In fall of 2013, Maryville College will be evaluated by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in order to maintain its accreditation. The SACS has instituted a new requirement that every college and university must have a Quality Enhancement Plan. At that time, various SACS members will be allowed to approach students and ask about the college’s QEP. While the plan must first be approved by the SACS during the reaccreditation process, it will be instituted in January of 2014.
“The QEP is an innovative program which is trying to build a better student from career development in their time at Maryville. We want students to be really advanced in what they study,” said Brian Bush, MC senior and student representative of the MC QEP planning board.
The purpose of the QEP is to focus on giving students the opportunity to have significant, practical experiences during their time at MC and for students to develop within their career fields. “The idea we call ‘significant practical experience’ would change the educational experience of a student here at Maryville College,” Bush said. “They will be doing things like having internships and having real world knowledge of the career they plan on going into. Being a Maryville College student won’t be just being a student, but being a person of the world. It will make you more employable making you a better person overall and that’s what we’re going to do to set Maryville College apart.” A part of the reaccreditation process involves students being able to explain what the college’s QEP is. Members of SACS are allowed to approach students on campus at any point and question them about the QEP. The depth of their answers will affect the results of MC’s evaluation.
“They have to know what the QEP is,” Bush said. “If we can get the word out to every student about it, then we want them to be informed about the entire program. We want them to know what the goal of the college is so when SACS comes in and asks what is, the students can say, ‘Well Maryville College in the next five years wants me to have a significant practical experience. They want me to attain an internship. They want to make my degree more employable.’”
The plan will have significant impact on students and their career plans for the future. The QEP has the power to add or detract the value of a degree from MC. “[Students] should know how much this is setting us apart from other colleges, especially liberal arts colleges,” Bush said. I think they should understand that the degree that they are receiving is not just a piece of paper. They should understand this is something that will make them employable, a better student, makes you desirable to grad schools or any post graduate school.”