Quality Enhancement Plan

As an important part of our reaffirmation of accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), Valdosta State University developed a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), as described in Core Requirement 2.12:

The institution has developed an acceptable Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that (1) includes a broad-based institutional process identifying key issues emerging from institutional assessment, (2) focuses on learning outcomes and/or the environment supporting student learning and accomplishing the mission of the institution, (3) demonstrates institutional capability for the initiation, implementation, and completion of the QEP, (4) includes broad-based involvement of institutional constituencies in the development and proposed implementation of the QEP, and (5) identifies goals and a plan to assess their achievement. (Quality Enhancement Plan).

FUSE
View the Presentation about FUSE

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Valdosta State University (VSU) is a community of scholars in a culture of excellence. The propagation of scholarship through teaching, research, and service is our reason for being. As such, VSU has identified Undergraduate Engagement in Discipline-Based Inquiry as its Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), a component of the university’s reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Valdosta State is a premier residential master’s I level institution with limited doctoral programs and a relatively open admission. We aspire to be a nationally prominent institution distinguished for its attention to students and their engagement in significant disciplinary scholarship. Similarly, we aspire to be distinguished for our leadership training and innovative instructional methods, programs, and services. We aspire to rise from prominence in the southeastern United States to prominence across the country.

Despite a 25% reduction ($15 million) in its state appropriations over a two-year period (2008-09 and 2009-10), VSU is a thriving campus, as evidenced by its growing enrollment and new construction and renovations.  In Fall 2009, VSU enrolled 12,391 students, 900 of whom were new, the largest one-year enrollment gain in 16 years. The reengineering of financial and personnel resources through reassignment and reallocation as well as new construction and renovations enable VSU to successfully accommodate the growing enrollment.  Recent and planned construction and renovations include a Student Health Center (Fall 2008); Hopper Hall – a 513-bed residence hall (Fall 2008); Georgia Hall – a 489-bed residence hall (Fall 2009); Student Union (Spring 2010); the addition of two lecture hall classrooms to the College of Education (Fall 2010); and the addition of a new facility for the Department of Psychology and Counseling (Spring 2011).

It is against this backdrop that our community of scholars appropriately selected Undergraduate Engagement in Discipline-Based Inquiry as the focus of our QEP, further enhancing a culture of excellence.  Discipline-based inquiry is defined as problem-based learning in which students learn the analytical and investigative processes of their discipline in an active manner.

Brief Description of VSU’s QEP

Undergraduate Engagement in Discipline-Based Inquiry provides students with focused opportunities for engaging with faculty in research and scholarly activities appropriate to the discipline. Through an open competitive process, a call for proposals for Discipline-Based Inquiry Projects was issued for innovative projects that achieve the QEP goals and articulate their student learning outcomes and assessments. In the first of two iterations of Discipline-Based Inquiry Projects, six projects from four colleges were selected that reflect undergraduate engagement in laboratory, classroom, and/or field research. These constituted the projects for the QEP Iteration One. The success of the QEP will be ensured by senior leadership, the QEP Coordinator (the Assistant Vice President for Research/Dean of the Graduate School), and faculty and staff members from multiple offices.  On March 7, 2013, VSU issued a call for proposals for Iteration Two of its QEP. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Undergraduate Research Council selected seven (7) projects for QEP Iteration II which will span July 1, 2013-June 30, 2014.

*Discipline-Based Inquiry Project is the name given to our Demonstration Projects.

QEP Goals

The purpose of the QEP is to support the development of innovative projects for undergraduate students that focus on engagement in discipline-based inquiry to support the QEP’s three goals:

  • Students will develop basic knowledge of discipline-specific inquiry skills.
  • Students will apply discipline-specific inquiry skills from the classroom to resolve a specific question or problem.
  • Students will learn why and how to present the results of discipline-based inquiry in a professional or academic forum.

Compliance with Core Requirement 2.12 and Comprehensive Standard 3.3.2

VSU’s QEP is in compliance with Core Requirement (CR) 2.12 and Comprehensive Standard (CS) 3.3.2. Exhibit 1 from the QEP Report summarizes the evidence and lists the pages where the evidence demonstrating compliance can be found for each of the five criteria in CR 2.12 and CS 3.3.2.

