Thinking Critically, Acting Justly

The Quality Enhancement Plan for Loyola University
Revised, December 2007

Executive Summary

The Quality Enhancement Plan of Loyola University New Orleans is designed around the theme, “Thinking Critically, Acting Justly.” This theme is consistent with the university’s mission (Appendix A) and Jesuit character (Appendix B). It responds to the SACS mandate for enhancement of student learning (Appendix C). The QEP has wide-spread support, as its design and development involved the entire Loyola University New Orleans community with input from faculty, staff, students, alumni, administrators and members of the Board of Trustees.

The QEP consists of three initiatives: a first-year experience program to lay the foundation for a Jesuit education at Loyola; a faculty development program to enhance the teaching of critical thinking and just action through an emphasis on high-impact pedagogies and contemporary best practices; and a student leadership program to engage students in critical thinking and just action outside the classroom by enhancing their community engagement and leadership skills.

The First-Year Experience (FYE)
program offers the university the opportunity to orient incoming students to the mission of the institution and the values of the Loyola community while preparing new students for successful learning and the demands of college life. Before 2005, Loyola recognized this opportunity and began to organize its resources for this crucial moment in a student’s life at the university. However, the efforts varied across colleges and from year to year. The current FYE initiative mandates institutionalization of one facet of the first year experience, the interdisciplinary first-year seminar, across colleges. The seminar lays the foundation for a Loyola education through an emphasis on critical thinking and writing, reflection on justice, and understanding of Jesuit values. The seminar will be required of all first-year students as the gateway to the Loyola’s Common Curriculum.

The Faculty Development (FD) ) initiative prepares faculty to develop critical thinking and just action more effectively in their courses by helping them to incorporate best-practices in these areas into their plans for enhanced student learning. The initiative aims to improve student learning by offering faculty opportunities to enhance their own understanding of high-impact pedagogies for critical thinking and a Jesuit-values based education. The FD initiative mandates the institutionalization of a university-wide faculty development program supporting enhanced learning in the first-year seminar program with the Jesuit vision of education as the guide. Once institutionalized, this program enhancing faculty effectiveness in first-year seminars will become a model for teaching critical thinking and just action throughout the Common Curriculum, in interdisciplinary minors, and in the majors.

Student Leadership (SL)) is an experiential learning initiative designed to enhance students’ critical thinking and just action from the freshman through the senior year via increased opportunities for community engagement, leadership, and service to others. A key element of the Student Leadership initiative is the re-establishment of a strong Service Learning Program that bridges students’ academic course work with opportunities for community-based and service projects with a range of community partners. An equally important element of this initiative is a pilot Student Leadership Program that integrates a academic coursework with a residential learning community and social justice related service projects in post-Katrina New Orleans.

In each of these initiatives, the major focus is on enhancing student learning in critical thinking and just action. By providing a strong-first year experience for students, developing our faculty, and building substantive student leadership and community engagement opportunities, we will be able to enhance students’ critical thinking skills and provide a foundation for acting justly that will carry through their entire lives.

History of the QEP Process at Loyola: 2004-2005
The Design Team

In the spring of 2004, Loyola University appointed a QEP Design Team composed of faculty, staff, and student representatives (see Appendix D) to recommend a QEP process. The Design Team proposed that “The entire LUNO community should participate in an open process that honors all constituents in developing the QEP and that stresses civility and understanding.” Further, it recommended that a group representative of the entire university community should manage the development process to assure that the QEP would meet the requirements of the SACS Mandate concerning the nature and purpose of the Quality Enhancement Plan and the meaning of student learning in the context of the QEP.

The Design Team also suggested the following about the QEP focus:

  • The QEP focus must reflect the mission of the institution, and each division or unit needs to understand how that focus affects it.
  • The QEP will stress individual attention and concern about students and as such may have different implementation strategies for different groups of students.
  • The QEP will enhance student learning with a commitment to academic integrity and rigor, and value-laden liberal education stressing a balance of being grounded in ethics, cultural diversity, and intellectual diversity.
  • The QEP should ensure continuity with the university, divisional, and college strategic plans.
  • The QEP assessment process should be integrated into the university’s ongoing process of assessment.

The University QEP Team

In September of 2004, a University QEP Team was appointed. Reflecting the recommendations of the Design Team, its membership included faculty, staff, student, alumni, and Board of Trustee representatives (Appendix E). Meeting weekly throughout the fall, the team oversaw a campus-wide process to inform the university community about the nature of a QEP and to solicit proposals for a topic to serve as the focus of Loyola’s plan. In support of these goals, the team developed a website, met with all major institutional planning committees as well as the Student Government Association, and hosted two open luncheon discussions to which all faculty, staff, and students were invited. At the same time, the University QEP Team developed selection criteria for the choice of a topic (see Appendix F). All these efforts yielded 24 proposals of possible topics from across the university. The proposals were posted on the QEP website, as were responses to them from the campus. Following an open forum to discuss the proposals, the University QEP Team recommended the three proposals receiving the highest scores based upon the previously approved selection criteria along with three general topics that had gained support.

In February 2005, the SACS Leadership Team announced that it had decided to address all three proposals. Two of them would be melded into a focus for the institution’s QEP: “Thinking Critically, Acting Justly.” The other proposal, which focused on a review of the university’s core curriculum, would be the subject of a university task force separate from the QEP. Three weeks later, on February 24, the QEP Team hosted an open luncheon discussion for faculty, staff, and students on the QEP topic. As a basis for the discussion, the authors of the two proposals from which it was drawn composed a statement that synthesized the main points of their proposals:

Thinking Critically, Acting Justly

This theme is centered on the Jesuit ideal of educating the whole person. It visualizes a curriculum that is transformative and humanistic, one that promotes the intellectual, moral, and spiritual development of the student. It combines a rigorous intellectual training with a deep reflection on fundamental values, preparing Loyola’s graduates to assume leadership roles in society and to become women and men for others. The theme is organized around two focal points. Thinking critically involves a multidisciplinary approach to develop the critical thinking skills of students, enabling them to analyze problems, think creatively, and express themselves clearly and coherently. The exercise of critical thinking, however, requires an appropriate context. The theme also intends a deep inquiry into all facets of human culture, including the ideas and values that have shaped human history. It also recognizes the need for a dialogue between faith and reason. This transforms our students from local to global citizens.

Acting justly operationalizes a central tenet of Jesuit education, namely, that education involves the promotion of justice. Students are invited to view themselves not as isolated individuals but as members of a community. The magis—striving for something more—carries an obligation for Loyola’s graduates to move beyond self-interest towards a concern for the poor and disenfranchised. An education for justice, however, requires a careful reflection on moral and spiritual values. Action in the world cannot be divorced from intellectual thought. Through coursework and extracurricular activities students are given opportunities to reflect about the purpose and meaning of their lives, and about their hopes and aspirations for their futures.

The discussion revealed wide support for the general thrust of the topic but also made clear the need for definitions of its basic elements. The QEP Team then undertook a detailed study of these elements and produced a series of consensus statements that were eventually approved by the SACS Leadership Team.

