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Radford University’s Quality Enhancement Plan Dr. Erin Webster-Garrett Interim Director Tim Filbert Co-Chair QEP-WT December 21, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Radford University’s Quality Enhancement Plan Dr. Erin Webster-Garrett Interim Director Tim Filbert Co-Chair QEP-WT December 21, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Radford University’s Quality Enhancement Plan Dr. Erin Webster-Garrett Interim Director Tim Filbert Co-Chair QEP-WT December 21, 2011

2 Goals of this Presentation Familiarize our community with the Scholar-Citizen Initiative. Respond to concerns raised by members of our community. Encourage faculty, staff, and students to Consider the ways they can connect to the QEP.

3 A Quality Enhancement Plan is a required part of the our SACS reaffirmation of accreditation process. is typically the product of an 18 – 24 month process. is considered by SACS to be a living document. is not a “zero-sum” game. must be tied to student learning and reflect best practices. has a necessary connection to an institution’s strategic plan. requires resources.

4 Who is SACS? The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is our accrediting agency. The stated mission of SACS is “the improvement of education in the South through accreditation” ( The Commission on College “is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. The Commission’s mission is the enhancement of educational quality throughout the region and it strives to improve the effectiveness of institutions by ensuring that institutions meet standards established by the higher education community that address the needs of society and students.” (

5 Does SACS Accreditation Matter? Yes! Because, as research suggests, in general: Accreditation results in overall benefits to the school including practical issues such as eligibility of our students for federal loans. Accreditation increases a faculty’s understanding of an institution’s philosophy and objectives. As a result of both the accreditation process and the emergent initiatives. faculties grow in professional development. Accreditation increases cooperation between faculty and staff. Accreditation leads to recognition and reinforcement of good instructional techniques. Accreditation ultimately leads to improvement of student performance.

6 Why a QEP? In SACS’s view, The QEP is a demonstration of the commitment of the institution to increase overall quality and to promote student learning in and outside the classroom. The QEP is a vehicle by which institutions can increase their overall quality and effectiveness by focusing on one specific aspect of the student learning environment/experience. The QEP is a transformative, creative campus process that brings together diverse constituencies and ideas in the pursuit of the goal of improving student learning.

7 Accreditation TimelineTimeline May 2010: SACS Reaffirmation Symposium November 2010: QEP Topic Selection Forum (8 Possible Themes Identified) February – March 2011: Recommendations on Theme Selection Solicited from the Student Government Association, Faculty Senate, Residence Hall Association, Student Media Committee, Intercollegiate Athletics Staff March 31, 2011: Announcement of RU’s Adoption of “Citizen-Scholar” (later changed to Scholar-Citizen) as Our QEP April-Present: QEP-Writing Team Works with Campus Constituencies to Design and Develop the Plan February 1, 2012: QEP Final Draft Due to SACS; Implementation Team Constituted March 27-29: SACS On-Site Visit Fall 2012: QEP Pilot Courses and Initiatives Underway December 2012: Reaffirmation Confirmed with SACS’ Recommendations

8 Our QEP Process Has been accelerated. Has been recursive. Has been inclusive. Has been the beginning to an iterative process. Has been mindful of resources.

9 By what criteria and system will our QEP be judged?

10 SACS Core Requirement 2.12 “The institution has developed an acceptable Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that includes an institutional process for identifying key issues emerging from institutional assessment and focuses on learning outcomes and/or the environment supporting student learning and accomplishing the mission of the institution.”

11 SACS Comprehensive Standard 3.3.2 “The institution has developed a Quality Enhancement Plan that demonstrates institutional capability for the initiation, implementation, and completion of the QEP; includes broad-based involvement of institutional constituencies in the development and proposed implementation of the QEP; and identifies goals and a plan to assess their achievement.”

12 Other Criteria: Strategic Planning & the QEP The QEP should be rooted in the results of institutional assessment, current research, best practices, and the institution’s mission. The development of a QEP is not an isolated process. The QEP should be derived from and integrated with the institution’s strategic planning. The QEP should be an ongoing project that profoundly affects the student learning outcomes and is a catalyst for further improvements.

13 RU’s QEP: The Scholar-Citizen Initiative

14 Why Scholar-Citizen? Broad support across campus from all constituencies. Addresses an institutional deficiency in student learning by focusing on the synthesis and application of knowledge to public issues. Builds upon existing pockets of public scholarship and collaborative curricular and co-curricular efforts at RU and provides an opportunity to expand and enhance work in which some on campus are already passionately engaged. Creates a community of practice. Opportunity to enhance perceptions of Radford University. Increases the marketability of students who can demonstrate involvement in tackling real-world issues, are self-reflective, and have experiences in professional “real-world” settings. Is consonant with the University mission.

15 RU’s Mission Statement “Radford University serves the Commonwealth and the nation through a wide range of academic, cultural, human service and research programs. First and foremost, the university emphasizes teaching and learning and the process of learning in its commitment to the development of mature, responsible and well-educated citizens. RU develops students‘ creative and critical thinking skills, teaches students to analyze problems and implement solutions, helps students discover their leadership styles and fosters their growth as leaders.”

16 Definition of RU Scholar-Citizen Radford University Scholar- Citizenship is defined as active and scholarly participation in the complex and multicultural world by connecting and applying disciplinary knowledge and academic skills to the challenges facing our local, national, and global communities.

