2022 Quality Enhancement Plan

Development Phase


What is the QEP?
The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is a component of the accreditation process that reflects and affirms the commitment of an accredited institution of higher education to the enhancement of student learning. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) requires member institutions seeking reaffirmation of accreditation to develop a QEP. This requirement launches a process that facilitates the development and/or modification of creative, engaging, and meaningful learning experiences for students. SACSCOC defines a QEP as follows: The QEP describes a carefully designed and focused course of action that addresses an identified element from within the institution's comprehensive planning process that focuses on continuous improvement regarding student learning outcomes and/or student success. (Resource Manual for the Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement, 2018).

QEP Primary Requirements

A topic identified through ongoing, comprehensive planning and evaluation processes
The QEP describes a carefully designed and focused course of action that addresses an identified element from within the institution's comprehensive planning process that focuses on continuous improvement regarding student learning outcomes and/or student success. The QEP should not be considered as something to be "bolted on" the planning process, but instead, something that arises from that process.

Broad-based support of institutional constituencies
Generally, this element of the QEP can be established by demonstrating that the comprehensive planning and evaluation process itself has this element. In any event, the chosen QEP topic should have this characteristic. Since most comprehensive planning and evaluation processes will have multiple potential QEP topics embedded within the strategic plan, the decision to "pick one" should have the broad support of appropriate constituencies. Similarly, the institution should demonstrate that this broad involvement also is being carried over into the implementation strategies as the QEP proceeds.

Focuses on improving specific student learning outcomes and/or student success
Student learning is defined broadly in the context of the QEP as enhancing student knowledge, skills, behaviors, and/or values. Student success is also defined broadly as improvements in crucial student outcomes such as student retention, completion, or time-to-degree. While the potential topics cover a comprehensive range of options, the chosen QEP should be specific as to what its goals are, and why those goals are essential to the institutional mission.

Commits resources to initiate, implement and complete the QEP
Resources should be interpreted more broadly than just direct monetary expenditures. There is no obligation for a specific advance monetary commitment for the QEP. Instead, the QEP should identify the realistic resources, including personnel, needed for successful implementation and should explain how the institution will marshal these resources. Depending on whether the QEP project is a new initiative, this may be both forward and backward-looking, and the case for a commitment of resources may build upon previous successful implementation of similar activities. Because the QEP is a demonstration of continuous improvement at the institution, however, there should be clarity as to future plans related to the chosen topic. In most cases, QEP efforts are not formally "completed." If successful, the QEP becomes an ingrained part of the institution's activities and culture.

Includes a plan to assess achievement
The institution may well have process outcomes for past and present initiation phases of the QEP, and that information would be a helpful part of the plan. However, this part of the standard refers specifically to the assessment of specific student learning and/or student success measures that the institution is addressing within the QEP topic. As mentioned above, if the QEP is seen as a continuous improvement activity of the institution, there is an expectation that there will be meaningful data regarding the achievements of the QEP available when the institution submits its Fifth-Year Interim Report.

Questions to Consider
  • Has the institution identified and provided a clear and concise description of an important topic directly related to student learning and/or student success?
  • What are the specific goals of the QEP for the institution and its students?
  • How does the QEP support the mission of the institution?
  • What was the research-based process that led to this issue being within the institution's comprehensive planning and evaluation processes?
  • What resources (personnel, financial, physical, academic, etc.) are necessary for the successful implementation of the QEP? Look both backward and forward, depending on where the institution is in its implementation.
  • What assessment instruments or data are being/will be used to measure the achievement of the QEP's goals?
  • How is/will the progress of the QEP be monitored (timelines, administration, and oversight of its implementation by qualified individuals, etc.)?
  • How will the institution ensure adequate resources and sufficient expertise and experience to guide the implementation and continuation or completion of the project?
  • Who are the affected constituencies, and how have they been involved in developing the QEP?