CONSENSUS STATEMENT ON THE INTEGRATION OF THINKING CRITICALLY AND ACTING JUSTLY

Loyola University’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) theme of “Thinking Critically, Acting Justly” explicitly links critical thinking and acting justly as integrated activities, each enhancing the other. The QEP Team seeks initiatives for Loyola’s Quality Enhancement Plan that focus on the role of critical thinking in the fostering of social justice and the role of acting justly in encouraging critical thinking. Thus, critical thinking may lead to acting justly, and acting justly may spur critical thinking. To facilitate the formation of initiatives, the QEP Team offers the following descriptions of critical thinking and acting justly.

CONSENSUS STATEMENT REGARDING CRITICAL THINKING AND THE IDEAL CRITICAL THINKER

We understand critical thinking [CT] to be purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that judgment is based. CT is essential as a tool of inquiry. As such, CT is a liberating force in education and a powerful resource in one's personal and civic life. While not synonymous with good thinking, CT is a pervasive and self-rectifying human phenomenon. The ideal critical thinker is habitually inquisitive, well-informed, trustful of reason, open-minded, flexible, fair-minded in evaluation, honest in facing personal biases, prudent in making judgments, willing to reconsider, clear about issues, orderly in complex matters, diligent in seeking relevant information, reasonable in the selection of criteria, focused in inquiry, and persistent in seeking results which are as precise as the subject and the circumstances of inquiry permit. Thus, educating good critical thinkers means working toward this ideal. It combines developing CT skills with nurturing those dispositions which consistently yield useful insights and which are the basis of a rational and democratic society. .

[The QEP Team accepts the above paragraph defining critical thinking as explained in the executive summary of Critical Thinking: A Statement of Expert Consensus for the Purposes of Educational Assessment and Instruction (“The Delphi Report”) published in 1990 by the American Philosophical Association: http://www.insightassessment.com/pdf_files/DEXadobe.PDF]

CONSENSUS STATEMENT REGARDING ACTING JUSTLY

Loyola University New Orleans as a Jesuit and Catholic institution of higher education is dedicated to preparing students to lead meaningful lives by providing an academically rigorous, values-based education geared toward the creation of a more just world. Justice within this context is based upon a rich tradition of Catholic social thought. This tradition, with its positive regard for the dignity of the human person and its concern with the common good, calls for critical thought and reflection on those actions and structures in society that systematically exclude or disadvantage any group in a way that deprives them of basic rights and needs. This tradition also explicitly recognizes our individual and collective responsibility both to understand and work toward social change as we pursue the service of faith and the promotion of justice.

[This description was drawn from a number of Jesuit documents, especially the decrees of General Congregations 32 and 34 and Fr. Peter Hans Kolvenbach's address "The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in Jesuit Higher Education," at Santa Clara University on October 6, 2000.]

Structure

Having established a foundation of goals toward which the university community might strive through its QEP to enhance student learning about the most distinctive elements of Loyola’s mission, the QEP Team then turned to the structure of the plan that would guide the institution’s efforts to achieve those goals. The group quickly determined that a number of ongoing programs ought to address the QEP topic. In addition, recognizing the necessity for individuals and units across campus to plan their own responses to the topic, the team devised a five-year plan of annual funding awards to innovative initiatives. Among the benefits of this approach was the opportunity for careful reflection and planning before submission of a proposal. To facilitate that reflection, the QEP Team also decided to dedicate the 2005-2006 academic year to a university-wide orientation about the QEP topic and plan. The team identified the QEP structure to the university in a paragraph:

“The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) on ‘Thinking Critically, Acting Justly’ includes efforts to enhance student learning through innovative initiatives proposed by programs or individuals. The mission of Jesuit higher education informs the QEP. Therefore, all initiatives take this mission as their foundation and build upon Loyola’s efforts over the last century to realize it. Education about this mission is the first task of implementing the QEP. The QEP Team identified five ongoing areas of importance to the success of the QEP: (1) The Jesuit Vision of Education, (2) Supporting Faculty/Staff Development in Implementing the QEP, (3) Service Learning, (4) Student Leadership, and (5) First-Year Experiences. These areas will be addressed and assessed through individual five-year plans as part of the Loyola QEP. To foster innovative initiatives, a series of opportunities to examine aspects of Loyola’s QEP theme were offered to the university community during the 2005-2006 school year. Five annual rounds of support for innovative initiatives were funded, beginning with initiatives commencing in 2006-2007.”

In prelude to the implementation of the QEP, Father Kevin Wildes, SJ, President of Loyola University New Orleans, spoke in the Convocation of Faculty and Staff on August 23, 2005, about the importance and focus of the QEP.

At the convocation last spring, I spoke about social justice. Clearly the language of justice is part of our educational mission. Our University Mission speaks of the development and use of knowledge ‘for a more just world,’ and a Loyola education that will ‘benefit the larger community.’ We have an opportunity in the QEP to take stock of how well we are doing. I also believe that we have a moment in our history as we search for new leadership in Student Affairs to more carefully examine what we are teaching outside the classroom in the ways our students live with one another in a community.

As I argued last year, justice and ethics are areas where there will be differing, and sometimes conflicting views, of how they are interpreted. To say that Jesuit education –a Loyola education– is committed to justice and ethics is not to say that we are committed to a particular set of answers or a particular ideology. (To do so would be to make us a school for propaganda, not a university.) We are committed to the questions of justice and the good life. We are a place where these can be discussed and argued freely and with civility. We are committed to educating women and men to a particular habit of mind that asks the questions of justice and ethics. We are committed to educating minds that ask these questions, and lives that live out of the habit of the questions rather than pat answers. I see our QEP project as an opportunity to examine these aspects of our educational enterprise and look for ways to do them better. To my knowledge, this type of evaluation has not been done at another Jesuit university.

In addition to the work on the QEP, a restructuring of the university put Students Affairs under the supervision of the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. Father Wildes expressed his hope that this restructuring will result in a positive experience for our students.

This restructuring reflects a permanent commitment to learning-based education. It is another step toward successful implementation of educating the whole person. The pursuit of academic excellence cannot be separated from the personal development of the student at Loyola. This reorganization brings the life of the student outside the classroom under the authority of the university's chief academic officer and acknowledges (just as our QEP topic, ‘Thinking Critically, Acting Justly,’ emphasizes) that we view the total experience of students at Loyola as contributing to their education. It is a bold statement of the institution's commitment to focus its resources on every available opportunity to enhance student learning. This restructuring is an initiative that, while outside the actual QEP, demonstrates that we are going beyond the boundaries of QEP in our efforts to enhance student learning at Loyola.

The QEP plan would have been reviewed by the university community and revised as necessary during the fall of 2005, prior to submission to the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools if nature had not intervened. However, changes were necessary during fall 2005 to keep the plan moving forward. In the following section, the effect of Hurricane Katrina on Loyola University New Orleans and the QEP is detailed.

The Effect of Hurricane Katrina on
Loyola University New Orleans and the QEP

In the early morning of August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina moved into the city of New Orleans. It left behind a city devastated by flooding, wind damage, loss of property, and, worst of all, loss of many lives. This event has forever changed the way the citizens of New Orleans will live their lives in the future.

