by Zachary Smith
arts & life editor
A major change (excuse the pun) to the Millsaps was the addition of the Quality Enhancement Plan. The QEP program comes to campus with aim to improve the campus’ overall health. One controversial change has been a trial addition of a health focused lecture series to half of the participants of the “First Year Experience.” Lori Genous, the head of the QEP program, talked about the new additions to the “First Year Experience.”
Genous explained that the goals of the program are to improve students’ understanding of health, improve students’ ability to locate and interpret health information, improve students’ appreciation of health and its importance, and increase students’ engagement in healthful activity.
Over the course of the QEP program, the series of lectures will aim at loading students down with good health information. “My goal is to help students make healthier choices.” Genous says. “The things they do in college can often affect them for a lifetime.”
Although everyone can agree a health initiative is a good idea, some students have expressed a good deal of anxiety concerning the form it has taken.
Because the program’s curriculum is a trial, the school only has half of the freshman class participating in the QEP program. The other half has the same Foundations curriculum the school has been using so that this regular group can function as a control or a reference point to notice the effect of any changes in curriculum.
A noticeable add-on to the QEP curriculum is the addition of a reflection essay and a sizable questionnaire. The two assignments were set to be due by the end of Welcome Weekend, so that information could be gathered before the start of the QEP meetings. Freshman Riley McLean says, “I had no desire to do it. The paper I knocked out easily. I did the first 20 questions [of the questionnaire] honestly and then did the rest of it randomly.” He felt the program did not provide incentive for the participants.
Many students are also upset at the presentation of the lectures. The 30- to 45-minute sessions—that sometimes run over—are as Ryan Pachillo, another participating freshman, put it “informative, which is a good thing, but [are] boring.” He recommended improving the presentation by adding skits or more dialogue sessions. This is the QEP’s first year on Millsaps Campus. Moving forward a healthy converstation with students about what is and is not working may be necessary.
The program has some problems that need to be worked out, but Genous has been open to feedback. She is taking a pragmatic approach to the program to balance both the wealth of knowledge she intends to impart with the concerns of students.
Interested in learning more about the QEP program? Check out: