Quality Initiative Project
Believe it or not, I was not always an enthusiastic student that loved her school, and everything in it. I just wanted to graduate. When I began the QIP workshop in May, 2014, I was coming off an incredibly difficult semester. I had hit a roadblock and, like many other students, I had no idea how to take my next steps. Though I did not expect it at the time, the workshop was an eye opening experience for me, one that helped restore my faith in education.
The Quality Initiative Project is an assessment effort to determine the depth of public affairs knowledge held by students of all fields and disciplines. During the nearly week-long summer workshop, other students, faculty and staff reviewed anonymous completed assignments to find out what students learn and how they learn it in a way that complements the university mission.
Throughout the week, I had the opportunity to witness how much teachers actually care about their students’ learning. Sometimes, as a student, it’s easy to assume that instructors are teaching their classes as a means to a paycheck. The QIP workshop proved the opposite: the participating faculty sincerely cared about how deeply students were understanding the principles of public affairs. For them, it was not enough that students could repeat the names of the public affairs pillars. They wanted to know if students learned enough about the university’s mission to be an example of public affairs in their daily lives.
“The QIP workshop challenged us to analyze ourselves, on a personal level as well as an academic level.”
I don’t think I was the only QIP participant that got more than I bargained for from the workshop. Though the workshop’s purpose was to evaluate student work, it became much, much more. The QIP workshop challenged us to analyze ourselves, on a personal level as well as an academic level. Before this workshop, I didn’t give much thought to the public affairs mission. I never even considered why it was so important to the university. But now, I understand its purpose and hope to make it a part of my life outside of the university setting. The principles of the public affairs mission will help our generation create a better world. Equally important, I now know that my instructors care about my learning. The faculty that I met through the QIP workshop showed me that they want students to succeed; not just in the classroom, but in life, as well.
Challenge and Opportunity
Overall, the QIP workshop was an incredible experience for me. It allowed me to learn so much about our school, our mission and myself. The workshop gave me an opportunity to have a voice and to know that my opinions mattered. My input was taken seriously and showed me that even as a student, I am an important actor in determining the direction of this university. I am so grateful for the opportunity and hope that I will be able to attend other QIP workshops in the future. But the experience isn’t just limited to me; I hope that future generations of students continue to take part in this amazing opportunity.
Students: if your attitudes are like mine prior to the workshop, please take heart in my experience. You have an important voice and you are lucky to be at a university where the faculty take student experiences to heart. And just as important, we are part of a community determined to make the world a better place by means of the public affairs mission.
Professors, faculty and staff: don’t be afraid of the public affairs mission. It may seem like a challenge to add new curriculum to your courses, but your contribution will make a difference in the lives of your students. Remember, teaching the Public Affairs Mission is not something that needs to be made as an assignment or a new unit; it can be found in how you portray yourself and in your teaching. As professionals at this university, we should be able to embody this mission in both your personal and professional life. If that can be done, teaching the PA mission will become the norm. If we work together, we can help make a brighter future for everyone!
– Louise Love