Immediate Aftermath

Structural and administrative changes were necessary to meet the timelines originally mandated for the QEP. The 2005 fall semester was cancelled due to the hurricane, and the 2006 spring semester was filled with activities required to get students and faculty involved with rebuilding the community. Therefore, implementation of the plan did not begin until the 2006 fall semester. In addition, because faculty and staff were scattered all over the country in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it was impossible to reconvene the QEP Team to complete the plan until the first week in December, 2005. They were contacted by electronic mail for review and comments on the plan in early October and again in early November once communications systems were reestablished. Those comments were incorporated into the written plan whenever possible. During the time period from August 29 until November 30, the plan was reviewed and approved by the Council of Deans which was meeting regularly to oversee other university business during this crisis.

Once the university was occupied again, the plan was turned back over to the University QEP Team for final development and recommendation to the SACS Leadership Committee. Although team members had to work against the clock to get the plan submitted on time, they continued to include the returning Loyola community in finalizing the plan. The number of focus areas was narrowed to three, and the proposed budget was reduced in response to the altered circumstances of the university after Hurricane Katrina.

During the month of January, 2006, the plan was reviewed by the following groups: the University Faculty Senate, the Standing Committee on Academic Planning (SCAP), the University Planning Team (UPT), and the Council of Deans. In addition, the plan was put on the QEP Website for review by the entire university, and a Town Hall meeting was held on January 17, 2006. Finally, on January 23, 2006, the plan was approved by the SACS Leadership Team. The Board of Trustees has been kept informed of the QEP progress throughout the process.

It is important to note the context in which the QEP team and the university community were working in early 2006. Although the campus was restored to full functioning by January, when we reopened for the spring semester, the city itself was only beginning to struggle toward recovery. Entire neighborhoods were reduced to rubble. Grocery stores and pharmacies operated only a few hours a day. Hospitals and medical facilities were closed. Utility services were only partially restored throughout the city, so that faculty and staff were living, in some cases, without electricity and hot water. Others had been displaced into FEMA trailers. Many of those whose residences were intact were sheltering family and friends in cramped quarters. Many faculty had lost entire libraries and years of research in flooded homes. In the midst of these severely challenging conditions, however, faculty and staff returned with a deep commitment to the university and to our students. To afford students the chance to make up work lost during the fall evacuation, faculty volunteered to teach in an intensive “Spring Two” semester, which was conducted in May between the regular spring term and summer school.

Longer-term Aftermath

The effects of Katrina on the university only began to be felt in 2005-06. By Fall 2007, Loyola found itself in a dramatically different resource situation than in 2004-2005 when the QEP plan was being drafted, and the QEP team found it necessary to adjust its planning to meet the new realities.

Enrollment Declines
Steep enrollment declines forced budget cutbacks across the board. The Fall 2007 first-year class, at 495 students, represented only 61% of Fall 2004 and 53% of Fall 2005 first-year enrollments. The fall 2006 class had been almost as small. As a highly tuition-dependent university, we knew that the budget shortfalls would affect us adversely not only in 2006 and 2007 but also throughout the following four years as these small classes of freshmen became sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Exacerbating this problem was a falling retention rate: largely as a result of Katrina, F06-F07 freshman-sophomore retention slipped from an average of 81% over the previous five years to 79%. F07-08 retention slipped to 73%.

Faculty and Staff Attrition
Faculty and staff attrition reduced the number of people who could devote time to campus-wide QEP activities. Between spring 2006 and fall 2007, support staff positions were cut by nearly 50%, and FT faculty numbers were only 84% of the F04 total. This reduction in faculty and staff meant that the faculty who remained were assigned to increasing amounts of advising, committee work, and in many cases heavier than usual teaching loads. Departments that had been supported by full-time administrative assistants either shared 50% time with other departments or did without administrative support altogether, further increasing faculty departmental responsibilities. In addition, 60% (12 of 20) of the faculty and staff authors of the original QEP had left the university by 2007, significantly depleting the QEP leadership.

Restructuring of the University
From spring 2006 throughout spring 2008 a major reorganization of the university took place under The Pathways Plan. The College of Arts and Sciences was eliminated and became the College of Humanities and Natural Sciences; the College of Music absorbed the departments of Visual Arts and Theater from the former A&S into a new College of Music and Fine Arts; the undergraduate social sciences from the former A&S combined with graduate professional programs into a new College of Social Sciences, and City College, which served adult and continuing students, was eliminated and decentralized into the new colleges with an office of Professional and Continuing Studies established in its place. As a result of the restructuring, three of the five undergraduate colleges were led by fall 2007 by interim deans. A new Vice President for Student Affairs was hired in fall 2007and subsequent departmental reorganizations and staffing changes occurred in that division as well from 2007 through 2009.

Thus, by fall 2007, Loyola was confronting a resource crisis: incoming classes over 50% smaller than in 2005, retention rates dropping nearly 10%, staff cut in some areas by 50%, and faculty attrition of 16%, resulting in increased workloads for faculty and staff who remained. The university was also undergoing profound changes associated with a full-scale restructuring and new leadership in decanal and vice presidential positions

The Revised Plan
After weighing our institutional strengths and weaknesses, the QEP team revised the plan in Fall 2007 to ensure that the student learning outcomes associated with the theme Thinking Critically, Acting Justly could be achieved and sustained. The team, which represented faculty, staff, students, and administrators from every area of the university, created a more tightly focused enhancement plan that could be implemented within the new constraints. The narrower focus simplified the administration of the QEP without diminishing the potential for broad-based involvement by the campus constituency. It also incentivized participation in QEP projects for an overburdened faculty. Because of the importance of the QEP to our mission and planning, the team recommended that, despite budget cutbacks across the university, the full QEP budget remain in place. The plan was approved by the Implementation and Oversight Committee in December of 2007.

The Revised Quality Enhancement Plan retains the three initiatives of the original QEP with modifications designed to adapt to the university’s realities after Katrina. Details of these initiatives, (1) First-Year Experience, (2) Faculty Development, and (3) Student Leadership, follow.

Initiative 1

Thinking Critically, Acting Justly: The First-Year Experience

An effective First-Year Experience program (FYE) offers the university the opportunity to orient incoming students to the mission of the institution and the values of the Loyola community while preparing them for successful learning and the demands of college life. Loyola had recognized this opportunity before 2005 and begun to organize its resources for this crucial moment in a student’s life at the university. However, the efforts varied across colleges and from year to year. The FYE initiative mandates institutionalization of one facet of the first year experience, the interdisciplinary first-year seminar, across colleges. The seminar lays the foundation for a Loyola education through an emphasis on critical thinking and writing, reflection on justice, and understanding of Jesuit values. In doing so, it provides a springboard to enhanced learning in these areas throughout students’ academic careers. The seminar will be required of all first-year students as the gateway to the Loyola’s Common Curriculum.

Goal and Outcomes: First-Year Experience.

Goal: Create program of First-Year Seminars as a gateway to the Common Curriculum to introduce students to college-level critical thinking, issues of justice and injustice, and the values of a Jesuit education.

 Outcome. First-Year Seminars will improve first-year students’ understanding of critical thinking and just action in an academic context.

As a result of the First-Year Seminar, Loyola’s FY Students will:

  • engage critically with issues of justice and injustice and learn to take well-reasoned positions on these questions.

  • learn to express these positions effectively in written and oral communications.

  • understand the Jesuit values that underlie a Loyola education and animate its Common Curriculum.