EXHIBIT 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE FOR EACH QEP CRITERION

REQUIREMENT/ STANDARD CRITERION EVIDENCE Pages
CR 2.12 Broad-Based Process for Addressing Key Institutional Issues:
Includes a broad-based institutional process identifying key issues emerging from institutional assessment
The Phase 1 Task Force was comprised of broad-based involvement and representation. (See Phase 1 Task Force Committee Membership, Appendix A). 12;
69-70
To identify key issues, the Phase 1 Task Force utilized institutional assessments,  including a campus-wide needs assessment survey, campus-wide solicitation of QEP topics, and an analysis of results of national surveys conducted at VSU. (See Appendices C and D). 13-19;
73-76
CR 2.12 Focus of the Plan: 
Focuses on learning outcomes and/or the environment supporting student learning and accomplishing the mission of the institution
The mission is reflected in the QEP through the Discipline-Based Inquiry Projects. VSU's mission is to prepare students to meet global opportunities and challenges through excellence in teaching and learning; expand the boundaries of current knowledge and explore the practical applications of that knowledge through excellence in scholarship and creative endeavors; and promote the economic, cultural, and educational progress of our community and of our region through excellence in service outreach.  8
The QEP is focused on undergraduate engagement in discipline-based inquiry through Discipline-Based Inquiry Projects that have specific and measurable student learning outcomes.  23-31;
42-61
CS 3.3.2 Institutional Capability for the Initiation and Completion of the Plan:
Demonstrates institutional capability for the initiation, implementation, and completion of the QEP
VSU has the institutional capability to succeed in the proposed QEP as the institution is prepared to allocate necessary staffing and financial resources to ensure the success of the QEP.  32-38
The proposed timeline has been carefully designed to accomplish all necessary components of the QEP and allow adequate time for each task, including time for initiation (pre-planning), implementation (Years 1-4) and final assessment (Year 5). 32-33
CS 3.3.2 Broad-Based Involvement in Development and Proposed Implementation:
Includes broad-based involvement of institutional constituencies in the development and proposed implementation of the QEP
Broad-based involvement in the development of the QEP and the proposed implementation was achieved through a call for proposals for  Discipline-Based Inquiry Projects, open to the entire campus. Multiple open forums were held to answer questions from proposers. (See Appendices H, I, and J.) 22; 81-88
Proposals were accepted from any faculty or staff member; a total of 24 proposals for a Discipline-Based Inquiry Projects were received. Six proposals clearly met the criteria outlined in the Call for Proposals. 22
The Phase 2 Task Force was comprised of broad-based involvement and representation. (See Phase 2 Task Force Committee Membership, Appendix B). 12; 71-72
CS 3.3.2 Assessment of the Plan: 
Identifies goals and a plan to assess their achievement
The QEP has the following three goals:
Goal #1: Students will develop knowledge of discipline-specific inquiry skills.
Goal #2: Students will apply discipline-specific inquiry skills from the classroom to resolve a specific question or problem.
Goal #3: Students will learn why and how to present the results of discipline-based inquiry in a professional or academic forum.
6; 20
Each Discipline-Based Inquiry Project is required to have specific and measurable student learning outcomes that align with the QEP Goals as well as program assessments. (See Exhibits 12 through 23). 42-61
The QEP contains a detailed assessment plan that assesses student learning outcomes, project goals, and supporting activities. In addition, the assessment plan contains indirect measures using intrasubject replication. Exhibit 11 (p. 41) shows the QEP assessment plan that includes the purpose, the QEP Goals addressed, the method for assessment; implementation and data collection, and the anticipated performance criteria.  39-65

Additional Resources

VSU QEP Status Report (DOC) (for project coordinators; revised August 9, 2013)

VSU QEP Video Clips

Executive Summaries of QEPs Developed by the 2007 Reaffirmation Class, Track A, Undergraduate Institution

List of QEPs from 2004-05

VSU's Strategic Plan

VSU's Mission Statement

QEP Update (PowerPoint Presentation to Faculty Senate 9/18/2008)

Faculty Senate QEP Presentation