Thursday, January 28, 2016

GO WEEK Continues Tradition of University Focus on Missions

LETU has welcomed 35 missions organizations from all over the globe this week, during our 52nd annual GO WEEK (formerly known as Missions Emphasis Week).

Our students have heard from a variety of speakers from many vocations, including aviation, business, education, technology, engineering and more. 

These guest missionaries have taught our students, from their first-hand experiences, about global outreach and ministry to closed countries. And many of our students have learned about short-term opportunities that they can plug into even while they are still in school. 

Some of our LETU alumni are back here on campus this week, like Duane King from Kingdom Air Corp in Alaska and recent alumnus Josh Oh, who is with One Challenge International Ministries. It is always a joy to welcome back our graduates and see how God is using them for His glory. 

GO Week is a wonderful LETU tradition, and Our World Cafe is always popular. Held in the Belcher Center lobby, our international students and "missionary kids" shared food and culture from across the world. I hope these shared cuisines and customs motivate us to learn more about the world, appreciate diversity and develop stronger relationships with the people God has placed at LETU.

Legendary missionary George Verwer, founder of Operation Mobilization, who has planted churches in 110 countries during the past 50 years, was also a guest on campus this week. Tonight students will attend their choice of 24 seminars where missionaries can share more about the things they are doing around the world. 

Our university founder, R.G. LeTourneau supported long-term missions financially and traveled around the globe himself in short-term missions. Some of our students may do the same in their lifetimes. While many have been and will be called to pursue employment with a mission organization, all of our graduates will have the opportunity to claim their workplace as their mission field. 

The opportunity to impact eternity is all around us. 


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Quality Enhancement Plan: Writing For Your Life

"What is your QEP?"

That is the question that everyone--all students, faculty and staff members--at LeTourneau University should be able to answer this semester.

"QEP" stands for Quality Enhancement Plan. Our LETU QEP focuses on improving student writing.

It's really that simple. 

However, realize the QEP is a five-year process that will include many details in the future as it is implemented and assessed.

Part of the immediate success of LETU's QEP will be measured by how well all university faculty, staff and students know what our QEP is and can articulate the QEP to anyone who asks.

We went through a faculty-driven process to identify an area where we could improve student learning outcomes. This will be a focus of discussion on our site visit from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College (SACSCOC) March 29, 30 and 31, when our visitors are likely to ask, "What is your QEP?" They will be asking that question to see how integrated the QEP is throughout our community, how important it is to us. 

The title of LETU's QEP is "Writing For Your Life" because students will need good writing skills for the rest of their lives, regardless of their major or current field of study. Good writing comes from good thinking.

LETU's QEP focuses on helping our students become more proficient in standard English writing conventions, to understand and respond appropriately to various rhetorical situations, and to use credible source material to support their ideas in their writing. 

Our QEP involves: 
  • Accurate assessments in first-year writing courses to measure student writing strengths and weaknesses, leading to curriculum modifications designed to address weaknesses.
  • Writing Center that provides face-to-face tutoring to support better writing across disciplines. 
  • Cross-disciplinary faculty Writing Council to communicate among disciplines to support student enhancement of basic writing skills.

You are going to hear much more about it in the coming weeks.

You may begin to see a blitz of QEP communications that may include student contests to develop a QEP logo, QEP videos, QEP posters, QEP flyers, QEP chapel skits, QEP digital signage announcements, QEP table tents in the Hive and Corner Café, and even a QEP jingle. Who knows, students might even choreograph a QEP dance!

You may see QEP on the Stall Wall, in the Communicator, on social media and here in the LeTourNews. Professors may hold QEP class discussions, include QEP questions on quizzes for extra credit, or put QEP on their course syllabi for online students. 

We may even develop a QEP website to explain our QEP, show student videos and post photos and testimonials from students who benefit from writing better or from professors who validate improvement in their students' writing. 

The QEP invasion of information will begin soon. Be ready to answer, "What's Your QEP?"

Thursday, January 14, 2016

YellowJackets Represent at 2016 NCAA Convention

Dr. Lunsford with NCAA student delegate Whitney Judd
Welcome to Spring 2016!

Today, I am at the NCAA's 110th annual convention where I serve on the president's advisory group for Division III and also as chair of the American Southwest Conference Presidents Council. Also in the LETU delegation are Athletic Director Terri Deike and Faculty Athletics Representative Bob Wharton.

I am also pleased that one of our two-sport athletes, Whitney Judd, a junior business management major from Azle, Texas, has been selected to serve as a student delegate, representing us and the entire Conference on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, which gives students a voice in the governance of the NCAA. Whitney will give input on issues like practice times, recruiting regulations, post-season play and other issues. The convention also provides opportunity for student-athletes to attend a variety of educational and personal development programs, take part in a Special Olympics event and observe the legislative workings of the NCAA. This marks only the third time that student-athletes from the ASC have attended the NCAA convention.

Whitney, who plays centerfield on the women's softball team and runs cross country, is the co-chair of LETU's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Whitney has been an all-conference performer for the last three years in cross country and qualified to compete at the NCAA South/Southeast Regional Meet. She is only the second student-athlete in program history to achieve this feat.

In addition to being successful in cross country, she has also been a standout on the LETU softball team. And I'm very pleased to report she has been named twice to the ASC Fall All-Academic Team for her efforts in the classroom. When asked how she does it all, she told me she has asked herself that question before, too. Then she said, "It's a lot of hard work. Good thing I'm a business management major so, I've learned to manage my time very well."

If you would like to follow Whitney's daily diary from her trip to the NCAA Convention, you can click here.

The Dallas Cowboys are finished so time to shift my attention to basketball. You need to see this winning shot by our own Yellowjacket senior C.J. Edwards to win 108-107 against Concordia Saturday, you can see it here. This clip on social media has racked up over 10,000 views.