Activities to Achieve this Outcome:

Over the next four years, a program of first-year seminars will be developed to afford every first-year undergraduate student an engaging introduction to the intellectual life that is the goal of a liberal arts education—the rigors of thinking critically, the satisfaction of a commitment to pursuing justice, and the writing, speaking, and information literacy skills needed fully to participate in the community of scholars that is Loyola university. Beginning with a pilot program of experimental elective seminars, we will develop a second pilot of required seminars for students across the university. We will assess strengths and weaknesses of the pilot programs, recommend adjustments as needed, and seek approval for incorporation of the seminars into the Common Curriculum, presently under revision. Our goal is to secure this approval by 2011-12. The seminars will serve as the gateway course to the Common Curriculum by acculturating students to an approach to academic inquiry grounded in Jesuit values.

The seminars will be small (20 student maximum) interdisciplinary courses designed to challenge students to think critically about a single topic from multiple perspectives and to explore the ways that questions of justice and injustice are implicated in that topic.

The seminars will be offered by faculty from all undergraduate colleges. Faculty participation in the First-Year Seminar (FYS) program will be competitive, with proposals for new seminars solicited each year by an RFP and screened by a faculty committee using criteria developed by the QEP team.

In addition to the seminars developed for the general undergraduate population, special seminars will be tailored to the needs of first-year students in our evening and distance learning programs and for University Honors Students.

The seminars will function as learning communities for the small cohorts of 20 students, involving the students not only in classroom work together but also in co-curricular activities such as field trips, movie nights, social events, and community engagement projects.

To support the mandated First-Year Seminars, funds will be allocated to train faculty in best-practices in first-year teaching (see Initiative 2) and for supplemental activities for each learning community/FYSeminar cohort.

Program Evaluation: First-Year Experience
The effectiveness of the seminars in achieving the student learning outcomes related to “thinking critically, acting justly” will be measured using the following mechanisms:

  • Tests and papers
  • Course evaluations
  • Faculty evaluations
  • NSSE and CLA data
  • Retention data
  • Pre-and-post test performance evaluations

Faculty who make changes to their courses as part of the FYE experiences will submit their syllabi for analysis to assess the inclusion of thinking critically and acting justly. In those courses student course evaluations will include questions to assess student perceptions of the degree of inclusion of thinking critically and acting justly into the courses. Rubrics will be developed for use with the assessment of syllabi.

Implementation: First-Year Experience

Implementation and monitoring of the First-Year Seminars will be the responsibility of the First-Year Experience Subcommittee of the QEP. The Subcommittee will be composed of one faculty member from each of the four undergraduate Colleges: Humanities and Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Business Administration, and Music and Fine Arts; a faculty member from the Division of Professional and Continuing Studies; a representative from the University Library; staff members from Student Affairs representing co-curricular programs and new student orientation; a representative from the Jesuit Center; and a representative from the Provost’s Office.

The Subcommittee will be responsible for

  1. Articulating student learning outcomes related to critical thinking and just action for the First-Year Seminars
  2. Developing criteria for successful First-Year Seminar course proposals
  3. Drafting and distributing a Request for Proposals for First-Year Semnars
  4. Screening and selecting First-Year Seminars to be offered each year
  5. Collecting and evaluating assessment data on the program
  6. Revising criteria as needed
  7. Drafting a proposal to the Standing Council on Academic Planning for inclusion of the First-Year Seminars in the Common Curriculum
  8. Communicating to the campus at large news and information about the First-Year Seminar program; creating mechanisms for campus-wide feedback on the program
  9. Creating an annual report describing activities, assessments, and recommendations for the following year.

At its discretion the FYE Subcommittee may create and delegate tasks to workgroups who will report to the committee as a whole. The Subcommittee will meet regularly throughout the year.

Budget: First-Year Experience
The university has committed $40,500 to support co-curricular activities for the First-Year Seminar program 2008-2011. We have proposed that these funds be incorporated into permanent budgets in the division of Academic Affairs by 2011-12.

 

First-Year Seminars 08-09 09-10 10-11 11-12
Activity funds $500/seminar $5500 $15,000 $20,000 University
  11@500 30@500 40@500 Line-item

Initiative 2

Thinking Critically, Acting Justly: Faculty Development

The need for faculty development in critical thinking and just action became apparent as the QEP team deliberated about the definitions and understandings of thinking critically and acting justly in light of the Jesuit vision of education. We discovered that there were great discrepancies among the members of the committee (and we thought among the faculty at large) about what exactly we meant when we discussed both of these terms. Many departments have articulated student learning outcomes focused on critical thinking, but discussion and faculty development across departments is minimal. In addition, the Jesuit Center on campus runs orientation programs, retreats, and discussions, and even brings in speakers, but these programs are not pedagogically focused, nor are they integrated with the teaching of critical thinking.

In the light of our plans for the First-Year Seminar to lay in the groundwork in critical thinking and Jesuit values for the rest of the curriculum, we decided that a faculty development program anchored in these topics should be offered initially to support the FYE Initiative and later to expand to training all faculty in these two areas, the twin cornerstones of our mission. The initial goal of the Faculty Academy will be to improve first-year teaching to enhance student learning in the areas of critical thinking and just action. The longer-term goal will be to use the Faculty Academy as a model for improved teaching of critical thinking and just action across all courses at the university.

Goal and Outcomes: Faculty Development

Goal: Create a Faculty Academy to prepare faculty for more effective outcomes-based course development, for teaching through active learning and Ignatian pedagogy, and for improved teaching of critical thinking during the first year. 

 

Outcome: Loyola’s faculty will develop improved skills in the teaching of critical thinking and just action and will apply these skills in First-Year Seminars that lay the foundation for a Jesuit education.

 As a result of participation in the Faculty Academy, Loyola faculty will:

  • create first-year seminars designed to teach critical thinking effectively and engage students with issues of justice and injustice inherent in the subject matter of the course.
  • clearly delineate in their syllabi student learning outcomes and assessment measures for critical thinking and understanding of justice.
  • employ pedagogies of active learning and Ignatian reflection in their FY Seminars.

Activities to Achieve this Outcome:
The Faculty Academy will be taught over the spring semester to prepare faculty for more effective outcomes-based course development, for teaching through active learning and Ignatian pedagogy, and for improved teaching of critical thinking during the first year of college. The Academy is based on the successful best-practices program in the former College of Arts and Science (PIES: Program for Instructional Education and Support) geared toward improving teaching for those faculty working with freshmen. The PIES program had been highly selective and carried a substantial stipend ($5,000), and it served faculty in only one of the undergraduate colleges. To expand the PIES program into a university-wide Faculty Academy, we will retain the selectivity, restricting it to those faculty whose proposals are chosen for First-Year Seminars, but we will invite faculty from across the four undergraduate colleges to propose the seminars. A $3,000 stipend will be offered to encourage First-Year Seminar proposals and incentivize participation in the Academy.

The Academy will operate as a seminar, meeting monthly during the spring semester and for an intensive week in mid-May. Substantial reading assignments in developmental learning, teaching critical thinking through active and problem-based learning, writing-to-learn, experiential learning, co-curricular learning, Jesuit discernment and Ignatian pedagogy will be assigned and posted to a course Blackboard site. Online discussion will be encouraged between sessions. Monthly sessions will include speakers from the Jesuit Center and University Ministry, the Division of Student Affairs, the Writing Across the Curriculum Center, and from among outstanding teaching faculty across the university. The week-long session in May will be devoted to methods of structuring a syllabus, designing assignments, assessing learning outcomes, small group discussions of these topics and presentation, at the week’s conclusion, of newly created syllabi and assessment plans by all participants. We anticipate enrolling 20 faculty per year in the Academy through 2011-12 and expanding these enrollments in the programs that spin off from the Academy model beginning in 2012-13 and following.

