Charge to Quality Enhancement Plan Team
UT’s QEP team will develop a plan that complies with expectations of the SACS’ Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement. The team will engage the university community in selecting and developing a topic that focuses on the improvement of student learning outcomes. Several sub-teams will be responsible for various report sections.
The QEP will build on and expand campus conversations that have focused around Vol Vision/Top 25 during the past two years. In addition, the team should review other reports related to student learning that have been developed by faculty, student, and administrative groups in the past two years. These include the report of the general education taskforce, the white paper by the student forum on learning, the taskforce on the sophomore experience, etc.
The QEP team should use a participatory and evidence-based process to aid in selecting and developing the university’s new QEP. The following steps for the QEP development team are drawn from the SACS Commission on Colleges Handbook for Institutions Seeking Reaffirmation.
Step One: Selecting a Topic
Full QEP team
While the QEP is not expected to touch the life of every student, the topic does need to be significant to UT and should be seen as a major enhancement to student learning. It also needs to be focused enough to provide a manageable framework for development and implementation. The focus and framework for the QEP will, no doubt, shift and evolve as the research, writing, talking, and campus participation occur. Multiple ideas for the QEP, based on broad campus input, should be presented to the Leadership Team who will select the topic which will be developed into the QEP.
Step Two: Defining Student Learning Outcomes
Student learning should be defined as changes in (1) knowledge, (2) skills, (3) behaviors, or (4) values. The Quality Enhancement Plan must specify realistic, measurable student learning outcomes appropriate for the topic identified in step one.
Step Three: Researching the Topic
After the topic and outcomes have been defined, the team should assemble a summary of what is known about the topic from literature and practice. This research will help the team identify specific action plans. The Commission does not expect that the QEP constitute “original” research, but available literature should be thoroughly reviewed.
Step Four: Identifying Actions
Full QEP Team
The team will lead the university community in sifting through research and identifying the actions to be taken and the activities to be implemented on campus to bring about the desired enhancement of student learning. The plan must be both complete and affordable.
Step Five: Establishing a Timeline
The timeline for the actions must come from a thoughtful integration of the activities needed to produce the anticipated student learning outcomes and realistic expectations of the human and financial resources that will be available throughout the life of the QEP.
Step Six: Organizing for Success
Full QEP Team
The QEP needs to include an implementation plan that includes details such as the following: Who is responsible for each activity? Are they qualified and empowered to fulfill those responsibilities? Who is responsible for keeping within budget, monitoring progress, or modifying the plan? Do these individuals have sufficient time to complete their task? Will they be appropriately compensated for their efforts?
Step Seven: Identifying Necessary Resources
The QEP must identify financial, physical, and human resources necessary for developing, implementing, and sustaining the plan. The budget should stem from a realistic analysis of what is desirable and possible. The team should differentiate between “essentials” and “desirables” and university leadership will work with the team to scale expectations to match capacity.
Step Eight: Assessing the Success of the QEP
The primary emphasis of the assessment plan should be on the impact of the QEP on the quality of student learning. Multiple strategies using both quantitative and qualitative, as well as internal and external measures, should be employed.
Step Nine: Preparing the QEP for Submission
The QEP should be clear, succinct, and ready for implementation. It may not exceed one hundred pages of size 11 Arial font, including a narrative of no more than seventy-five pages and appendices of no more than twenty-five pages.