Inquiry ARC

Inquiry ARC logo 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 futuresmarked by a love of learning and the intellectual and emotional capacity to be “seriously creative” throughout their lives.


A student talks to other students about the Inquiry ARC program

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. 

Visit the Inquiry ARC website for more information, or contact the Director of Inquiry ARC:

Lorena Russell, Ph.D.
Director, UNC Asheville’s Inquiry ARC | 828. 251. 6594
CPO #2130, Department of Literature & Language