Program Evaluation: Faculty Development Initiative

The evaluation of the Faculty Academy is necessarily tied to how effectively student learning outcomes are achieved in the First-Year Seminars. Therefore, the primary way we will assess the success of the Academy will be to evaluate the extent to which the seminars enhanced students’ critical thinking and understanding of just action. We will employ course evaluations of the FY Seminars as well as pre-and-post test performance evaluations using rubrics to assess critical thinking skills and understanding of justice. We will also use self-report surveys by faculty participants to assess strengths and weaknesses of the Academy, and the Faculty Development Subcommittee will do a content analysis of the syllabi and assignments produced during the Academy.

Implementation: Faculty Development Initiative

Implementation and monitoring of the Faculty Academy will be the responsibility of the Faculty Development Subcommittee of the QEP. The Subcommittee will be composed of one faculty member from each of the four undergraduate Colleges: Humanities and Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Business Administration, and Music and Fine Arts; a faculty member from the Division of Professional and Continuing Studies; a representative from the university library; staff members from Student Affairs representing co-curricular programs and new student orientation; a representative from the Jesuit Center; and a representative from the Provost’s Office.

The Subcommittee will be responsible for

  1. Articulating learning outcomes for the Faculty Academy
  2. Selecting texts
  3. Designing the syllabus
  4. Selecting and recruiting speakers
  5. Selecting and recruiting facilitators
  6. Collecting and evaluating assessment data
  7. Communicating to the campus at large news and information about the Faculty Academy; creating mechanisms for campus-wide feedback on the program
  8. Creating an annual report describing activities, assessments, and revisions for the following year.

At its discretion the Faculty Development Subcommittee may create and delegate tasks to workgroups who will report to the committee as a whole. The Subcommittee will meet regularly throughout the year.

Budget: Faculty Development
The university has committed $183,000 to support the Faculty Academy 2008-2011. We have proposed that these funds be incorporated into permanent budgets in the division of Academic Affairs by 2011-12.

Faculty Academy 08-09  09-10  10-11  11-12
Faculty Stipends $3000  $33,000 $75,000 $75,000 University
  11@$3,000 25@$3,000 25@$3,000 Line-Item

Initiative 3:

Thinking Critically, Acting Justly: Student Leadership

The intention of the QEP is not merely to enhance students’ understanding of critical thinking and just action but to lead them to apply critical thinking to experiential problems and enact just action in the world. The third initiative of the QEP moves critical thinking and just action beyond the classroom walls into the community and offers students the chance to deepen their understanding of these skills and values by living what they have learned.

Initiative Three achieves this goal in two ways: through a Service Learning Program that offers students community-based experiential learning opportunities as part of their academic study and the Cardoner Leadership Fellows Program anchored in first-year seminars, social justice related community projects, and a residential living/learning community.

Service Learning
A broad-based service learning program bridges students’ academic coursework with opportunities to apply their learning in real-world settings—local businesses, nonprofits, community agencies, schools—in a way that develops them in the Jesuit tradition as “men and women with and for others.” Service learning requires that students think critically in situations that present challenges, that call for decision making, and require that they evaluate issues in light of their classroom learning.

Literature documents the benefits of incorporating service learning into college and university curricula and shows the link of service learning to the QEP theme. For example, the Higher Education Research Institute, in its Executive Summary: How Service Learning Affects Students (2000), noted that service learning participation shows significant positive effects on the following measures: academic performance (GPA, writing skills, critical thinking skills), values (commitment to activism and to promoting racial understanding), self-efficacy, leadership (leadership activities, self-rated leadership ability, interpersonal skills), choice of a service career, and plans to participate in service after college.

A program structured to select community partners oriented to serving others, working on behalf of justice, advocating for the poor, and improving public education can vastly enrich students’ understanding of what it means to act justly in the world. Our QEP envisions such a program.

Goal and Outcomes:  Service Learning

Goal: Re-establish and develop a more robust service learning program to bridge students’ academic coursework with opportunities for community engagement and service.

Outcome : Loyola students will be involved in just action outside the classroom as a result of a program that develops their community engagement skills

As a result of participation in service learning courses and activities, Loyola students will

  • understand the distinction between service/volunteerism and social change/social justice
  • understand causes of social problems
  • be able to make connections between classroom material and out-of-class service learning experiences
  • be able to engage in a critical examination of personal values and beliefs

Activities to Achieve this Outcome:

To meet these goals, the Service Learning program will create a network of community partners, carefully selected for congruence with Loyola’s values and mission. Faculty will be recruited and trained to offer service learning courses that incorporate projects and/or placements with community partners. Service learning course components will require students to apply concepts learned in class to workplace situations, particularly through assignments requiring reflection. Reflection is the mechanism that links theory to practice and fosters in-depth development of critical thinking. Unlike other forms of experiential education (such as internships), reflection in a service learning context has a multilayered quality: reflection on the service experience results not just in greater mastery of course content but also in an expanded appreciation of the contextual and social significance of the discipline and an enhanced sense of social awareness and responsibility. Thus, reflection on service learning experiences—in both written assignments and class discussion— will reinforce learning and integrate conceptual study with relevant experience.

Training will be designed and delivered to participating faculty and community partners to help them understand how to enhance students’ critical thinking and just action within the service learning experience. Training for community partners will focus particularly on Loyola’s mission. Faculty training sessions will focus on ways to design reflection assignments to achieve student learning outcomes. Stipends of various amounts will be budgeted for this training.

Program Evaluation: Initiative 3/Service Learning
The effectiveness of the Service Learning program in achieving the student learning outcomes related to “thinking critically, acting justly” will be measured using the following mechanisms:

  • Participation rates
  • Content analysis of syllabi
  • Student surveys
  • Review of student reflection papers
  • Faculty surveys
  • Faculty interviews
  • Community partner surveys

Rubrics will be designed to assist in this assessment.

Implementation: Initiative 3/Service Learning
Implementation and monitoring of the Service Learning Program will be the responsibility of the Service Learning director ( to be hired) under the guidance of the Faculty Development and Student Leadership Subcommittees. The director will be responsible for organizing a Service Learning Advisory Committee, (composition TBA) which will periodically report to the QEP team on activities, assessments, evaluations, and program revisions.

In consultation with the QEP Subcommittees and Service Learning Advisory Committee, the Service Learning director will be responsible for

  • Creating a network of appropriate community partners for service learning courses
  • Recruiting faculty to develop service learning courses
  • Designing training programs for faculty and community partners
  • Delivering training programs
  • Communicating to the campus at large news and information about service learning; creating mechanisms for campus-wide feedback on the program
  • Collecting and evaluating assessment data on service learning courses, projects, and placements
  • Creating an annual report describing activities, assessments, and revisions for the following year

Budget: Initiative 3/Service Learning

The university has committed funds to hire a full-time director for the Service Learning Program and provide an operating budget for supplies, travel, and general expenses. In addition, $15,000 has been allocated to fund service learning training programs for faculty and community partners for the years 2008-2011. We anticipate that funds for participant stipends will become a permanent part of the Service Learning budget by 2011-12.

