Last week, we bestowed degrees on more than 1,000 new GRU graduates. These men and women will now take the knowledge and skills they gained from our faculty and contribute to their communities in meaningful and productive ways. For the last few years, we’ve imparted on them the knowledge that one expects of a university graduate and the skills expected of a competent professional.
But did we give them everything they need for this next phase of their lives? Is there anything else we could have taught them? Could we have taught them in a different way?
These are exactly the kinds of questions we must consider as we begin to select our next Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP. If you don’t know by now, a QEP is a course of action that will positively impact student learning or the environment that supports learning. We must submit our plan to our accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), in 2016 as part of the process for seeking reaffirmation of accreditation.
When our SACSCOC evaluators review our QEP, they will be looking for a few key elements. First, they expect to see that the QEP we’ve developed is aligned with our mission and our strategic plan. Second, they must be convinced that our QEP is realistic and can be implemented and assessed. And finally, our evaluators will want to understand that both selection and development of the QEP involved a broad-based process with participation from our key stakeholders.
To me, “key stakeholders” are those members of our university who are passionate about education. So basically, everyone. After all, who better to ask about quality enhancement related to student learning than you – the faculty, staff and students?
Therefore, a “broad-based process” to select a new QEP is currently underway and we need your involvement. There will be many phases in the process to selecting a QEP. Right now, we are looking for overarching themes that capture ideas with a new and inventive influence on student learning, an impact on large parts of the student population, alignment with the mission and priorities of the university, and the potential for outcomes that can be measured.
We not only want to hear about your specific ideas for a theme, but we also want your vital feedback on the themes that have already been submitted. Understanding others’ perspectives on the theme submissions, such as how you see a suggested theme as applicable to your program or what you foresee as a theme’s impact on resources, is extremely valuable as we progress toward choosing a QEP.
We currently have over 40 theme submissions from all constituent groups on the campus – students, staff, and faculty. We have created a website, gru.edu/qep/, for you to offer your ideas and serve as a clearinghouse for thoughts on the themes that have been submitted.
How we select the QEP is as important as how we execute it. Your involvement at this early stage will lay the groundwork for a dynamic, inclusive process involving all components of our institution.
The deadline to submit new themes will be May 23, and you will be able to submit feedback on the submitted themes until May 30.
The new QEP will be a multi-year initiative and truly a plan for the future – a chance to create a legacy that will enhance education for generations to come. The more input you can provide will allow us to make better choices, ultimately provide greater the benefit to the university as we aspire to greatness.