The Inquiry ARC project will focus on enhancing students’ critical thinking through participation in academically rigorous experiences that involve inquiry, application, reflection and communication.
Although an inquire-apply-reflect-communicate experience may be present in a variety of forms in many courses at UNC Asheville, the QEP will provide professional development opportunities and other support to help educators enhance their students’ critical thinking throughout this experience.
UNC Asheville's Quality Enhancement Program (QEP), Inquiry ARC, centers on improving critical thinking through activities of inquiry, application, reflection and communication.
The concept began as part of the university's SACS accreditation review in 2010, when a team of faculty, staff and students led by Dr. Mary Lynn Manns began a process in soliciting feedback through surveys and other venues to ultimately identify critical thinking as a shared priority on our campus. The resulting 2012 Inquiry ARC SACS Report was enthusiastically received by the SACS review team in spring 2012. The implementation of the project began in fall 2012 by a group of twelve pilot faculty.
It is our hope that by the 2017 SACS review, the Inquiry ARC initiative will have made a significant impact on our students' capacities for critical thinking. While students will learn these skill-sets for the most part in an academic context, they are also broadly transferable to range of life experiences and situations. Inquiry ARC further reflects UNC Asheville’s dedication to providing an education that empowers students for active and meaningful futures marked by a love of learning and the intellectual and emotional capacity to be “seriously creative” throughout their lives.
The focus of the UNC Asheville QEP is on enhancing critical thinking through participation in academically rigorous projects that are carefully mentored, student-driven, and shared with others. The framework for these academically rigorous projects is titled Inquiry ARC and is described as follows:
Inquire (I) - The process of identifying an issue or concept to explore in a project. It is a question-driven search for understanding that requires asking relevant and probing questions from multiple perspectives and gathering information from a variety of sources (literature, experts, communities, or individuals).
Apply (A) - The process of designing and implementing a project that is identified during inquiry and results in a product (e.g., oral presentation, paper, film, poem, experimental design, marketing campaign, installation, program, or musical composition).
Reflect (R) - Reflect refers to the practice of periodically reviewing, evaluating, and deepening learning.
Communicate (C) - Communicate refers to the process of sharing what one has learned orally, visually and/or in writing.
Events — Fall 2013
Application Cycle for SP 2014 courses and co-curricular experiences
Friday, August 30 - September 20
Find details on the Inquiry ARC website.
Critical Thinking in Your Classroom Workshop – KH 232
Friday, August 30 (3:00pm - 5:30pm)
Critical thinking is the focus of our Quality Enhancement Plan and a vital component of our liberal arts education at UNC Asheville. You want to include “critical thinking” in your classroom, but what does this really mean you should or could do? And, have you ever asked yourself, “how can I teach critical thinking when I have so much content to cover”? This seminar will help with these and other challenges—it will introduce a collection of classroom exercises that promote critical thinking as a way of teaching and helping students gain a richer understanding of course content.
Mary Lynn Manns recently attended the Critical Thinking Institute in Berkeley, California and came away with a wealth of information from instructors in many different disciplines who are incorporating critical thinking into their classrooms. She held one seminar this summer to share some of what she learned and, just in time for the start of the school year, this is a repeat performance. Come prepared to think about your thinking!
Round Table with Pilot Faculty – Laurel Forum
Friday, September 20 (4:00pm-6:00pm)
(this event was previously scheduled for Friday, September 13)
Experienced Inquiry ARC Scholar/Educators will share their experiences with interested colleagues. Roundtable followed by brief reception.
Inquiry ARC Reading Circle (for SP 2014 participants - location TBA)
Wednesday, Oct. 30, Nov. 6, Nov. 13, Nov. 20 (time TBA)
First Friday Workshop - Critical Thinking in the Classroom: What Is Next for You? (CTL)
Friday, November 1 (12:45pm-1:45pm)
This First Friday workshop is intended to help staff and faculty extend their work with applying critical thinking in the classroom. We’ll take an opportunity to reflect on experiences teaching critical thinking and then work towards generating new ideas for the future. Intended for ongoing participants in Inquiry ARC, but all faculty and staff are welcomed.
Inquiry ARC Fall Party — location TBA
Friday, November 15 (5:00pm-7:00pm)
Our gathering at Avenue M was a hit last year, so please plan to join us there again this fall to catch up with colleagues.
(All Day Workshop) for SP 2014 participants — location TBA
Monday/Tuesday, December 16 & 17
Our two day workshop revolves around hands-on applications of critical thinking techniques within the Inquiry ARC framework. Breakfast and lunch provided.
Find out more about the Inquiry ARC program, including minutes from recent team meetings and ways that students, faculty and staff can participate in the program:
You can also contact the Director of the Inquiry ARC program:
Lorena Russell, Ph.D.
Director, UNC Asheville’s Inquiry ARC
email@example.com | 828. 251. 6594
CPO #2130, Department of Literature & Language