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Quality Enhancement Plan initiative focuses on climate literacy

Quality+Enhancement+Plan+initiative+focuses+on+climate+literacy

Every decade, universities have to go through a reaccreditation process to ensure students receive quality education, according to the Higher Learning Commission. The Quality Enhancement Plan is a resource universities use to improve Student Learning Outcomes.

App State’s previous QEP focused on Global Learning, requiring students to take a course that would cover that credit.

Faculty are working on a new QEP, named “Pathways to Resilience,” that would improve the climate literacy of students, making App State the first southern university to do so, said Shea Tuberty, a professor of biology and director of the QEP initiative.

The next version of general education requirements will include a sustainability and climate requirement. The courses offered for this requirement will be generalized courses offered by different departments.

“There are about a dozen departments out of the 45 or so on campus that offer an upper-level climate in the disciplines course,” Tuberty said.

Faculty who are working on the QEP initiative are hoping to create junior and senior-level capstone courses that focus on climate literacy.

“So if you are in the English department or the languages department or the philosophy department, you would be teaching climate solutions and climate literacy from different aspects that are very much necessary to move the global community to a more sustainable future,” Tuberty said.

The creation of these upper-level courses on climate literacy would prepare students to be able to understand climate solutions related to their careers in the future.

“Ideally, by the end of the Quality Enhancement Plan, every student at App State would get both basic climate literacy instruction in their General Education curriculum and then also more career-oriented instruction in their major around climate change,” said Laura England, practitioner in residence for the Department of Sustainable Development and associate director of the QEP.

In order to better educate students on these opportunities, University Communications has assisted in creating a website that will be focused on the QEP initiative, England said. The website will feature the initiative’s purpose as well as a subsection for students who are interested in taking more climate-focused courses.

“We are going to be working with a team of faculty to develop a climate studies minor that will be interdisciplinary,” England said. “Classes across campus can count in this climate studies minor that we envision and hope to pass within the first couple years of QEP.”

Information about the climate studies minor will be on the website when it becomes available. The website will also highlight scholarly activities around climate that students can get involved in.

“There is also going to be a section for faculty where we will share resources for the faculty who are doing the curricular development,” England said.

Faculty will be able to view resources and workshops that are available through this section of the website. There will also be a section for promoting events led by the initiative, student organizations and other entities on campus.

At the end of the semester, there will be a launch event for the QEP initiative with Britt Wray as the speaker for the event, England said.

Wray is the author of multiple books including her most recent book, “Generation Dread: Finding Purpose in an Age of Eco-Anxiety,” as well as the director of CIRCLE at Stanford Psychiatry.

“She is a leader at the intersection between climate change and mental health,” England said. “She has really been a leader in that work and particularly around how finding purpose is an antidote to difficult climate emotions.”

The QEP initiative launch event will be on April 25 at 6 p.m. in the Blue Ridge Ballroom of the Plemmons Student Union. More information on the event and the initiative can be found at resilience.appstate.edu.

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About the Contributor
Samantha Salvador
Samantha Salvador, Reporter
Samantha Salvador (she/her) is a freshman Spanish and political science major with a concentration in international and comparative politics from King, NC.
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