QEP Topic Selection

As part of the ten-year reaffirmation of accreditation process established by the SACSCOC, the QEP Topic Selection Committee (TSC) was charged with soliciting ideas and proposals for the College of Coastal Georgia’s next Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).

  • The QEP topic grew from a five-month comprehensive and systematic planning process in which the College's broad constituency—faculty, staff, students, and administrators – engaged in focus groups, listening sessions, and surveys.
  • Identification of the topic started with the QEP Topic Selection Committee, which solicited ideas and proposed topics, narrowing the topic to an overall QEP objective and a framework of student learning outcomes that focuses on integrated academic advising and career development as a strategy to improve student success.
  • A review of existing practices, empirical data from campus assessments, and best practices served as a foundation for the development of the plan.

The TSC recommends that the College proceed with the development and implementation of a QEP anchored in the proposal entitled, COMPASS: Integrated Career and Academic Planning.

  • The topic is at core of the College's mission to create an environment that supports student learning by engaging students in developing a plan for the successful completion of their academic and career goals.
  • The topic intends to improve student retention and graduation rates while creating an environment that supports student growth and development through integrated academic advising and career development, helping our students succeed academically and aligning their goals with a career path.

QEP Development Committee

Membership

Fall 2020

NameArea
Jennifer Hatchel, Chair Camden Center
Scott Argo Student Affairs & Enrollment Management
Cody Cocchi Service-Learning
Lily Heidger Student Government Association
Yi Hua Institutional Effectiveness
Michele Johnson Library
Tiffany KingAdvancement
Andrea Kwasny Arts & Sciences
Patricia Morris Academic Advising
Matthew Mosley Business & Public Affairs
Lorraine Moyer Business Affairs
Maryanne SandbergNursing & Health Sciences
Jesse Watkins Athletics
Brian Weese Career Services
Jim Lynch, ex officioSACSCOC Accreditation Liaison

QEP Development Responsibilities

With the QEP topic selected, the QEP Development Committee, representing a cross-section of constituent groups related to the selected QEP topic, are charged with developing the Quality Enhancement Plan. The Committee has the following responsibilities:

  • Ensure the QEP topic is grounded in relevant research and best practices
  • Oversee development of instructional/support services infrastructure to bring about the desired student learning outcomes and operationalize the QEP
  • Review integrated career development and academic advising approaches from which to base action strategies
  • Develop an assessment plan related to QEP implementation
  • Examine existing and projected College financial, physical, and human resources to determine how to develop, implement, and sustain the QEP
  • Identify an administrative structure for the ongoing operation of the QEP over a five-year period
  • Ensure that all campus stakeholders on the Brunswick campus and Camden Center know and understand the purpose of the QEP
  • Prepare QEP for submission in September 2021

The work of the QEP Development Committee will be supported by subcommittees to include external Committee participants with appropriate expertise, focusing on particular aspects of the planning and development process; for example, one group will conduct the literature review, another will flesh out the strategies for marketing the QEP, a third will develop the assessment plan, a fourth will detail the budget, a fifth will work on researching and recommending programs that will support the plan. The last will focus on preparing and drafting the final document.

An outside, subject matter QEP Lead Evaluator will need to be identified and approved by SACSCOC.

QEP Development Subcommittees

Literature Review

This subcommittee will research the selected topic and review best practices to provide evidence of careful analysis of the context in which the goals will be implemented. This is an opportunity to build a broad base of support for the QEP by engaging a wide range of colleagues in the development of executive summaries of the items on the bibliography.

  • Identify critical concepts and best practices to inform the development and implementation plan for the QEP topic
  • Keep meeting minutes, procedural notes, etc. of subcommittee actions
  • Assemble/summarize research articles, data summaries, accounts of best practices, and other sources of information related to the chosen QEP topic
  • Contact experts in the chosen QEP topic to discuss emerging trends or other subjects that may not be available in archived sources
  • Write a complete literature review of the QEP topic and submit to the QEP core development committee for review and approval;
  • Undertake revision work as requested by the Committee
  • Make a recommendation for the QEP Lead Evaluator.

