What is a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)?
The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is a 5-year plan that describes a carefully designed course of action that addresses a well defined and focused topic related to enhancing student learning. The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS-COC) requires each of its member institutions to develop a QEP as a component of the accreditation process (Core Requirement 2.12).
How is Student Learning Defined?
Student learning is defined by SACS-COC as changes in:
- or Values.
Components of a QEP
- Broad-based Process. The institution must use a broad-based institutional process for identifying key issues emerging from institutional assessment.
- Focus of the Plan. The institution must identify a significant issue that (1) focuses on learning outcomes and/or the environment supporting student learning and (2) accomplishes the mission of the institution.
- Institutional Capability for the Initiation and Continuation of the Plan. The institution must provide evidence that it has sufficient resources to initiate, implement, sustain, and complete the QEP.
- Broad-based Involvement of the Community. The institution must demonstrate that all aspects of its community were involved in the development and proposed implementation of the Plan.
- Assessment of the Plan. The institution must demonstrate that it has goals and a plan to access their achievement.
What is the title of FAMU’s QEP?
- FAMU’s QEP is entitled “Enhancing Performance in Critical Thinking.”
What is the overall goal of FAMU’s QEP?
- The primary goal of the FAMU QEP is to improve freshman level student learning in the area of critical thinking.
What are the specific goals of FAMU’s QEP?
- QEP Goal #1: Improve and assess students’ critical thinking skills.
- QEP Goal #2: Enhance and assess faculty use of instructional strategies that develop students’ critical thinking skills.
- QEP Goal #3: Enhance and assess faculty use of strategies for assessing students’ critical thinking skills.
- QEP Goal #4: Enhance and assess faculty design of curriculum and curricular materials related to developing and enhancing students’ critical thinking skills.
- QEP Goal #5: Develop and assess an ongoing system for faculty development and communication with faculty to promote best practices for teaching and assessing students’ critical thinking skills.
How will FAMU’s QEP improve student learning?
- The four student learning outcomes of the FAMU QEP have a specific focus on English (ENC 1101/ENC 1102) and African-American history (AMH 2091/AFA 3104) courses, which are general education courses that most FAMU students take during their freshman year.
- With a focus on these four (4) courses, and by using the FAMU Critical Thinking Definition and the concepts of Bloom’s Taxonomy (Revised), the FAMU QEP will introduce changes in curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment methods in order to increase the likelihood that freshman students who complete these courses will show measurable improvements in their critical thinking skills.
- Specific activities in and relating to the targeted courses include:
- Writing critical essays; (assessed using newly developed University uniform critical thinking rubrics);
- Preparation and defense of case study analyses (assessed using newly developed University uniform critical thinking rubrics);
- Participation in information literacy workshops;
- Creation of a Freshman Critical Thinking Seminar Series; and
- Creation of a Freshman Summer Reading Program.
How will improvements in student learning be assessed?
- Improvements in student learning that result from implementation of the FAMU QEP will be measured by the anticipated positive and incremental changes in students’:
- Critical thinking skills (as measured by direct assessment instruments, such as critical thinking rubrics, the Measure of Academic Proficiency and Progress (MAPP) test and the Critical Thinking Assessment Test (CAT));
- Knowledge of English and African-American history concepts; and
- Work products, as demonstrated by the improvements in their English and African-American history assignments.
Does FAMU’s QEP include specific activities for faculty?
- Yes, faculty development will be an important part of the implementation of the FAMU QEP.
- All University faculty, with specific emphasis on those who teach freshman students in ENC 1101/1102 and AMH 2091/AFA 3104 courses, will have the opportunity to participate in a series of faculty development activities designed to improve pedagogy and assessment of critical thinking skills.
- Accordingly, uniform and effective critical thinking pedagogy and assessment will be embedded into course curricula, which will accomplish the overall goal of enhancing students’ critical thinking skills, with an ultimate improvement in student learning.
How will FAMU support the successful implementation and continuation of the QEP?
- FAMU has committed a total of $2.1 million over five years to support the QEP.
- A new Quality Enhancement Program office has been established in the Division of Academic Affairs. This office is staffed with a QEP Director and a Coordinator of Administrative Services.
- The FAMU “FAMOUS” assessment model will be used to monitor and evaluate the progress of the QEP on a continuous basis.
What process was used to select and develop FAMU’s QEP?
- The process used to identify and develop a topic for the FAMU QEP consisted of a set of interrelated activities that allowed for broad-based involvement of various University stakeholder groups and a detailed review and analysis of existing University assessment data.
When did FAMU’s QEP begin? FAMU submitted its QEP to SACS-COC in January 2009. A team of evaluators reviewed the QEP during the SACS-COC on-site visit, during March 10-12, 2009. The QEP was implemented in the Fall 2009 semester.