Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)
The University's accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), is dedicated to a philosophy of continuous improvement and committed "to the enhancement of the quality of higher education and to the proposition that student learning is at the heart of the mission of all institutions of higher learning." As part of the reaffirmation of accreditation every ten years, the University of Richmond must develop a "Quality Enhancement Plan" or "QEP" that focuses on improving student learning outcomes or the environment for student learning:
The QEP describes a carefully designed and focused course of action that addresses a well-defined topic or issue(s) emerging from institutional assessment and focuses on enhancing student learning or the environment supporting student learning. Student learning is defined broadly in the context of the QEP and may address a wide range of topics or issues but, in all cases, the goals and evaluation strategies need to be clearly and directly linked to improving the quality of student learning and be consistent with the institution's strategic plan.
A topic is selected through a University-wide nomination process and the University commits to developing it over a five-year period after which time it becomes part of the University's regular programs. The University is also required to submit a QEP Impact Report between reaffirmation periods to document how the plan was followed and changed, the impact on student learning, and reflections on the process.
For the 2008 reaffirmation of accreditation process, the University submitted a QEP for a new living-learning program designed for sophomores—Sophomore Scholars-in-Residence (SSIR). The University's QEP was approved by SACSCOC and began in 2009-10 (with an initial pilot in 2008-09). In 2014, the University submitted a QEP Impact Report documenting the successful implementation of the program. This report was approved by SACSCOC.
- Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) for the SSIR program (December 2007)
- QEP Presentation to SACSCOC On-Site Committee (February 2008)
- QEP Impact Report (March 2014)
In 2016-17, the University will begin the process for developing the next QEP (which will be submitted to SACSCOC in 2017). Institutions have chosen a wide variety of topics for the QEP. Examples from other institutions include the following:
- Duke University: Global Duke: Enhancing Students' Capacity for World Citizenship
- Elon University: The Writing Excellence Initiative
- Furman University: First Year Writing Seminars
- George Mason University: Students as Scholars: Fostering a Culture of Student Scholarship
- James Madison University: The Madison Collaborative: Ethical Reasoning in Action
- Rhodes College: Rhodes Fellowships: Linking Education and Practice
- Trinity University: Using Information in the Twenty-First Century
- Tulane University: Engaging Learners: The Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching (CELT)
- University of Miami: Faculty Learning Communities to Enhance Undergraduate Education
- University of Virginia: Enhancing Student-Faculty Engagement
- Vanderbilt University: Building a Bridge to the Commons: Vanderbilt Visions and Student Learning at a Research University
- Virginia Tech: Pathways to Success
- Washington and Lee University: Revitalizing the Spring Term
For more information on the QEP, contact the committee co-chair Patrice Rankine.