17 Goals of RU’s QEP QEP Goal 1: Enhance Student Learning through Real- World Problem Solving. RU Scholar-Citizens will be able to effectively connect and apply academic skills and knowledge including that of their discipline in addressing real-world issues in our local, national, and global communities. QEP Goal 2: Foster a Culture of Engaged Learning and Scholarship. RU as an institution will support and encourage a community of practice devoted to connecting academic and leadership skills and knowledge to promoting political, cultural, social, and economic change.

18 Desired Outcomes Scholar-Citizen Student Learning Outcomes: A Radford University Scholar-Citizen will be able to: Critically analyze different viewpoints of or theories about a contemporary issue using reliable sources. Make connections between one’s academic experiences/ knowledge and one’s own participation in civic life, politics, and government. Apply ethical reasoning to contemporary local, national, or global issues Propose or evaluate solutions to problems in the context of contemporary local, national, or global issues Effectively communicate how her/his academic studies and co-curricular experiences have affected her/his sense of ethics, values and social responsibility in the context of local, national or global issues.

19 Desired Outcomes Scholar-Citizen Programmatic Outcomes The Radford University Scholar-Citizen initiative will increase the number of students who engage in: Cultural immersion experiences (alternative spring break, study abroad). Community-service. Experiences incorporating pedagogies of engagement (e. g., service-learning, experiential learning, community-based research, investigative case-based learning, problem-based learning, collaborative learning). Public and non-profit sector internships.

20 What Makes the Scholar-Citizen Initiative Different Emphasis on the synthesis and application of knowledge to real-world contexts and issues Emphasis on the role of the e-portfolio and other instructional innovations to encourage reflection and meta-cognition, turning students into expert learners and engaged community members, and support the professional development of students AND of faculty/staff. Emphasis on recognition and reward of innovation and engaged learning both in and beyond the classroom.

21 E-Portfolios … are a platform on which students can record and archive their learning experiences, often through some combination of posting completed works and preparing original syntheses of their learning experiences. Watch a video on e-portfolios from LaGuardia CC, one of the leaders in the field Watch a video on e-portfolios from LaGuardia CC, one of the leaders in the field In the event the link is broken, direct your browser to ePortfolioLAGCC?feature=wat ch

22 In sum, e-portfolios provide a means of tracking and promoting student achievement and engagement enhance the strong relation between writing and the students’ engagement with course/academic material. Research shows that this relationship is “stronger than the relationship between students’ engagement and any other course characteristic.” Simply stated, students derive value from writing, even if that value is not immediately apparent to them. (Light, R. J. (2001)) reflect best practices in terms of providing structure and “frequent feedback [to students] on their progress.” Expecting reflection on learning to happen automatically, or for a one-time final synthesizing assignment to be a sufficient means for students to engage in reflection, are not in line with successful pedagogy for today’s students. (Howe, N., & Strauss, W. (2007)).

23 Kolb’s Experiential Learning Model Reflective Observation Abstract Conceptualization Active Experimentation Concrete Experience

24 Scholar Citizen Learning Model Concrete Experience Reflective Process Active Experimentati on Reflective Process Abstract Conceptualiz ation Reflective Process

25 SCI Activities May Include … Learning experiences in and out of the classroom that incorporate SC learning outcomes may include some or all of the following: Course Embedded Experiences and Projects Undergraduate Research Public Lecture Series Co-curricular programs, organizations and leadership Internships Study-Abroad Alternative Spring Break Service Learning Projects Peer Mentoring Film Series Performances

26 Projected Benefits for Students Opportunities to discover their scholarly identity and to discover ways to live that best contribute to the world around them and utilize their academic training. Provision of structured opportunities to participate in service learning, internships, and/or study abroad experiences. Development of strong and ongoing mentor relationships with faculty members and with peers. Participation in interdisciplinary discussions of current issues that matter to students.

27 Projected Benefits for Students Development of leadership, organizational and communication skills that will contribute to their sense of professionalism and marketability to employers. Development of a Scholar-Citizen e-portfolio that documents the ways that a student turns what matters most to him or her into programs of inquiry/research, public action, and/or career possibilities. Recognition at graduation

28 Projected Benefits for Faculty Potentially increasing enrollment in low-enrolled Courses. Availability of Engaged Scholar Grants for SCI course development and research support. Faculty to faculty mentoring opportunities. Participation in a community dialogue. Increased student engagement and involvement. Recognition and reward for instructional innovation. Opportunities for professional development including networking with colleagues with similar goals.

29 Dimensions of the QEP Identification, promotion, development, and enhancement of SCI courses and initiatives. Establishing different paths for recognition of students who complete a minimum set of SCI Experiences (for example, “Scholar-Citizen Fellows”). Develop Scholar-Citizen co-curricular events and programming that promote engaged learning. Support adoption of the e-portfolio initiative as a social pedagogy. Establish adequate resources and forums for faculty/staff support and development.

30 Resources Needed Incentives for and support of participating departments and faculty Incentives for the development of programming and events Support of affiliated offices (Academic Assessment, Community Engagement, Career Services, International Education, Faculty Development Center, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning) Administrative support

31 Questions? Suggestions? Contact : Erin Webster-Garrett, Interim Director 831-5203, or Timothy Filbert, Co-Chair of the QEP-Writing Team Explore the QEP website for more information:

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