Quality Enhancement Plan Grant Project

Grant Project

Quality Enhancement Plan Grant

Dr. Victoria Russell and Dr. Adolfo Carrillo Cabello were awarded a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) grant in the amount of $39,163 by the Valdosta State University Undergraduate Research Council (May 31, 2013) for the project entitled, Toward the Internationalization of the Language Curriculum: Empowering Students through Inquiry-Based and Service Learning.

QEP Goals

The purpose of the QEP is to support the development of innovative projects for undergraduate students that focus on engagement in discipline-based inquiry to support the QEP’s three goals:

  • Students will develop basic knowledge of discipline-specific inquiry skills.
  • Students will apply discipline-specific inquiry skills from the classroom to resolve a specific question or problem.
  • Students will learn why and how to present the results of discipline-based inquiry in a professional or academic forum.

For more information on Valdosta State University’s QEP, visit: VSU Quality Enhancement Plan

Project Goals

Goal 1: Students will develop knowledge of discipline-specific inquiry skills.

With the guidance of faculty, Spanish for Professional (SFP) and Foreign Language Education (FLED) students conducted inquiry-based research in two areas, health care and education. To this end, students acquired practical knowledge of qualitative (i.e., critical-incident journaling) and quantitative (i.e., survey design and statistical analysis) methods and techniques.

Goal 2: Students will apply discipline-specific inquiry skills from the classroom to resolve a specific question or problem.

Both SFP and FLED students took the study abroad practicum (SPAN 4970) the semester prior to studying abroad (Spring 2014). In this practicum course, which was co-taught by the project coordinators, both groups of students completed IRB training and annotated bibliographies of key sources for their research projects. SFP students were trained to use critical-incident journaling while FLED students learned the principles of survey design and quantitative analysis using t-tests. In this course, FLED students designed a survey that they administered to foreign language teachers in the U.S. and in Spain.

During the summer semester of 2014, SFP and FLED students took Spanish language coursework at the University of Cádiz in Spain. In addition to coursework, students in both programs also completed an in-service learning experience in Spain. SFP students completed a professional internship with the Spanish Red Cross and FLED students conducted observations at an international Spanish language school for secondary students.

SFP Component

During their internship with the Spanish Red Cross, students in the SFP program used critical-incident journaling to identify social, cultural, and economic dimensions that impact the quality and efficacy of service in the health care system in Spain. Guided by faculty, students investigated more in-depth one of the contributing factors that they were able to identify. This  culminated in a research paper that students wrote during their coursework in Spain. SFP students had the opportunity to take a special course on the health care system of Spain at the University of Cádiz. During this course, students compared and contrasted the health care systems in the U.S. and Spain, noting what is done well and what could be improved in each country.

FLED Component

FLED students conducted observations and collected instructional resources at an international language school (Centro MundoLengua) for secondary students in Cádiz, Spain. The school attracts students from every nationality and Spanish is the only common language among students and instructors. In addition, all of the instructors use the communicative language teaching approach, which focuses on the notions and functions of language rather than on grammatical structures. FLED students kept a journal where they were prompted to compare and contrast the instructional methods, techniques, and activities used by the foreign language teachers in Spain with those that they have experienced as learners of Spanish in the U.S. at the secondary and post-secondary levels. Finally, FLED students administered their survey to secondary and post-secondary foreign language teachers in Spain and to secondary and post-secondary teachers in the U.S. upon their return home. With the guidance of faculty, they analyzed the data quantitatively using an independent samples t-test.

Goal 3: Students will learn why and how to present the results of discipline-based inquiry in a professional or academic forum.

Students in the SFP program completed research posters for submission to the undergraduate research symposium at VSU. They also presented their results at the Foreign Language Association of Georgia (FLAG) conference and at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) conference. With the guidance of faculty, SFP students were encouraged to write up their findings in a manuscript to be submitted to a local, state, or regional journal and to other national undergraduate symposia on public health (e.g.,Morgan State University, College of Public Health at the University of Houston).

FLED students, with the guidance of faculty, created research posters that they presented at the undergraduate research symposium at VSU and at the Foreign Language Association of Georgia (FLAG) conference, a state venue. FLED students also presented their results at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages conference, a national venue, and at the Southern Conference on Language Teaching (SCOLT) convention, a regional venue. They are currently working with faculty to write up their findings in a manuscript that will be submitted to Dimension, a publication of SCOLT.

(Russell & Carrillo Cabello, 2013)

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