The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Critical thinking focus of educational improvement

03_06_13_3thinkerBy Karen Gavis/editor-in-chief

A faculty think tank representing campuses districtwide is working behind the scenes and soliciting student opinions to ramp up one area of student learning — critical thinking.

Led by quality enhancement director Jill Pool, a group of five faculty campus representatives was created to research and design a five-year Quality Enhancement Plan. The plan is part of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation process, which determines whether a school gains a stamp of approval for educational standards.

Quality enhancement planners were saddled with the task of pinpointing a single area of student learning to focus on for improvement.

The chosen topic had to relate to student learning, and following a process of faculty interviews and surveys, critical thinking stood out as the prevalent theme, South QEP coordinator Maureen Hockenberger said.

“Not to say it [critical thinking] is not good now,” SE QEP plan coordinator Karl Robinson said, “but it’s trying to kick it up a notch.”

Hockenberger said focus groups are currently being conducted on each campus to gather and analyze data, and students have been recruited from campus organizations to be part of the information gathering process.

“This is part of the research aspect of developing the plan,” she said. “We will be doing two student focus groups per campus. That’s what we’re working on now.”

Along the way, plan developers have discovered the mission of defining critical thinking looms large, NE QEP coordinator Tramaine Anderson said.

Hockenberger said the team is researching and analyzing data to determine how students as well as faculty view critical thinking.

“However we end up defining critical thinking, that’s what we have to assess,” TR QEP coordinator Macario Romero said. “That’s going to be an interesting part of our plan is trying to get everyone on the same page.”

If successful, the plan will become an integral part of the college, and critical thinking will be a focus for years to come, Robinson said.

“This is a new initiative by SACS,” he said. “It’s trying to continually improve the educational system.”

Romero said TCC marketing students have been competing in a design contest to create a QEP logo to bring more awareness for the plan and its goal.

According to TCC’s website, SACS is scheduled to visit the college in October when TCC must “demonstrate its commitment to the implementation of the proposal.”

“Within the plan, there will be a process for measuring students’ improvements in critical thinking during the five years of implementation,” Pool said. “It is our desire that the QEP’s impact on students will run parallel to the Achieving the Dream efforts and will support TCC’s focus on student success.”

If approved by SACS, Pool said the plan will be implemented by the college, and in anticipation of approval, pre-implementation will begin in the fall.

“This is a major part of our accreditation,” Robinson said. “This is very significant. This is a big deal.”

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian