WHAT THE HECK IS ECHO?
JU, as a part of reaccreditation, must present a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) demonstrating a commitment to student learning.
ECHO: Everything You Do Comes Back to You is JU’s QEP – the new three-credit hour graduation requirement starting with the 2003-14 catalog that will challenge students to apply what they’ve learned in class to real-world situations.
JU’s QEP can be accomplished one of four ways:
- Undergraduate research/Independent study
- Service learning
- Study abroad
Jacksonville University’s reaccreditation site visit is March 5-7, 2003; Wednesday March 6 is QEP day! So …
Why are you telling me this?
Because on QEP day, the accreditation team will walk around campus and ask random people about the QEP and ECHO. So we need to educate everyone – but more importantly, we want everyone to appreciate the significant impact this new graduation requirement will have on the intellectual growth and maturation of our students.
Why did JU choose experiential learning as its QEP?
In 2007, JU hosted town hall meetings to develop our Strategic Plan, and JU said expanding internships, study abroad, service learning and undergraduate research was a priority.
In 2008, the QEP focus group committee hosted focus groups, and JU said:
- Increase rigor and expectations of students – we (students) need to be challenged.
- We have to get students to understand how everything is interconnected, and to learn beyond the classroom.
- Employers want the skills that experiential learning fosters.
In 2009, the QEP steering committee collected survey responses, and JU said:
- A love for study and curiosity needs to be encouraged among students, increase independent learning.
- Research projects opened the door to very profound changes in my own thinking and understanding.
- In every class there should be an experiential unit that demonstrates or underscores the concepts or skills taught in the academic part of the course material.
In 2012, 70 percent of our graduating seniors had completed an experiential learning course – about half because they had to as part of their degree requirements, the other half as an elective.
JU has long valued experiential learning, and now we are moving forward purposefully and thoughtfully to provide these rich experiences for all our students.
One question that current students might ask …
“Why should I care; this is not my graduation requirement?”
This is true – the requirement will apply to all incoming students beginning with the 2013-14 academic year, not our current students. But as we expand and improve our experiential learning opportunities, those students who already have to complete one of these courses as part of a degree requirement will have an improved experience. And for those students who are not required to take an experiential learning course as part of their major, increased opportunities AND recommendations from more of their peers who have taken one of these course, will pique their interest and motivate them to see what all the fuss is about.
This sounds great, how can I help?
Become an active component of the marketing campaign designed to bring everyone at JU up to speed and excited about our QEP. So first, if you have a university sponsored Facebook page, please click here and “like” ECHO. Second, this campaign was designed to target students (faculty, staff and administration tend to read memos and emails), so if we ask you to hand something out, or make an announcement, or click on a link – please play along. Finally, educate yourself and get excited, we will be providing daily nuggets of information to do both these things!
Here is another simple way to help spread the word about ECHO: Add this logo to your e-mail signature:
If you need help with this, send us an e-mail.
ECHO video contest (UPDATED WITH TWO CHANGES 2/22/13)
- Submit 30-60 second video “What ECHO means to you”, to the Facebook page.
- Videos must be uploaded by Friday 2/22 at 5 p.m. MONDAY, 2/25.
- All videos will be screened by a committee of JU faculty, administration and student judges for artistry and accuracy/content.
- Winner will be announced by Friday 3/1.
- Video with content not flattering to the university will be removed from the ECHO Facebook page and be disqualified – as determined by a majority of the judges.
- Only currently registered JU students are eligible for the prize.
- Winning video will receive a $250 gift card to the bookstore – can be split for joint submissions. (This prize money will be considered as income for tax purposes for those students who work on campus – and you will have to fill out a form.)
- This contest is sponsored by the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs of Jacksonville University.
- All questions should be directed to Dr. Karen Jackson.
Why is Experiential Learning our QE?
Because it is who we are -- just look at our Mission Statement:
The Mission of Jacksonville University is to prepare each student for lifelong success in learning, achieving, leading and serving.
Our learning experience will emphasize engaged learning, the integration of thinking with doing, and the combination of professional preparation with a strong liberal arts foundation.
Look at our Values Statement:
Students and the quality of their learning/living experience as the highest priority
Faculty and student engagement in teaching, learning and extending knowledge within an environment of excellence and academic freedom
Look at our Strategic Plan:
Creating a pervasive, quality-driven “JU experience” for everyone associated with Jacksonville University
Encouraging and rewarding scholarship among faculty and students
Establishing strategic partnerships with corporate communities for the University
We are, and have been, an Experiential Learning community. Now, with this initiative, we are going to ensure that ALL our undergraduates get a chance to grow, mature and excel.
Where did "ECHO" come from?
It is a long story, but here is the Reader’s Digest condensed version:
Originally an acronym for Excellence, Character and Humanity through Opportunity (credit to Joey Sanchez, class of 2009, 10) , the QEP-SC recognized that this theme was too diverse and cumbersome. Based on the data from the campus focus groups (2009), a survey distributed to students, faculty, administration, staff and the BOT (2010), the “E” became “Experience” and JU moved forward with developing and expanding the experiential learning opportunities at JU. Student leadership also suggested the tag line: “Everything you do comes back to you,” allowing the ECHO name to be retained. This theme is short, memorable and descriptive of both the responsibility of and reward to the student. It also keeps with JU’s mascot, Nellie the dolphin.
Why do we believe that Experiential Learning will improve student learning?
Here’s why. Students who have completed an EL course can:
- Connect relevant experience and academic knowledge
- Make connections across disciplines, perspectives
- Adapt and apply skills, abilities, theories or methodologies gained in one situation to new situations
- Demonstrate integrated communication
- Demonstrate a developing sense of self as a learner, building on prior experiences to respond to new and challenging contexts.
Even the funny pages know the importance of Experiential Learning
- "I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center." -- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
- "Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely." -- Auguste Rodin
- “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” -- Mark Twain
- “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” -- Aristotle