Teams of faculty from three University of North Carolina campuses have launched pilot projects designed to help students improve their critical thinking and written communication skills, as well as expand opportunities for students to get valuable internship experience. Grant funds to support the projects at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Western Carolina University, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte were awarded by UNC General Administration’s Office of Learning Technology & Innovation.
Grants were awarded to:
- “Competently Ready to Work,” a fully online internship-readiness program being developed by Florence Martin, associate professor and program director, instructional systems technology, UNC Charlotte, and Jeff Ertzberger, lecturer and director of technology, Watson College of Education, UNC Wilmington.
Online modules will focus on six competencies that are crucial for post-graduation success and are sought by North Carolina employers: motivation, leadership, collaboration, professionalism, digital literacy and ethical decision-making. When the pilot program is completed in spring 2016, the modules will be published and available for use throughout the UNC system.
- “Enhancing Competencies and Civic Engagement: Virtual Field Experiences for Students in Online Academic Programs,” a proposal developed by Marie-Line Germain, associate professor of Human Resources and Leadership, Western Carolina, and John Sherlock, associate professor of Human Resources and director, online master of science program in Human Resources, Western Carolina.
- Students in the online master’s degree in Human Resources program will serve as human resources consultants for an array of nonprofit organizations, small businesses and local government agencies, which often can’t afford to hire in-house HR personnel or consultants. Since the program is 100 percent online, the pro bono consulting work is delivered remotely and integrated into a course as a team project.
- The consulting projects challenge students to engage in critical thinking to analyze clients’ consulting needs, work collaboratively as a team to develop client solutions and engage in effective written and oral communications with team members and clients.
- “Critical Thinking, Deliberately” a proposal developed by Cara Cilano, professor of English and general education program director, UNC Wilmington, and Colleen Reilly, professor of English, UNC Wilmington. This project will focus on critical thinking across disciplines through the creation of a three-course, campus-wide general education requirement.
The “Critical Thinking Capstone” will be delivered online and assess student progress in meeting this core competency established for UNC students.