Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)
By requiring accredited institutions to develop a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) the SACS Commission on Colleges (COC) emphasizes its commitment to advancing the quality of higher education. The QEP affirms the COC belief that student learning is central to the mission of all higher education institutions. According to the COC, “the QEP describes a carefully designed course of action that addresses a well-defined and focused topic or issue related to enhancing student learning. The QEP should be embedded within the institution’s ongoing integrated institution-wide planning and evaluation process.”
Delta State University has identified improving cultural competence as the QEP topic. While several themes received praise and attention, cultural competence distinguished itself as a timely and relevant topic. Improving cultural competency at Delta State will assist students in discovering and learning about other cultures; understanding cultural biases and differences; improving intercultural communication skills; developing empathic skills; and moving effectively within a globalized society. As the literature suggests, working in an increasingly multicultural society and global economy takes more than just simple interaction. Cultural competence is not innate and cannot be assumed; by taking full advantage of its location, rich history, and bountiful cultural resources, DSU plans to be proactive in improving its students’ worldview.
To achieve these goals, DSU’s QEP Team created three primary student learning outcomes:
1. Describe various aspects of cultural diversity.
2. Articulate a shared understanding and support of cross-cultural experiences.
3. Evaluate cultural perspectives with openness and respect.
Quality Enhancement Plan Leadership Team
|Edwin Craft (S)||Finance & Administration||Technology Services|
|Robin Boyles (S)||Institutional Grants|
|Teresa Houston (S)||Student Business Services|
|Ann Margaret Mullins (S)||Student Affairs||Student Financial Assistance|
|Richard Houston (S)||Counseling Center And Student Health Services|
|Paul Hankins (F)||Provost & Academic Affairs||College of Arts & Sciences|
|Marilyn Shultz (F)||Languages And Literature|
|Douglas Mark (F)||Music|
|Leslie Fadiga-Stewart (F)||Social Sciences/History|
|Scott Drury (F)||Counselor Education and Psychology|
|Vicki Webster (F)||Acc, Cis, Finance|
|Julie Speakes (F)||Commercial Aviation|
|Rebecca Hochradel (F)||Mgt/Mkt/Bus Adm|
|Jamye Long (F)||Mgt/Mkt/Bus Adm|
|Temika Simmons (F)||Counselor Education And Psychology|
|Vicki Hartley (F)||Teacher Education, Leadership, And Research|
|Vicki Bingham (F)||Robert E. Smith School Of Nursing|
|David Salinero (F)||Library Services|
|Joi Phillips (F)||Library Services|
|Beverly Moon (S)||Institutional Research And Planning|
|Staff||University Relations||Communications And Marketing|
|Gary Bouse (S)||Development||Alumni-Foundation|
|John Cassibry (Stu)||Student Body||Student Body|
|Charles Barber (Stu)||Student Body|
|(F, Faculty); (S, Staff); (Stu, Student)|
Whereas the Compliance Certification Report provides a snapshot of past and present practices at the University, the Quality Enhancement Plan points to the future. SACS spells out the following expectations for an acceptable QEP:
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.
Comprehensive Standard 3.3.2: The institution has developed a Quality Enhancement Plan that (1) demonstrates institutional capability for the initiation, implementation, and completion of the QEP; (2) includes broad-based involvement of institutional constituencies in the development and proposed implementation of the QEP; and (3) identifies goals and a plan to assess their achievement.
Frequently Asked Questions about the QEP
What is SACS?
SACS stands for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It is the primary accrediting body for educational institutions in the southern United States and Latin America. Every ten years, educational institutions must reaffirm their accreditation status.
Accreditation ensures that DSU:
- Has a mission appropriate to higher education
- Has resources and programs that adhere to the stated mission
- Maintains educational objectives that are consistent with its mission and appropriate to the degrees it offers
- Adheres to standards of quality, effectiveness, and integrity
Part of the reaffirmation process includes the creation of a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).
What is the QEP?
The QEP is essentially a five-year action plan that:
- Focuses on some aspect of enhancing student learning
- Addresses a well-defined and focused topic
- Creates an environment that supports the mission of the university
- Becomes embedded in the institution’s long-term planning and evaluation
What are the steps to creating a successful QEP?
SACS has identified eight steps to creating a QEP:
|1. Select a Topic
2. Research the Topic
3. Define Student Learning Outcomes
4. Identify Actions to be Implemented
|5. Establish a Timeline for Implementation
6. Organize for Success
7. Identify All Necessary Resources
8. Create an Assessment Plan
What is DSU’s new QEP?
Delta State has selected improving cultural competency as the next QEP. The official title for the project is A World Class Experience: Improving Cultural Competency at Delta State. Being culturally competent will allow students to discover and learn about other cultures; understand cultural biases and differences; improve intercultural communication skills; and work effectively in today’s globalized society.
How will the QEP be implemented?
Over a five-year period beginning in fall 2014, several strategies will be used to incorporate cultural competence into 1) GST 100, 2) the general education curriculum, 3) many upper-level major courses in all degree programs, and 4) various extracurricular campus-wide events; this plan ensures that students will be exposed to the topic throughout their entire academic experience.
How will this plan be assessed?
Assessment is a necessary component of the QEP. To ensure that all goals and objectives are met, the QEP Team created three student learning outcomes that will be regularly assessed:
- Describe various aspects of cultural diversity.
- Articulate a shared understanding and support of cross-cultural experiences.
- Evaluate cultural perspectives with openness and respect.
In addition to measuring these student learning outcomes, a number of other additional reports and surveys will be completed. They include the Freshmen Cultural Competence Survey, chairs’ Departmental QEP Reports, an annual QEP Survey for freshmen and seniors, and various other annual reviews.
How can you help?
Over the past two years, the entire campus has played a vital role in the development of A World Class Experience. Although the planning stages may be nearly complete, the QEP Advisory Group, in tandem with academic departments, will serve as the university’s mechanism for making any future changes to the plan. If you would like to serve on this group or simply provide advice or feedback, please contact Beverly Moon (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 662-846-4700.
Where can I access more information?
Here are some useful links for more information on the QEP and SACS.
QEP Funding Request Form
This form is for Faculty/Staff/seeking sponsorship/co-sponsorship for campus events related to cultural topics. Funding Request Form
QEP Course Documents
Recorded Webinars and Materials