Curricular & Co-Curricular

This subcommittee will focus on researching and identifying activities to be implemented both on- and off-campus to bring about the desired enhancement of student learning/success.

  • Establish need and program potential from which to base planned activities
  • Develop training for faculty and staff as part of the implementation process
  • Recommend appropriate strategies, evaluation and identification of related student learning outcomes, resource needs, and other related career development and academic advising support services strategies/interventions to operationalize the QEP.

Budget & Resources

This subcommittee will develop estimation for the financial, physical, and human resources necessary for developing, implementing, and sustaining the QEP.

  • Developing a plan outlining the estimated financial, physical, and human resources necessary for developing, implementing, and sustaining the plan is critical.
  • Identify and articulate resource needs (staffing, space, equipment, etc.) associated with QEP implementation
  • Identify and articulate an administrative structure for the implementation and ongoing operation of the QEP
  • Submit a complete implementation plan to QEP Development Committee for review and approval
  • Develop an implementation timeline that describes how the QEP will be rolled out in an orderly and manageable sequence
  • Identify and articulate all possible ramifications of QEP, including modifications to policies and procedures, adjustments to faculty loads, reallocations of funds, development of a support infrastructure, etc.

Marketing & Communication

This subcommittee will make sure that all campus stakeholders on the Brunswick campus and Camden Center knows and understands the purpose of the QEP.

  • Develop strategies for promoting and advertising the selected QEP topic to the Mariner community
  • Maintain QEP awareness on the Brunswick campus and Camden Center throughout the decennial review process;
  • Create an informative College web page to share updates and information on the selected QEP topic

Assessment

This subcommittee will be responsible for the development of the assessment tools, benchmarks and student learning outcomes of QEP. They will also assist with planning the assessment mechanism for reporting learning opportunities data each year, as well as the Annual Year-End Review and SACSCOC Impact Report.

  • Revisit student learning goals outcomes
  • Follow best practices in identifying, writing, and selecting learning outcomes that are appropriate to the QEP topic;
  • Ensure that student learning outcomes are appropriately grounded in relevant scholarship and/or best practices
  • Identify and articulate clear evaluation strategies designed to provide feedback to those with primary responsibility for implementing and sustaining the QEP
  • Identify and articulate mechanisms for providing feedback to all relevant constituencies on the success of the QEP
  • Identify methods and mechanisms for assessing student learning outcomes related to the QEP
  • Submit a complete assessment plan to the QEP Development Committee for review and approval
  • Submit to the Development Committee for review and approval a final set of learning outcomes to be included in the QEP

QEP Development Action Steps

Action StepsProposed Date
Approve QEP Topic SelectionAugust 2020
Establish QEP Development Committee August 2020
Host Virtual Orientation Meeting Fall 2020
Conduct Literature ReviewFall 2020
Revisit Student Learning OutcomesFall 2020
Identify Actions to be ImplementedSpring 2021
Establish Timeline for ImplementationSpring 2021
Identify Necessary Resources/BudgetSpring 2021
Develop Evaluation Plan Spring 2021
Draft First IterationJune 2021
Draft Second IterationJuly 2021
Seek QEP Final Draft ApprovalAugust 2021
Submit the QEP to SACSCOCSeptember 2021

QEP Samples

Viable QEP topics may focus on areas such as enhancing the academic climate for student learning, strengthening the general studies curriculum, developing creative approaches to experiential learning, enhancing critical thinking skills, introducing innovative teaching and learning strategies, increasing student engagement in learning, and exploring imaginative ways to use technology in the curriculum. Institutions have chosen a wide variety of topics for the QEP. Below are a few examples of institutions comparable to the College of Coastal Georgia with relatively recent QEP submissions:

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