Friday, June 3, 2011

SACS Quality Enhancement Plan team wades through topic ideas

A sub-committee assisting with the development of Daytona State’s Quality Enhancement Plan has been hard at work narrowing down a field of proposed plan topics as it prepares to open the process to a broader range of college constituent groups this fall semester.SACS Logo

The sub-committee, headed by business faculty Joy Colarusso, is working from a foundation of ideas gathered during an April workshop, when dozens of college staff, faculty and administrators were invited to participate in a QEP topic selection brainstorming session. Using the K.J. Technique, a respected, democratic group decision-making process, more than 350 categories and topic suggestions for the proposed QEP were developed.

The QEP is an element of the accreditation process that is required of all colleges seeking reaffirmation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. 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. SACS added the QEP component to the reaffirmation process in order to encourage colleges to launch initiatives that look forward, rather than simply focusing on compliance with existing SACS standards. The accrediting body requires topic selection to be research-based and include participation by a broad spectrum of the college community.

Colarusso’s team has been organizing a mountain of topic suggestions and ideas generated on Post-it notes during the April workshop to create a short list of title categories that will be combined with QEP topics already approved by SACS. That list will be presented for consideration by the larger college community during fall planning, as well as through forthcoming surveys.

Proposed broad-based topic titles thus far cover areas such as instructional technology; student engagement; retention and student support; improved focus on reading, writing and mathematics; student motivation; teaching strategies and collaboration; and creating a mission-centered college culture, to name a few.

Ultimately, the committee will develop a rubric to select the final five QEP topics for consideration, with those five being narrowed to one during the first half of 2012. The final plan must be submitted for SACS approval in July 2013.