narrow definition used for this assessment (selection ofsources) and the nature of the assignment itself. The shared assignment for assessment is an 8to 10 page academic research essay or project equivalent; individual instructors are able toadapt this framework for their classes so long as they remain within the general guidelines, sothere may be inconsistencies in students’ responding to different assignment contexts.Importantly, when EKU faculty talk about information literacy, their definitions include criticalthinking about sources, which extends beyond locating and selecting sources. Thisconceptualization of information literacy overlaps considerably with critical reading. Thus, muchof the evidence presented below about EKU students’ reading skills applies to informationliteracy as wellTable 1. Retention and Graduation Rates by ACT Reading Scores around 617181920 22232425146159143111Total 44509513818618%39%22%34%28%31%67%151617181920 10142%49%45%51%74%Total Graduation45%14

Eastern Kentucky UniversityReadingEKU freshmen students’ average ACT Reading score is similar to students across Kentucky andother states (Fall 2014 Mean 22.9). However, each year substantial numbers of students enterEKU with an ACT Reading score below 20, the Kentucky benchmark for college readiness inreading. For example, in 2014, 27% of freshmen entered EKU with an ACT reading score below20. EKU students with a Reading ACT score of less than 20 must take developmental courseworkduring their first college year; providing students with this extra support increases their time to andfinancial costs of a college degree.Retention and graduation data suggest that students with higher Reading ACT scores tend to beretained and graduate at higher rates. Table 1 presents ACT data within 5 points of the EKUbenchmark for college readiness (20). The patterns are non-linear and small sample sizes forsome scores make data less reliable. Nonetheless, the positive relationships between ACTreading scores and retention and graduation rates are evident.Table 2. Percent of EKU Students, by Race and Gender, with ACT Reading Scores below lti-race24%37%Additionally, subgroup scores show disparities by race, gender, county of residence, and firstgeneration status. Table 2 shows the percentage of students, by race and gender, who enteredEKU in Fall 2014 with an ACT Reading score below 20.As seen in Table 2, the reading deficits evidenced by 2014 ACT scores range between 18% and64% for subgroups of EKU students by race and gender. Additionally, approximately 40% of EKUstudents are first generation college attenders, and in Fall 2014, 28% of these students enteredEKU with ACT scores below 20, compared to 21% of non-first-generation students. EKU in-state15

students are drawn from 120 counties, and there are significant disparities in ACT Reading scoresby county of residence. For example in Fall 2014, the three counties from which the greatestnumber of students were drawn and the percentage of students with ACT reading scores below 20were Madison (23%), Fayette (32%) and Jefferson (33%).Table 3. Six-Year Graduation Rate by Course Grades in ENG 101 and 102ABCDFWENG 10162%49%33%20%06%15%ENG 10270%60%45%29%14%31%As with information literacy, General Education assessment data do not indicate obviousweaknesses in reading. On the General Education Scoring Rubric used in ENG 102, one criterionis related to critical reading: Students will fairly and accurately synthesize sources and integraterelevant information. In Fall 2014, 94% of students met this competency. However, these data maybe misleading for the reasons noted above. Only students who remain actively engaged in theclass complete the end-of-term assignment. Thus, poor-performing students areunderrepresented. Additionally, students are categorized as either beginning, developing,competent, or accomplished, and for General Education reporting purposes developing studentsare included in the statistic of those who meet the competency. Developing is roughly interpretedas C—D work. Parsing the data more narrowly, only 50% of students scored at least competent(A—B work) on the reading criterion of the assignment. Other limits to the generalizability ofGeneral Education data as an indicator of reading skills are the narrow definition of critical readingon the General Education rubric and the nature of the assignment itself.Reading and writing are interdependent tasks and institutional data show a direct relationshipbetween performance in ENG 101: Reading, Writing, and Rhetoric and ENG 102: Research,Writing, and Rhetoric (General Education first-year writing courses) and graduation rates. Asseen in Table 3, 33-62% of students who earn A, B, or C in ENG 101 graduate, compared to6-20% of students who earn D, F, or W. The pattern is the same for ENG 102. Indeed, based onthese data indicating the importance of meeting the competencies of ENG 101 above the “D”level, EKU recently changed the prerequisite for ENG 102 to a grade of at least C in ENG 101.16

Eastern Kentucky UniversityIndirect assessment data related to reading and information literacy were also gleaned from theNational Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). Table 4 shows no obvious problems based oncomparisons between EKU and benchmark institutions, but there are areas of concern basedon EKU data alone. For example, 48% of seniors and 53% of first-year students reportedspending five or fewer hours on reading per week, and 24-26% reported that their coursework inthe current year had not emphasized evaluation of information sources.Table 4. EKU Students’ Reading Behaviors and PerceptionsFirst-YearSeniorDuring current year frequency ofgoing to class without completingreadings/assignments(Often or Very Often)17% (EKU)16% (Benchmark)17% (EKU)20% (Benchmark)In current year, spent 0—5hours per week on reading53% (EKU)56% (Benchmark)48% (EKU)49% (Benchmark)19% (EKU)21% (Benchmark)13% (EKU)18% (Benchmark)26% (EKU)31% (Benchmark)24% (EKU)30% (Benchmark)In current year identified keyinformation from reading assignments(Never or Sometimes)In current year courseworkemphasized evaluating point ofview, decision, or informationsources (Some or Very Little)In summary, the University has direct and indirect evidence of weaknesses in EKU students’reading/information literacy skills:4 ACT Reading scores show that a substantial number of students enter EKUunderprepared for college, and many of these students are in high-risk populations(first generation; non-White). Retention and graduation rates are lower for these at-riskpopulations.4 General Education data indicate that 44% of students score at the competent levelon a narrowly-defined information literacy task and 50% score at the competent levelon a narrowly-defined critical reading task (assessed via students’ writing).4 There is a direct relationship between ENG 101/102 course grades and graduation.4 NSSE data suggest areas for improvement.17

