Associate professor receives Quality Matters certificate

Chera LaForge, associate professor of political science and chair of Criminal Justice and Political Science, has received a Quality Matters Certification for her online course, Gender and Politics (POLS-Y324).

portrait of Chera LaForge

Chera LaForge

This is LaForge’s second course to earn an official Quality Matters certification. LaForge previously received a Quality Matters certification in July 2018 for her course Analyzing Politics (POLS-Y 205).

“Becoming a QM reviewer and going through the QM review process for my classes has undoubtedly made me a better online instructor,” LaForge said. “We can become incredibly defensive of our online courses because of the hours of work we put into them, but the QM review process has opened my eyes to both small and large changes I can make that will improve the student experience and increase learning. The review process focuses on continuous improvement and that’s what everyone should be striving for as an instructor.”

Quality Matters (QM) is a nonprofit organization that provides the gold standard for certifying the quality of online courses and programs. During the QM process, courses are reviewed by a team of three faculty members with current experience in teaching online. The review team uses the QM Rubric for Higher Education, which includes 42 specific review standards.

Daren Snider, dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, said, “We’re very proud of the outstanding work that Chera has done in attaining QM certification for her courses. IU East is known for our high standards in online education, and Chera’s efforts have been exemplary in that.”

LaForge received her Ph.D. in Political Science and her Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Economics and Political Science from Northern Michigan University. Her research interests include Congress and legislative behavior. She previously served as the Adjunct Faculty Development Leader.

IU East offers a large number of online courses and online degree programs, serving students from a number of states and internationally.

IU East’s online degree programs offer an Indiana University degree to students throughout Indiana, nationally and internationally. IU East offers 11 options for students to complete their bachelor’s degree online in English with an emphasis in Technical and Professional Writing, Mathematics, Natural Science and Mathematics with a Mathematics Concentration, Communication Studies, Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Political Science, Psychology, General Studies, and an RN to BSN Mobility Option. IU East also offers a Graduate Certificate in Composition Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Mathematics.

Michelle Malott, executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, said IU East administration, faculty, and staff are dedicated to offering students a high-quality education. QM certification offers just one example of how faculty are working to ensure the quality of online courses offered at IU East.

“Ensuring our online courses receive Quality Matters certification reflects the commitment our faculty have to offer the best possible online experience for students,” Malott said.

Three other faculty members at IU East have earned QM certification including Jamie Buffington-Adams, associate dean and associate professor of education; and Stephanie Whitehead, associate professor of criminal justice and director of the Center for Faculty Development; and Paula Baumann, associate professor of nursing and associate dean for Nursing Graduate Programs.