Iteration Two

Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Iteration TWO

Undergraduate Engagement in Discipline-Based Inquiry


Call for Proposals

The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Undergraduate Research Council are pleased to announce a second competitive call for proposals to expand undergraduate scholarship and creative learning.  The QEP’s purpose is to support the development of innovative projects for undergraduate students that focus on undergraduate engagement in discipline-based inquiry to support the goals outlined below.  This is part of VSU’s reaffirmation of accreditation by SACSCOC.

Who Is Eligible?
Proposals for a project may come from one or more faculty members within a single discipline or from two or more faculty members across two or more disciplines.  The coordinator of the proposed project must be a full-time faculty member in any undergraduate program.  The Undergraduate Research Council welcomes proposals from all colleges and disciplines.

What Are We Looking For?
Proposals must support one or more of the following QEP goals:

  • Students will develop 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.

The project must involve undergraduate students in active, discipline-based, learning through inquiry or analysis.  Students may be engaged in discipline-based inquiry through activities such as classroom projects, field work or community service projects, creative endeavors, international programs, a summer inquiry or analytic experience, or other activities.  Students should also be encouraged through the proposed project to present the results of their inquiry, scholarship, or creative endeavors in a scholarly forum (e.g., senior capstone course, a peer-reviewed publication, performance, symposium, conference, etc.). The term of the project should run either for an academic term or for a full academic year, with the potential to become a long-term element of the undergraduate program(s).

All projects will be subject to IRB oversight as applicable.  Those who propose projects involving human subjects and/or animals in their discipline-based inquiry projects will be expected to comply with the National Research Act.

Projects should include the following elements:

  1. A faculty coordinator who will have overall responsibility for the administration of the award, management of the project, and interactions within the institution, including working with the QEP Coordinator (Assistant Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School);
  2. Outstanding faculty (including the Coordinator) with proven track records in inquiry/analytics and training in their discipline;
  3. A plan for the recruitment, mentoring, and retention of students;
  4. Clearly defined measures for project success and student outcomes;
  5. Instruction in laboratory/field research methods, guided analytic practices, and other instructional features that foster strong interactions among participating students and faculty, leading to the development of the students’ discipline-based inquiry skills;
  6. A culminating activity (i.e., capstone course presentation, undergraduate research symposium presentation, etc.) in which one or more students engage in a collaborative discipline-based inquiry demonstration under close leadership of a faculty member with an opportunity to disseminate results using traditional formats (i.e., manuscript, exhibition, poster, etc.); and
  7. An administrative plan and organizational structure that ensures effective management of project resources.

What Can You Receive?
Funding for the selected proposals will be available, for such expenses as reassigned time, summer salary, necessary equipment, a graduate assistant(s), undergraduate stipends, travel, and operating expenses.  Successful proposals are anticipated to average between $20,000 and $40,000 for one academic year.  If selected, the proposed projects will be funded and begin in the fall semester of 2013.  Funds can be released at the start of the fiscal year (July 1) for pre-project expenses or planning.  By accepting funding, project coordinators agree to submit a report at the end of the project period assessing the effectiveness of the project and describing the status of students in the project.  The report is a critical element our SACSCOC accreditation.  If the project is successful and sustained beyond the initial year of financial support, subsequent annual reports will be required.

When Do You Start?
Completed proposals are due to the Office of the Assistant Vice President for Research/Dean of the Graduate School by 3:00 p.m. on Friday, April 26, 2013.  Proposals should be submitted to Dr. James T. LaPlant ( Electronic submissions are encouraged as a PDF or Word document.  Proposals must include a complete application that adheres to the attached application guidelines and that contains ALL requested elements outlined.  Incomplete proposals will not be considered.

Process timeline:

  • Call for proposals issued: March 7, 2013
  • Open information session to answer questions:
    • March 25, 2013, 12:00-1:30pm, Odum Library Auditorium Room 1160
    • March 26, 2013, 4:00-5:30pm, Bailey Science Center Room 1011
    • April 8, 2013, 1:00-2:30pm, Odum Library Auditorium Room 1160
    • April 9, 2013. 12:00-1:30pm, Odum Library Auditorium Room 1160
  • Proposals due: April 26, 2013 by 3:00 p.m. (to James T. LaPlant –
  • Undergraduate Research Council review: Beginning April 29, 2013
  • Undergraduate Research Council makes funding recommendations to the Provost: May 15, 2013
  • Announcement of awards: June 1, 2013
  • Earliest start date and release of funds: July 1, 2013 [Preplanning may take place in summer 2013].

Iteration 2 Timeline

Who’s Reviewing the Proposals?
The Undergraduate Research Council (URC), with members from across the University, will review the proposals in accordance with the evaluation rubric attached and select projects based on merit and expected contribution to VSU’s QEP.  The rubric will be used as an initial guide; however, the URC has latitude to select the grouping of proposals that combined puts forth the best overall QEP.  The URC will select those proposals that contribute best to a comprehensive QEP that meets the SACSCOC requirements and assures institutional success.  Based on overall scores of the reviewers, a rank order and recommendations of proposals will be sent to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, who is responsible for the ultimate selection of QEP projects. The proposal budgets are subject to negotiation and review by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Where Can I Get More Information?
Projects selected in the first round of QEP projects are described in detail at:

Whom Do You Contact with Questions?
Dr. James LaPlant, QEP Coordinator (
Dr. Michael Black, Director of Institutional Effectiveness (

Additional Resources

QEP Iteration II Projects (July 1, 2013-June 30, 2014)

The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Undergraduate Research Council announce proposal awards for the QEP Iteration II. Congratulations to the following award recipients:

  • Drs. Gretchen Bielmyer and Matthew Waters (College of Arts and Sciences) “Studying Human Impacts on Water Quality in the Lakes and Rivers of Lowndes County, GA: Undergraduate Research and Investigations” 
  • Dr. Jia Lu (College of Arts and Sciences) “Research of Climate Change Action Plan for Valdosta through Service-Learning”
  • Dr. Thomas Manning (College of Arts and Sciences) “Developing a New Group of Medicinal Agents”
  • Dr. Victoria Russell and Dr. Adolfo Cabello (College of Arts and Sciences) “Towards the Internationalization of the Language Curriculum: Empowering Students through Inquiry-based and Service Learning”  
  • Dr. Barry Hojjatie (College of Arts and Sciences) “Mechanical Test Methods in Biomaterials and Engineering”  
  • Dr. Chunlei Liu (College of Arts and Sciences) “QEP Proposal to Involve Undergraduate Students in the Design of Future Wise Cars”  
  • Mr. Gardner Rogers, Dr. Donna Sewell, and Dr. Michael Savoie (Honors College and Arts and Sciences) “Engaging Students in Understanding Academic Cultures: An Interdisciplinary QEP Proposal”  


Page revised August 12, 2013.