Members of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) are coming to UIW in Feb 2015 to “reaffirm” UIW’s regional accreditation. We provide two major reports to SACS before that visit. The first, the Compliance Report, will detail how UIW meets all SACS standards for quality. The second report, the QEP or Quality Enhancement Plan, is a five-year action plan to improve some significant area of UIW to enhance student learning.
Beyond being a big SACS requirement, the whole idea of a Quality Enhancement Plan is to prioritize one area where UIW can do better to help students learn, and spend 5 years making improvements in that area!
A UIW degree is only valuable to you and your future career if UIW retains its accreditation. Plus, students can only get federal financial aid from accredited institutions.
Pretty much, EVERYBODY! UIW’s QEP topic selection was led by a team of faculty, staff and students. In Spring 2014, Dr. Susan Hall and Dr. Pat Lonchar visited with faculty to design some specific strategies on HOW TO IMPROVE STUDENT WRITING. The QEP Implementation Team is preparing for a Fall 2015 kick-off.
UIW’s first QEP in 2005 focused on improving the academic progress of first-year, first-time students. UIW QEP initiatives included improvements in data collection to support student progress, faculty development in active and collaborative learning, focused advising strategies, and new approaches to new-student orientation. Many measures show that our students’ academic progress has improved with increases in their average GPA at the end of their first year, and better rates of retention and persistence to graduation.
A good QEP includes:
Goals: The QEP sets goals for specific student learning outcomes (SLOs) that we aim to reach by the end of the five-year plan.
SLOs: Well-defined Student Learning Outcomes will be: desirable, achievable, and measurable. The QEP action plan needs to identify curricular and extracurricular strategies to achieve the SLO goals. These SLOs frame the whole plan.
Plan for Implementation: The report will include a detailed five-year plan, usually in phases, with all the “Who, What, When, Where and How” clearly spelled out. We’ll start executing the plan no later than Spring 2015. We’ll assess our progress along the way, and deliver a thorough report to SACS after the five-years of QEP activities.
Assessment: The QEP includes a comprehensive plan to regularly measure progress towards the goals we’ll define.
In general, a Student Learning Outcome completes the sentence, “After completing this course or program, a successful student will be able to…”. While a QEP topic might help improve general areas of student learning (e.g., tutoring, collaboration), the UIW Core Curriculum does include 10 specific Core Learning Outcomes.
THE QEP TOPIC is to IMPROVE STUDENT WRITING….in undergraduate programs, at all campuses.
It was submitted January, 2015.