QEP to improve student experience and education

Maryville College is up for review in 2013 by the Souther Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Photo courtesy of pmu.edu.sa

Every 10 years, the Southern Association of College and Schools (SACS) evaluates institutions in the Southeast for accreditation.

Schools that receive accreditation offer prospective students a commitment to excellence and a quality education while pursuing their degrees.

Maryville College received its last review in 2003 and is up for review again in the fall of 2013.

SACS has since added the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) requirement for schools reapplying for accreditation.

According to Dr. Jennifer Bruce, chair of the QEP development committee and associate professor of mathematics, the QEP review requires not just the addition of one new class, but an entire program that permeates the whole campus.

“The QEP forces schools to improve student learning outcomes instead of simply complying to the standards for re-accreditation,” Bruce said.

The content of this program will largely be decided by the MC community.

“We really want something that students will enjoy and feel they need, faculty is excited about teaching, the administration wants to spend its budget on, and alumni look at and go, ‘I wish we had that,’”  Bruce said.

Currently, the QEP development committee is polling the community for a general theme on which the college will focus.

Better linking the liberal arts with job preparation and focusing more on service in community learning are two examples that have been discussed as possibilities.

Feedback from the polls is to be collected and reviewed by the end of February.

Once the committee has collected these opinions, it will narrow them down to the top three topics and send them to the next committee, the SACS Leadership Team.

In March, the theme for the QEP will be chosen.

At that time, the QEP implementation committee will establish a plan of implementation and send a 60-page document to SACS for evaluation.

“Students are involved in every step and every committee of this process,” Bruce said.

The college wants the new program to be “transformative” and tailored to what the community wants and what students need.

An online survey regarding future QEP plans will be sent to students at the end of February. Students are encouraged to complete the survey and voice their opinions.

For more information on the QEP or SACS, email [email protected].

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