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QEP:go wild and read!

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Students have seen these words in Tyler Junior College’s newspaper, on pamphlets with a picture of a green frog and even written over and over again on the new lanyards, but most students are still wondering what it is.

“We see it everywhere, but we do not know what it is nor how students can get involved in it,” said Perry Muncie, a TJC student.

Statistics indicate that less than half of Texas students entering college are actually ready for college-level reading, according to wordpress.com. Only 60 percent of TJC students are college-ready in reading. According to TJC administration, TJC students’ comprehension is below their peers in other parts of the country.

“Reading is an important component for most of the classes. It should be a basic professionally and personally,” said Homer Butch Hayes, TJC Provost.

So what is the QEP? The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) to ‘go wild and read.’ It is an area of focus to improve students’ skills. The administration studied multiple ways to improve education and came up with the “Quest for Success,” with the goal of improving reading skills as its main focus.

“When we talk about reading and improving reading comprehension, we are not asking if students can read or not. It is more about if they have the skills to extract the information they are reading,” said Lori Fos, QEP director and reading specialist.

Combining this new initiative with community reading activities, courses, academic support services and learning communities will keep the campus focused on reading comprehension.

The QEP is part of the TJC’s reaffirmation that takes place every 10 years. It has been 10 years since the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) came to TJC for accreditation; with accreditation students can transfer their TJC credits to four-year universities with no problem. The SACS commission is the accrediting body for the schools in the South, from Virginia to Texas. They will be coming to TJC in October.

“All the colleges have to pick a QEP. Not every college does the same thing. For example, the QEP at UT-Tyler was globalization. Our QEP is focused on improving reading comprehension skills,” said Hayes.

UT-Tyler’s focus on globalization will help students to relate to economics, societies and cultures included in a global network. TJC’s goal is to have a reading culture were students will have the ability to understand what is being read.

“The focus is to improve the courses students at TJC are taking and help faculty to do their best in using and teaching the ways to use the reading strategies,” said Fos.

Some of the objectives of the Quest for Success campaign are to provide opportunities that will help students professionally, personally and will also provide them with a better chance to reach academic success. Providing support to students and giving professional training to faculty in the use of strategies will be important to make this campaign successful.

“We want the students to know about this. We are going to put big banners out, meet with the Student Senate and create groups so they can get involved. The library will be the main location for all this,” said Hayes.

The programs and courses that will involve faculty and students will not only increase students’ reading comprehension strategies across the curriculum, but will also develop a reading-related environment and community partnerships.

“We are just waiting for the approval of SACS. We believe we will receive it really soon. In that moment, we will know our funding and we will start from there to get the school involved. Right now we are just preparing,” said Hayes.

SACS accrediting body team will come to TJC from Oct. 12-14. The library will be the main location for the QEP campaign and all TJC staff and students are encouraged to participate.

For more information call Lori A. Fos at (903) 510-2786 or the administrative assistant in the office of the Provost at (903) 510-3203.

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