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Quality Enhancement Plan Topic: Critical and Creative Thinking

Posted 3.15.12

Dear Colleagues:

In preparation for NC State’s reaccreditation in 2014 by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association on Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC), a significant requirement is the development of a plan to enhance the quality of education and improve student learning. This Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) must describe a carefully designed course of action that addresses a well-defined and focused topic or issue. The goal is to enhance student learning and/or the environment supporting student learning and the accomplishment of our mission.

We are very pleased to announce that our next Quality Enhancement Plan will focus on the improvement of student learning outcomes by enhancing our students’ skills in critical and creative thinking. The decision to focus on this topic was a direct outcome of our Strategic Planning Process and the work of the Student Success Team, who based their recommendations on input from faculty, students, staff, alumni, and business leaders. The selection of critical and creative thinking for our next QEP has been very positively received all across the campus.

While the general topic has been selected, there will be many additional opportunities for faculty, students, and staff to consider the best way to focus our efforts. To launch our QEP process, the Plan to Plan Committee, chaired by Dr. Sarah Ash, and I invite you to participate in a Critical and Creative Thinking Dialogue. The event will feature a welcome and introductory remarks from Provost Warwick Arden and from Committee Chair Sarah Ash. Marshall Brain, a member of the NCSU Academy of Outstanding Teachers and founder of the award-winning website, How Stuff Works, will discuss the importance of critical and creative thinking for student learning. His comments will set the stage for small group discussions intended to explore what we mean by critical and creative thinking, what improvements we would like to see, and what strategies we might consider. The Dialogue will take place Thursday, April 12, 2012 at the Jane S. McKimmon Center and will begin at 2 pm and end at 4:30, with refreshments provided.

It is our hope that faculty will lead the process. We anticipate that a QEP Steering Committee will be appointed, and they will ensure that the planning is faculty-driven. We also recognize that there may be many exciting opportunities and strategies that can be used throughout the campus, in co-curricular, as well as curricular areas. We hope that the entire campus, and especially our students will be excited and involved.

As we intensify our QEP planning next fall, we expect to announce several additional events and conversations so that we can both be inspired by and learn from the work of others in this area. All input from the spring and fall events will be used to inform and guide the work of the QEP Steering Committee.

The Plan to Plan Committee looks forward to receiving your ideas and suggestions for speakers and events. The Committee also welcomes nominations and self-nominations for individuals who would like to be involved during the coming year.

We believe that a plan to develop and strengthen our students’ critical and creative thinking skills will have a significant impact on the quality of our education. I hope you will join us as we begin our dialogue together.


Warwick Arden, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor


Sarah Ash, Chair, Plan to Plan Committee

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