  08-09 09-10 10-11 11-12
Participant Stipends $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 University
(Training Sessions)       Line-Item

The Cardoner Student Leadership Program

Research has consistently shown that students learn more effectively when actively engaged in the learning process and in groups of their peers. In Exploring Leadership, for College Students Who Want to Make a Difference, the authors state, “Leadership development is greatly enhanced when you understand how important relationships are in leadership, that is, when you see the relational foundation of the leadership process. Three basic principles are involved: knowing, being and doing” (p.5). The authors explain knowing and critical thinking (“You must know – yourself, how change occurs, and how others views things differently than you do”), being (“You must be ethical, principled, open, caring, and inclusive”), and doing and acting justly (“You must act in socially responsible ways, consistently and congruently, as a participant in a community and on your commitments and passions”).

The benefits of such relationships are maximized when they occur in a structured context coupling academic work with a residential community and a program of experiential learning. The Cardoner Student Leadership Program creates such an integrated learning structure and emphasizes the QEP theme of “thinking critically, acting justly.”

The Cardoner program will select 20 students each year on a competitive basis for participation in a First-Year Seminar “Rebuilding New Orleans,” social justice and service projects, leadership training, and a residential learning experience. After the first year, Cardoner Fellows remain together for additional leadership training, community service, internships and a capstone experience. Senior Cardoner Fellows will mentor others.

The Cardoner Leadership Program supports the commitment to living/learning communities (LLCs) for first-year students envisioned in the original QEP. It scales the plan down, however, to a single LLC which can become a high-quality model for others in the future. It also extends the benefits of the LLC concept throughout four years of college, with Cardoner Fellows remaining intact cohorts from the freshman through the senior years

Goals and Outcome: Cardoner Leadership Program

Goal: Create the Cardoner Student Leadership Program that integrates a First-Year Seminar with residential learning communities and social justice related recovery projects in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Outcome: Loyola students will be involved in just action outside the classroom through a program that develops their leadership skills

As a result of living in the Cardoner Leadership Learning Community and participating in the FY Seminar, “Rebuilding New Orleans” Loyola students will :

  • acquire a strong foundation of transferable leadership skills
  • understand the Jesuit mission of education
  • join and work in campus and community organizations
  • develop critical thinking skills

Activities to Achieve These Outcomes:

Cardoner Fellows will enroll in a first-year seminar specially designed to combine rigorous academic work with experiential learning. The seminar, “Rebuilding New Orleans,” will challenge students to think critically about the issues facing the city in the aftermath of Katrina, engage with real-world social, economic, and political issues in the local community, and participate in service to the city by researching and writing white papers on topics of current importance, working with the public schools, presenting positions to the New Orleans City Council and other activities.

Cardoner Fellows will enroll in a first-year seminar specially designed to combine rigorous academic work with experiential learning. The seminar, “Rebuilding New Orleans,” will challenge students to think critically about the issues facing the city in the aftermath of Katrina, engage with real-world social, economic, and political issues in the local community, and participate in service to the city by researching and writing white papers on topics of current importance, working with the public schools, presenting positions to the New Orleans City Council and other activities.

Program Evaluation: Initiative 3/Cardoner Student Leadership Program
The effectiveness of the Cardoner program in achieving the student learning outcomes related to “thinking critically, acting justly” will be measured using the following mechanisms:

Assessment Mechanisms:

  • Course evaluations
  • Content analysis of academic and service projects
  • Retention data
  • Participation rates in campus in community activities
  • Focus groups

Implementation: Initiative 3/Cardoner Leadership Fellows Program
Implementation and monitoring of the Cardoner Leadership Fellows program will be the responsibility of the Student Leadership Subcommittee of the QEP. The Subcommittee will be composed of the Director of Co-Curricular Programs, one faculty member, and one student representative. In consultation with relevant faculty and the Director of Residential Life, the subcommittee will be responsible for

  • Planning the integration of academic, residential, and co-curricular components
  • Recruiting and screening students for selection as Cardoner Fellows
  • Recruiting faculty and staff to teach academic and leadership courses
  • Planning service projects
  • Communicating to the campus at large news and information about the Cardoner program; creating mechanisms for campus-wide feedback on the program
  • Collecting and evaluating assessment data on courses, service projects, and residential experiences
  • Creating an annual report describing activities, assessments, and revisions for the following year

At its discretion, the Student Leadership Subcommittee may create and delegate tasks to workgroups who will report to the committee as a whole. The Subcommittee will meet regularly throughout the year.

At its discretion, the Student Leadership Subcommittee may create and delegate tasks to workgroups who will report to the committee as a whole. The Subcommittee will meet regularly throughout the year.

Budget: Initiative 3 08-09 09-10 10-11 11-12
Cardonoer Leadership Program $5,000  $5,000  $5,000  University
Events, Retreats, Materials        Line-Item

 Total Budget for the Quality Enhancement Plan 2008- 2012

First-Year Seminars 08-09 09-10 10-11 11- 12
First-Year Seminars        
Activity funds $500/seminar $5500 $15,000 $20,000 University
  11@500 30@500 40@500 Line-item
Faculty Academy        
Faculty Stipends $3000 $33,000 $75,000 $75,000 University
  11@$3,000 25@$3,000 25@$3,000 Line-Item
Service Learning        
Participant Stipends $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 University
        Line-Item
Student Leadership $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 University
        Line-Item
Total $48,500 $100,000 $105,000  
         
Three-Year Total: $253,500        

Task and Timelines

Click here to view chart »

Appendix A: Loyola University Mission Statement

Loyola University New Orleans, a Jesuit and Catholic institution of higher education, welcomes students of diverse backgrounds and prepares them to lead meaningful lives with and for others; to pursue truth, wisdom, and virtue; and to work for a more just world. Inspired by Ignatius of Loyola’s vision of finding God in all things, the university is grounded in the liberal arts and sciences, while also offering opportunities for professional studies in undergraduate and selected graduate programs. Through teaching, research, creative activities, and service, the faculty, in cooperation with the staff, strives to educate the whole student and to benefit the larger community.
Approved by Loyola University New Orleans Board of Trustees (March 5, 2004)

Appendix B: Jesuit Mission of Education

The Jesuit approach to education integrated the systematic approach to education of the University of Paris, the critical thinking approach of scientific education, and the formational influences of the humanistic schools of the Renaissance. Ignatius’ genius often consisted in integrating and organizing things he learned from others. But I think the best way to understand the distinctive characteristics of Jesuit education comes from Ignatius’ own spirituality that shaped the spirituality of the Society of Jesus.

Ignatius’ spirituality emphasizes the fact that God has a personal concern for and a personal hope for each person. Jesuit schools emphasize a personal concern for and respect for each student and they try to provide an atmosphere in which that can take place. Just as Ignatian spirituality incorporates the whole person, intellect, emotions, imagination, etc., Jesuit schools dedicate themselves to the growth of the whole person, academically and intellectually, but also socially, morally, spiritually, and personally.

