The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has launched a five-year initiative, “Creating Scientists: Learning by Connecting, Doing and Making,” to expose undergraduate students to more hands-on research and collaborative opportunities and help them hone their analytical and problem-solving skills to tackle real-world problems.
The plan is not just for science majors, notes Kelly Hogan, director of the Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP. An important element is to connect the arts and the humanities with the sciences so that students can increase their critical thinking and communication skills and diversify their perspectives.
“The process of science is non-linear, non-prescriptive and sometimes messy,” said Hogan, who is also assistant dean of instructional innovation in the College of Arts & Sciences and a senior STEM lecturer in biology. “This QEP will implement educational innovations that align more closely with contemporary models of teaching and learning science — the interconnections between how ideas arise and then are tested, the feedback from scientific community, and the needs of society.”
The QEP is a required part of the University’s reaffirmation (reaccreditation) process by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Every university undergoing this 10-year review is required to create a plan that focuses on broad-based campus initiatives to improve student learning. (Carolina’s last QEP, in 2006, revamped the General Education curriculum and introduced Maymester, for example.)
Story Geneva Collins and Cyndy Falgout of the UNC-Chapel Hill College of Arts & Sciences. Video by Rob Holliday, University Communications. Published March 9, 2017.