Thomas Miles

Dr Thomas Miles – University of North Texas


Dr Miles is a faculty member in the Honors College at the University of North Texas.

Background


One of the goals of our university-wide Quality Enhancement Program (QEP) is to prepare students for life beyond the classroom with exercises and assignments that prepare them for career or real life challenges.

The Assessment


Personal responsibility is a goal of the HNRS 1100 Good Society course in the Honors College. One of the course goals is to “produce informed and active citizens through the process of thinking critically about major problems.” Thus, an overriding course goal is to explore social issues like poverty, education, healthcare and war. Assignments are geared at proposing solutions to real world challenges.

Challenges


  • The first challenge is that personal responsibility is sort of a squishy term. Guidance as to what the aims of the rubric are, or how assignments should be geared would be helpful.
  • Secondly, I am not sure if the other core course I teach, HNRS 1500, Introduction to Research, is fully conformable to this rubric. The students do engage actual research topics, but pure academic questions are often value neutral, for instance process questions in engineering/materials science do not have social impact in a pure sense.

 Reflections


  • In my experience, students do seem to enjoy having personal responsibility as part of the course objective. They are often quite idealistic and exhibit a concern for the world.
  • Additionally, having this component of the course formatted as a response paper or free writing exercise gives them a chance to express themselves without fear of reprisal or confrontation.