Thursday, February 3, 2011

QEP: The other part of Daytona State’s SACS reaffirmation effort

While eight subcommittees of a Daytona State College task force gear up to demonstrate compliance with the core requirements and comprehensive standards necessary for reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), a ninth subcommittee has begun laying the groundwork for a plan to elevate the academic experience for students.

The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is a relatively new element of the accreditation process and is separate from the SACS compliance report the college is required to produce as part of the reaffirmation effort. By definition, the QEP describes a carefully designed course of action that addresses a well-defined and focused topic or issue related to enhancing student learning.

“The QEP is an opportunity for the institution to build upon its quality and effectiveness by focusing on an issue the college community considers critical to student success,” said Dr. Evan Rivers, chair of the School of Humanities and Communication, who is co-chairing the QEP subcommittee along with Dr. Nancy Morgan, associate vice president of Resource Development.

"While the SACS study looks at past behavior, the QEP looks at a future course of action,” said Dr. Morgan. “It encourages colleges to do something that makes them better, rather than just complying with (SACS accreditation) standards.”

Developing the topic for the QEP will not be a short task. The focus must ultimately be research-based, encompassing an outgrowth of a comprehensive institutional assessment. The process must include the broad-based involvement of the college community and its constituents, and its objectives and outcomes must be measurable and sustainable. Ultimately, the topic of the QEP could take up to a year to define.

The diagram below illustrates the QEP development timeline:

Websites providing information about the work and progress of the SACS Taskforce and QEP subcommittee will be developed in coming weeks. We'll let you know when this happens in future issues of In Brief.

In the meantime, visit SACS online or download the official SACS QEP handbook for more information.