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Enhancing the Culture of Learning Through Literacy in the First-Year Experience

Alabama State University’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)  is an essential component of the university’s reaffirmation of accreditation process. Just as importantly, however, its development has come at a time of renewed and dynamic focus on the future of the university. This convergence of the development of the QEP with the revitalizing emphasis on moving Alabama State University forward creates an unparalleled opportunity for launching a process that positively impacts student learning and thereby enhances overall institutional quality and effectiveness.

Vision 2020: The Alabama State University Transformation Plan outlines the comprehensive change in direction for the university over the next ten years. The bold and robust vision of this strategic plan incorporates, among several transforming actions, the building of a “culture of learning” to provide ASU students the kind of “education appropriate to cope with the challenges and realities of the 21st century.” Embedded in this vision is the awareness of a need to continue to uphold the institution’s historic role as a premier historically black college/university while effectively addressing the growing diversity of a population of students who must prepare for success in a more technological, multinational world community.

Appropriately, the overarching theme guiding all aspects of the university’s progression toward the year 2020 echoes the idea of “rebirth,” of capturing the best of what has gone before and moving boldly in a new direction--The Renaissance: Building a Culture of Learning. The Transformation of Alabama State University through Excellence in Teaching, Research, Service and a Diverse Population. The mission, core values, goals, and objectives articulated in the Vision 2020 strategic plan are framed to assure a “unified approach” to meeting the needs and requirements of all university constituents as the “Transformed ASU” becomes reality.

ASU’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) reflects and seeks to advance the university’s guiding theme. Titled “Enhancing the Culture of Learning Through Literacy in the First-Year Experience,” the QEP presents a model for instruction designed to draw upon and move beyond past and current practices. The goal is to revitalize the culture of learning starting with the student’s first-year (freshman) experience at the university.

This revitalization includes infusing into the core curriculum a dynamic focus on specific forms of literacy coupled with the development and use of innovative and engaging by strong teaching and active student engagement along with careful monitoring of performance contributes as well to an enhanced culture of learning. Some independent examples currently exist of faculty and students involved in classroom practices and processes termed “revitalizing” in this document. However, the Quality Enhancement Plan will direct a well-coordinated, broad-based, and concerted effort, with university-wide management and support, designed to realize significant improvements in student learning and in overall institutional quality.

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