Since a cornerstone of Ignatian spirituality is finding God in all things, a hallmark of Jesuit education is the affirmation of the goodness of the world, of all creation. Since everything can be a means of encountering and knowing God, the study of anything can be a means of encountering, knowing, and serving God. Jesuit schools have always found their base in the liberal arts, which foster the growth of the whole person and which provide a broad understanding of the human experience. Early Jesuits found the study of the natural sciences as a way of understanding the world remarkably consistent with and encouraged by their spirituality. And they got involved in art and music as a way to express their own spirit and their affirmation of the world.

At Manresa, Ignatius learned to sort through the interior movement in his own heart, discovering which to listen to and follow and which to reject in his attempt to live out his dedication to God with integrity. In the academic world of the University of Paris this translated into critical thinking, learning to sort through ideas and arguments, discovering which to affirm and which to reject. As a consequence, Jesuit schools have also emphasized developing critical thinking, but critical thinking in the context of a conceptual framework and a value system, on the part of students.

Ignatius valued action. As a “contemplative in action,” he saw himself called to work with Jesus to bring the world back to God. Similarly, he and the early Jesuits wanted students to be active in their own education. Jesuit schools encouraged student projects, presentations, and debates, play and performances, anything that encouraged students to appropriate knowledge for themselves and to think things through and reason things out for themselves. But activity alone is not educative. Since Ignatius learned so much by reflecting on his own experience, and since reflection on experience is one of the key notes of Ignatian spirituality, Jesuit education has traditionally emphasized reflection on experience as a key learning technique. Jesuit education involves reflection on numerous types of experience: on the types of learning experience mentioned earlier in this paragraph, on the experience of serving others, on the needs and dynamics of society, and on one’s faith and values and their meaning for one’s life.

Since companionship was important for Ignatius’ spirituality, a sense of community became important for Jesuit education. Ignatius’ idea was that students, faculty, and staff form a learning community with a lot of personal interaction and mutual concern. In many ways, learning takes place in an environment of interpersonal relationships. This, along with the care for the person mentioned above, opens the way for a genuine sharing of people’s lives and visions. Community and communication also takes place between the Jesuit schools. As in Ignatius’ time, people who hold similar jobs in various Jesuit schools still communicate with each other and often meet together regularly to share ideas, talk about what works and what doesn’t, and discuss ways of structuring their areas of responsibility to enhance the Jesuit character of their schools.

Ignatius had the attitude of wanting to help people. The Society of Jesus exists to help and serve people, to do what is most needed. Service to others characterizes Jesuit education. Whether it is through a specific service project geared to help those who lack basic necessities or whether it is through the attitude with which one teaches, works, or studies, Jesuit schools believe that we need to serve others. In terms of service projects, Jesuits always remember that their schools are educational institutions rather than social service agencies, so the key values in service are the development of compassion, the formation of an attitude of service, and the reflection on the experience of service and the experience of the poor.

Ignatius always wanted students and teachers in his schools to be aware of their social environment, the world around them, and the needs of that world. He wanted people to know how the world works, so it would make sense to him for students to study law, business, sociology, and other social sciences. But he was not so interested in people simply functioning well within the world, but in people serving God through the world. That involved improving the world so that people are better helped and served. It involved “doing what is most needed” to help. As part of the process of reflecting on experience, Jesuit schools have emphasized reflecting on the experience of service, the experience of the social environment, and the needs of the world to discover what is most needed.

In 1973, Pedro Arrupe, S.J., at the time the superior general of the Society of Jesus, gave an address to a group of European alumni at Valencia, Spain. In his talk, he stated that the greatest need in our world was the need for social justice, and the kind of person the world needed was what he called “men for others,” persons who were selflessly concerned about the most needy in our world. Since then, Jesuit schools have adopted his phrase as “men and women with and for others” and have set as a goal of Jesuit education the formation and development of such persons. In 1978, the 32nd General Congregation of the Society of Jesus articulated as the contemporary mission of the Jesuit Order, the “service of faith and the promotion of justice.” This dual mission becomes operative in every Jesuit’s life and work, and in every apostolic work undertaken by the order. Whatever the Jesuit institution, whether it be a parish, a retreat house, a high school, or a college or university, it is characterized by the service of faith and the promotion of justice.

Jesuit schools operate within a history and a tradition of Jesuit education, dating back to 1548. They also operate within a history and a tradition of Catholic education, dating back even further. But they are also universities which operate as universities. As Jesuit and Catholic schools, they operate with an overall vision. As universities they respect the free search for knowledge and wisdom. While respecting that search, they do focus their attention on helping their students understand what it is to be a person in society and in a world. To that extent they have always emphasized the study of philosophy. They have also focused their attention on helping their students understand what it is to be a person and a world before God. To that extent, they have emphasized the study of theology. There is a contemporary tension between having an overall vision and respecting the free search for knowledge and wisdom. What matters at this moment in the debate is finding a way to respect the terms “Jesuit,” “Catholic,” and “university.”

Fr. Peter Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., the superior general of the Jesuits, articulated that in a speech on “The Place of Justice in Jesuit Higher Education,” in Santa Clara, California, in October of 2000:

In the words of General Congregation 34, a Jesuit university must be faithful to both the noun "university" and to the adjective "Jesuit." To be a university requires dedication "to research, teaching and the various forms of service that correspond to its cultural mission." To be Jesuit "requires that the university act in harmony with the demands of the service of faith and promotion of justice found in Decree 4 of General Congregation 32."i

Overall, Ignatius was concerned about what kind of persons the graduates of Jesuit schools became. Fr. Kolvenbach re-emphasized that in his Santa Clara talk:

But the measure of Jesuit universities is not what our students do but who they become and the adult Christian responsibility they will exercise in the future towards their neighbor and their world. For now, the activities they engage in, even with much good effect, are for their formation. This does not make the university a training camp for social activists. Rather, the students need close involvement with the poor and the marginal now, in order to learn about reality and become adults of solidarity in the future.ii (p. 7 and 8)

Ignatius wanted people to see the world as a gift from God. He wanted people to see, as he saw, that everything we are and have—our memory, intellect, will, energy, freedom, talents, and abilities—was a gift from God to be shared freely with God and others. As a response to being given so much, he wanted people to be generous. For him, these were the two most important virtues, gratitude and generosity. For him they made a person magnanimous or “great-souled.” In the tradition of Ignatius, Jesuits want the graduates of our schools to become men and women who are grateful and generous, who are “great-souled,” who have the wisdom to understand themselves and the world, who are mindful of the needy, and who have the knowledge and skill and the compassion and courage to do what is most needed in our world.
*
i GC34, D.17, nn.6,7. in . Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., THE SERVICE OF FAITH AND THE PROMOTION OF JUSTICE IN AMERICAN JESUIT HIGHER EDUCATION. Santa Clara University, October 6, 2000. p. 11.
ii Kolvenbach, op. cit. pp.7-8.

Appendix C: SACS Mandate

he Nature and Purpose of the Quality Enhancement Plan

The Principles of Accreditation attests to the commitment of the Commission on Colleges to the enhancement of the quality of higher education and to the proposition that student learning is at the heart of the mission of all institutions of higher learning. The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is a component of the accreditation process that reflects and affirms both of these commitments. Developing a QEP as a part of the reaffirmation process is an opportunity and an impetus for the institution to enhance overall institutional quality and effectiveness by focusing on an issue or issues the institution considers important to improving student learning.

