Salem College’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) enhances student learning through an interdisciplinary senior course that empowers students to evaluate, appreciate and integrate multiple perspectives in a collaborative project as they prepare to be agents of change. The foundation of the QEP derives from the College’s core values of learning that is grounded in excellence, in community and in responsibility to self and others, and from the College’s mission as a liberal arts college that prepares women to change the world.
The senior interdisciplinary seminar offers an integrative learning experience in which seniors explore a critical question from multiple perspectives; develop a creative response to that question; and communicate their response effectively. The seminars include a diverse group of student scholars from a variety of majors to ensure an interdisciplinary lens through which seminar participants will define and research a central question. As participants in this capstone course, students integrate various disciplinary perspectives to develop a multifaceted response to the central question posed in the seminar.
The QEP strengthens and enhances the senior year experience of Salem College students and is part of a three-pronged approach to the senior year: the senior interdisciplinary seminar, the senior capstone course in the major and the Celebration of Academic Excellence. Currently, the academic emphasis of the senior year is the capstone course in the major. In 2008 following the articulation of the College’s core values of the importance of community to the academic development of our undergraduates, the faculty instituted the Celebration of Academic Excellence, a day-long symposium each spring at which seniors present their research projects and artistic achievements. This tradition provides the entire Salem College community with the opportunity to celebrate academic excellence and the accomplishments of our students in their majors.
The senior interdisciplinary seminar proposed in the QEP complements this focus on the major through its emphasis on the integration of the liberal arts. Showcasing student achievement in the senior interdisciplinary seminar at the annual Celebration of Academic Excellence gives the full community a better understanding of the centrality of interdisciplinary collaboration in the analysis of and resolution to complex questions.