Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Frequently Asked Questions
- Is the Cornerstone course a remake of existing SLS course(s)?
No. Cornerstone is completely new. The course will have different outcomes and an innovative focus on student learning. Learning objectives will be integrated with student support initiatives, linkages to other courses and professional development sessions for faculty and staff. Cornerstone will eventually replace existing SLS courses.
- If we are piloting Cornerstone with students testing into two College Prep courses, how can critical thinking concepts be embedded successfully?
Cornerstone faculty will challenge each student to his or her highest level of ability by employing a critical thinking methodology.
Dr. Steve Atkins, Vice President of Academic Affairs, invites you to read an article entitled, The Role of Critical Thinking in Students’ Acquisition of Foundational and Factual Knowledge which describes the role of critical thinking for all aspects of learning. NOTE to Daniel: Please make this a link
- It sounds as if college prep faculty would be best equipped to teach Cornerstone during the pilot implementation.
In order to make the curriculum relevant to individual learners, students will enter Cornerstone on a pre-major track based on personal interests. Purposefully matching discipline-based faculty with students will result in meaningful connections and assist students in their transition to college. Faculty selected to teach Cornerstone will complete extensive professional development, including successful classroom strategies for students in developmental courses. Cornerstone faculty may also be college prep faculty. Selection criteria will be based on talent, potential for working with first-year students, knowledge of their particular needs and challenges, enthusiasm for the Cornerstone initiative, and support of Edison State College’s commitment to student success.
- Current first year students who are finding their way have a lot to offer when it comes to course design and desired outcomes. Are students involved?
Beginning in Spring 2011, student focus groups will be conducted as the next step in Cornerstone development. The Lee Campus Student Government Association has received updates on the project, and offered its assistance. The QEP Committee will make certain that input continues to be gathered from a representative student sample.
- As cohorts are being phased in, what if other students want to take Cornerstone as an elective?
The College is committed to making sure that Cornerstone is implemented successfully and that it has the maximum value to the learning experience of first-year students. This is why we are being very deliberate in rolling out the program over a five-year time frame. This will ensure that we make best use our human, intellectual and other resources, and that we can continuously improve course and program outcomes for when it is fully implemented.
- I see that applied learning is one of the fundamental concepts within Cornerstone. Will students have access to tutors in subsequent gateway courses to help improve retention and grade point averages?
Through Academic Success the college currently offers a variety of tutoring opportunities for students in gateway courses and other courses. The QEP Committee is exploring the idea of piloting strategies informed by Supplemental Instruction in one or more gateway courses.
- Will Cornerstone course outcomes include students accessing and posting documents an information management platform?
Yes. Because Technology and Information Management is one of Edison State College’s General Education outcomes, students will access one or more technology platforms in the Cornerstone course.
- If Cornerstone will count toward graduation requirements as an elective, it will not generate any additional revenue. How will we pay for it, especially in five years when every new student will be required to enroll?
A course fee will be established to help offset associated costs. Edison State College is committed to student self-reliance in the pursuit of learning here and beyond. Investing in student success will reap far more than monetary benefits, and is a most appropriate use of tuition and State funding.
- Will there be a mechanism to release students from the requirement if they can demonstrate mastery of course competencies, e.g. older student with successful work/management experience or graduating HS senior who has taken advanced placement courses?
Yes, the Committee envisions a process to accommodate a student’s prior experiential learning.
- If we’ve deemed the course to be essential to student success, what is the rationale for waiting five years to phase everyone in?
In a recent study, the College found that first-time students enrolled in college prep courses were taking longer to complete an associate degree. Less than 4% of students requiring prep work in all three areas graduated at the end of a three year period, compared to 24% of students without prep requirements. A deliberate, phased-in approach will enable Edison to assess learning outcomes and to examine the overall impact of Cornerstone on student success within smaller cohorts.