Further Refinement of Top Themes through Perception Survey #2 (January 2015)In addition to institutional evidence, the University sought additional guidance from students,staff, faculty, and administrators about potential QEP topics. On perception survey #2 we asked“Based on your knowledge of students in your program, which of the following would have thegreatest positive impact on your (or your students’) success?” Respondents could choose up tothree topics, and could write in additional outcomes that were not on the list. The six topics werepresented as below:4 Improved reading skills4 Improved information literacy skills4 Improved quantitative literacy skills4 Improved ability to apply knowledge4 Improved/revised ethics or values4 Improved cultural sensitivitySurvey respondents included Chairs of academic programs (27), Deans in Academic andStudent Affairs (12), students (212), full time faculty (275), part time faculty (109), and staff (44).Reading and application of knowledge were in every group’s top three themes, and ethics andcultural sensitivity were consistently the lowest ranked. Information literacy and quantitativeliteracy were more variable by group, although there was more support from faculty (full andpart time), chairs, deans, and students for information literacy than for quantitative literacy. Forethics/values and cultural sensitivity these survey results aligned with institutional evidencesuggesting that these themes were not the highest priority needs for EKU students; therefore,these themes were removed from further consideration.Three themes (reading; application of knowledge; information literacy) were perceived byrespondents as having the greatest potential for positive impact on student success. Withregard to institutional data, there was ample evidence of student weakness for reading and itsrelated theme information literacy. There was limited evidence for weaknesses in students’ability to apply knowledge, although NSSE data showed that many students do not takeadvantage of opportunities that are readily available. We kept application on the short list forthree reasons: student perception of need, opportunities for improved data collection on studentperformance, and the potential for this theme to build on recent institutional emphasis onapplication of critical thinking skills.The topic of quantitative literacy was not ranked in most respondents’ top three choices despiteinstitutional evidence of student weakness in this area; therefore, we sought additional18

Eastern Kentucky Universityinformation by interviewing faculty and staff. Results of our interviews suggested that advisingand support staff perceive quantitative literacy as a student need because of the large numbersof students with low ACT Math scores, and the advising and tutoring services needed to assistthese students. Faculty, on the other hand, were less supportive of a potential QEP theme ofquantitative literacy because they do not perceive quantitative skills to be universally necessaryfor student success and because many of them did not feel that they have the skills to improvestudents’ quantitative literacy; thus, quantitative literacy is less likely to garner broad facultysupport and excitement about the QEP.Faculty support for a QEP is essential, and reading, information literacy, and application ofknowledge had strong faculty support and convincing institutional evidence of need. All threethemes lent themselves to implementation plans that could realistically include all faculty so thatthe QEP might have broad impact. Therefore, the three potential themes chosen for the shortlist were reading, application of knowledge, and information literacy.The short list, next steps in QEP development, and a timeline for processes were shared withthe University community in February 2015 via the QEP-2017 Newsletter Vol. 2 (Appendix B). Inaddition, results were discussed with academic chairs, program directors, and deans whosuggested slight changes to the theme labels to better reflect their faculty members’ concerns.Preliminary definitions were also added before additional input was solicited.Program Level Evidence for Top Three QEP Themes Survey #3 (February–March 2015)The goals of survey #3 were to:4 Determine faculty perceptions of the extent to which students in their specificacademic programs evidenced weaknesses in each of the three areas4 Determine faculty ratings of the three themes with regard to potential to improvestudent success in the specific academic program4 Determine the evidence faculty were using to support their ratingsChairs and program directors were asked to discuss the survey questions with their programs’faculty and staff and come to some agreement about the responses and to complete one surveyper academic program. Responses were received for approximately 1/3 of the academicprograms (n 49). Quantitative data showed that critical reading was rated by faculty as thearea in which students in their specific programs evidenced the most weakness. Facultyperceived that students were weaker in both general reading skills and discipline-specificreading skills than they were in either information literacy or application of knowledge. There19

were no discernable differences among the themes with regard to the type of evidence facultyused to rate student weakness. Faculty based their ratings on personal observation, evaluationof student work, standardized/ professional exams, employers’/supervisors’ ratings, andstudents’ own perceptions. Qualitative data from Survey #3 aligned with the quantitativerankings and provided a rich source of additional informa

Eastern Kentucky University, located at the nexus of the bluegrass region and the Appalachian foothills in Richmond, Kentucky, is a comprehensive regional university dedicated to high-quality . EKU’s Program of Distinction. The University’s other nationally known programs include Occupational Therapy,