Engagement plan in development

Adriane Hardin

Western wants its students to be engaged in 2005, and they aren’t talking about the kind that leads to walking down the aisle.

The university is developing a plan to get more students involved in their classrooms, communities and on campus.

But how that will be done has not yet been answered.

The quality enhancement plan is being created by a steering committee made up of students, faculty, administrators and community members.

A draft of the plan, which is called “Engaging Students for Success in a Global Society,” is part of the university’s Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation process and is due next month.

“We’re saying that at Western we really believe that it’s important to get our students involved in things that are going to shape their learning,” Provost Barbara Burch said.

What the plan will entail has not yet been decided, said Richard Bowker, chair of the QEP steering committee.

It is a long range plan that will be laid out over the next five to 10 years, he said.

“We’re aggressively moving ahead to try to put together this preliminary plan,” he said.

He said they are optimistic that it will be transforming for students and for the university.

The committee is currently trying to define what it means for students to be engaged in their own education.

Troy Ransdell, the Student Government Association’s representative on the QEP committee, said the plan will mean changes in the “culture of Western.”

Ransdell said one of the most basic aims of the plan is to encourage students to be more involved on campus.

“Western is a suitcase school, and we’re trying to help fight that image,” he said.

But a lack of opportunities isn’t a problem, Bowling Green senior Amanda Daugherty said.

She is completing a bachelor’s degree program in middle grades education after earning a bachelor’s degree in government. She is an alumna of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority.

“I mean, there’s just a wide range of things the university offers,” Daugherty said.

Bowker said he hopes this plan will make more students aware of those opportunities and encourage them to take advantage.

“We are going to be known by the opportunities for students to become engaged in the classroom, on the campus, in the broader community and in the world,” Bowker said.

The plan is designed to evolve as Western gets a better understanding of what student engagement is and how that relates to student success, he said.

“The result will be transforming the educational experience of students,” he said. “It’s about transformation. It’s about value added to their education.”

Reach Adriane Hardin at [email protected]