MT Engage, MTSU’s Quality Enhancement Plan 2016-2021, developed through an inclusive, comprehensive approach that included input from faculty, administration, and staff, as well as students, alumni, and community members. The process began in 2014 with input from the QEP Topic Selection Committee after the review of assessment data, University resources, and the current initiatives within the University.
Upon acceptance of the concept from the President’s Cabinet, a second committee, the QEP Development Committee, was formed to work toward building the MT Engage program. The QEP Development Committee included teams dedicated to developing student learning outcomes and goals; continuing research and conducting literature reviews; resource allocation planning; faculty training and development; program components; and marketing. This committee gathered further input from students, faculty, staff, and community leaders through multiple surveys, small focus group meetings, and open forum informational sessions. The feedback and data gathered through these avenues was then incorporated into the formulation of the program.
Read the full plan MT Engage: MTSU Quality Enhancement Plan
MT Engage, seeks to create a culture in which students become actively engaged in their learning. This will be done by
- building a campus climate in which faculty are encouraged and supported to teach with high impact educational practices; and
- creating opportunities for students to reflect on and document their own learning.
Student engagement is a priority at MTSU. The university’s mission statement stresses the importance of fostering “a student-centered environment conducive to lifelong learning, personal development, and success” and challenging students “through diverse teaching methods and media including educational technology, experiential learning, undergraduate and graduate research, and co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.” This emphasis is further supported by the university’s 2015-2025 Academic Master Plan’s Strategic Direction 1, which aims to “promote engagement that supports learning, scholarship, and student success.” The university’s Quest for Student Success strategic planning document also emphasizes the importance of pedagogies that enhance learning through hands-on learning and strategic use of technology that allows for more classroom interaction. Despite all this emphasis, MTSU’s scores on the National Survey of Student Engagement, results of student focus groups, and faculty surveys demonstrate a need for a renewed, deliberate, and sustained plan to address student engagement on our campus.
In order for students to become more engaged in their learning, faculty must first create opportunities for them to become physically and psychological involved in productive learning activities. MT Engage will create a support network to help faculty integrate high impact education practices into their classroom teaching and supplement student learning with relevant co-curricular activities. These high impact practices, based on the research of George Kuh (2008) and the Association for Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), include learning communities, problem-based learning, collaborative learning, project-based learning, and research, as well as co-curricular activities like attending cultural events, participating in Scholars Week, and community involvement. Faculty who choose to learn about and implement such practices can earn an MT Engage-designation for their classes, and students can then seek out these engaging learning environments throughout their educational careers at MTSU.
In addition to creating opportunities for engagement, the second key piece of MT Engage is getting students to reflect and think about their learning. Each MT Engage-designated course will require students to complete at least one assignment that fosters integrative thinking and reflection. This metacognitive process will result in students demonstrating their ability to make connections across multiple contexts and educational experiences and developing a sense of themselves as learners. Examples of this work will be collected in personalized ePortfolios which will become showcases for students’ integration of the knowledge, skills, and abilities gained during their time at MTSU.
What is the MT Engage implementation timeline?
- Pilot select MT Engage courses in Fall 2015 and Spring 2016.
- Fall 2016 introduce MT Engage in freshman and sophomore level MT Engage classes (Year 1).
- Fall 2017 recruit additional freshman and sophomore level MT Engage classes (Year 2).
- Fall 2018 pilot MT Engage in some majors (Year 3).
- Fall 2019 recruit additional majors to participate (Year 4)
- Fall 2020 pilot MT Engage in some graduate programs (Year 5).
How is MT Engage different from our last QEP, Experiential Learning (EXL)?
MT Engage also was informed by its prior QEP, Experiential Learning (EXL). After a review of the current listing of EXL courses, it was noted that very few of the courses were offered at the lower division level, creating a gap in the freshman and sophomore years during a time when students are at risk of leaving the University. MT Engage addresses this gap by initially focusing on freshman and sophomore level courses and students, including a sophomore ePortfolio product. Experiential learning can best be described as “that learning process that takes place beyond the traditional classroom and that enhances the personal and intellectual growth of the student.” MT Engage also expands the academic engagement strategies beyond EXL (internships, education abroad, applied experience, service-learning, creative activity, teacher education and lab courses) to include academic engagement practices that may be more suited to lower division instruction and may exist only within the classroom. MT Engage is focusing on only one student learning outcome which is integrative thinking and reflection.