The QEP describes a carefully designed and focused course of action that addresses a well-defined topic or issue(s) related to enhancing student learning. The QEP should complement the institution’s ongoing integrated institution-wide planning and evaluation process and is not intended to supplant or replace the processes described in Core Requirement Five and Comprehensive Standard Sixteen. On the contrary, the topic or issue identified for the QEP may very well evolve from these existing processes, as well as from other issues stemming from the institution’s internal reaffirmation review.

While many aspects of the accreditation process focus on the past and the present, the QEP is “forward-looking” and thus transforms the process into an ongoing activity rather than an episodic event. Core Requirement Twelve requires an institution to have a plan for increasing the effectiveness of some aspect of its educational program relating to student learning. The plan launches a process that can move the institution into a future characterized by creative, engaging, and meaningful learning experiences for students.

The Meaning of Student Learning in the Context of the QEP

Student learning is defined broadly in the context of the QEP and may address a wide range of topics or issues. Student learning may include changes in students’ knowledge, skills, behaviors, and/or values that may be attributable to the collegiate experience. Examples of topics or issues include, but are not limited to, enhancing the academic climate for student learning, strengthening the general studies curriculum, developing creative approaches to experiential learning, enhancing critical thinking skills, introducing innovative teaching and learning strategies, increasing student engagement in learning, and exploring imaginative ways to use technology in the curriculum. In all cases, the goals and evaluation strategies must be clearly linked to improving the quality of student learning.

From Handbook for Reaffirmation of Accreditation (Commission on Colleges, 2003)

Appendix D: QEP Design Team, 2004-05

The QEP Design Team was appointed in the spring of 2004 by Interim President William Byron to recommend to the SACS Leadership Team a process for the development of Loyola’s Quality Enhancement Plan.

John Cornwell, Provost's Office
John Biguenet, English
Barbara Fleischer, City College
Bea Forlano, SGA President
Si Hendry, S.J., Jesuit Center
Laurie Joyner, Arts and Sciences
Edward Kvet, Music
Jac McCracken, Music
Julia McSherry, Institutional Advancement
Isabel Medina, Law School
Deborah Poole, University Library
Michael Saliba, Business Administration
John Sears, Administrative Senate
Karen Shields, Student Affairs
Deborah Zimmerman, Business and Finance

Appendix E: University QEP Team, 2005-06

Name/email address Affiliation
John Biguenet biguenet@loyno.edu  
Mary Blue  mblue@loyno.edu Standing Council for Academic Planning
Katie Codina kmcodina@loyno.edu Student Government Association
David Estes estes@loyno.edu Provost’s Liaison (non-voting)
Alicia Hansen ahansen@loyno.edu University Libraries
Si Hendry sihendry@loyno.edu Jesuit Center
Brenda Joyner bjoyner@loyno.edu Business Administration
Laurie Joyner ljoyner@loyno.edu Arts & Sciences—Social Sciences
Leslie Lunney lalunney@loyno.edu Law
Jac McCracken mcracken@loyno.edu Music
Julia McSherry mcsherry@loyno.edu Institutional Advancement
Constance Mui cmui@loyno.edu Arts & Sciences—Humanities/Arts
Connie Rodriguez rodrigue@loyno.edu University Planning Team
Karen Shields kshields@loyno.edu Student Affairs
Thom Spence tgspence@loyno.edu Arts & Sciences—Natural Sciences
Cathy Vaughn cvaughn@bcm.org Alumni/Baptist Community Ministries
Billie Ann Wilson bwilson@loyno.edu City College
Debbie Zimmerman dbzimmer@loyno.edu Business and Finance
Georgia Gresham gresham@loyno.edu University Budget Committee
James Bradley, S.J. jpbradle@loyno.edu Board of Trustees

Appendix F: QEP Selection Criteria for Loyola University's Quality Enhancement Plan

  • The QEP clearly fosters the mission of Loyola University and is congruent with strategic planning.
  • The QEP operationalizes the Jesuit identity of the University.
  • The potential benefit of the QEP to students is clear and compelling.
  • The QEP’s distinctiveness has the potential to increase the national visibility of Loyola University.
  • The scope of the QEP is broad enough to include, at a minimum, all undergraduates at some point in their Loyola experience.
  • Broad consensus around the QEP is demonstrated from the stakeholders (i.e., trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni & alumnae) who will be directly affected by the project.
  • Projected cost of the QEP is justified by the potential for significant enhancement of student learning.
  • The proposed QEP is amenable to assessment and has measurable outcomes.
  •  The QEP balances creativity and risk-taking such that the probability of success is high.
  • The QEP is a long-term, enhancement project that demonstrates Loyola’s commitment to student learning.

[Approved by University QEP Team, SACS Leadership Team, and President’s Cabinet]

Appendix G: The University QEP Team, 2007

Name Affiliation
Roger White Vice Provost, Academic Affairs
QEP Director
Implementation and Oversight Committee  
Valerie Goertzen                  Music and Fine Arts
Alicia Hansen University Library
Jerry Fagin, S.J. Jesuit Community
Kate Lawrence   Business Administration
George Capowich  Institutional Effectiveness
   
Faculty Development Committee  
Melanie McKay     Special Assistant to the Provost
Edward McClellan  Music and Fine Arts
Michael Pearson   Business Administration
Nathan Henne Humanities and Natural Sciences
Teri Gallaway  University Library
Leann Steen  Counseling
Lydia Voigt    Social Sciences
Ted Dziak, S.J.   Jesuit Center
   
 First-Year Experience Committee  
 Melanie McKay  Special Assistant to the Provost
 Mark Fernandez    Humanities and Natural Sciences
 Kathy Barnett  Business Administration
 Brad Petitfils   University Library
 Craig Beebe   Residential Life
   
 Student Leadership Committee  
 Chris Cameron  Co-Curricular Programs
 Vicki Vega  Music and Fine Arts
 Anick Megie  Student Representative

 

Bibliography

References for the Description of Justice:

Byron, William J., S.J. “Ten Building Blocks of Catholic Social Teaching.” America. October 31, 1998.

Kammer, Fred, S.J. Doing Faith Justice: An Introduction to Catholic Social Thought. New York: Paulist Press. 1991. esp. “Introduction,” pp. 5-11.

Kolvenbach, Peter Hans, S.J. The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education. Speech given at Santa Clara University, October 6, 2000. http://www.scu.edu/news/attachments/kolvenbach_speech.html

Massaro, Thomas, S.J. Living Justice: Catholic Social Teaching in Action. esp. Chapter 5: “Nine Key Themes of Catholic Social Teaching,” pp. 113-163.

Our Mission Today: The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice. General Congregation 31. Decree 4. Documents of the Thirty First and Thirty Second General Congregations of the Society of Jesus. Saint Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources. 1971. pp. 411-438.

Our Mission and Justice. General Congregation 34. Decree 3. Documents of the Thirty Fourth General Congregation of the Society of Jesus. Saint Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources. 1995. pp. 39-48.

Jesuits and University Life. General Congregation. Decree 17. Documents of the Thirty Fourth General Congregation of the Society of Jesus. Saint Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources. 1995. pp. 189-194.

i GC34, D.17, nn.6,7. in . Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., THE SERVICE OF FAITH AND THE PROMOTION OF JUSTICE IN AMERICAN JESUIT HIGHER EDUCATION. Santa Clara University, October 6, 2000. p. 11.

iiKolvenbach, op. cit. pp.7-8.