Western Carolina University is one step closer to identifying the focus of its 10-year Quality Enhancement Plan, which is an integral part of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges reaccreditation review planned for 2017.
The QEP Topic Selection Committee has narrowed the field of 55 submitted proposals for the QEP down to eight finalists. The finalists will develop white papers on their topics over the course of the summer, and the campus will vote on the winning idea in September.
“After reviewing the long list of submissions, it was incredible to see that several important, campuswide issues and opportunities rose to the top as themes,” said Sloan Despeaux, associate professor of mathematics and chair of the QEP Topic Selection Committee. “Ultimately, the selection committee was able to identify eight themes that were the focus of multiple submissions, and we selected the most well-developed proposal in each of those themes as the finalists. We have asked the finalists to consider other proposals with similar themes as they craft their more fully developed white paper proposals that will be presented to campus this fall.”
As a component of the accreditation process for WCU, SACSCOC requires that the university develop an acceptable QEP that focuses on learning outcomes and/or an environment supporting student learning. In addition, WCU must ensure that it has the capacity to implement and sustain the QEP, that a broad base of stakeholders was involved in the process, and that the QEP identifies goals and a plan to assess their achievements (as taken from the SACSCOC Handbook).
The eight themes, as well as the winning proposals and authors, are:
THEME 1: LEVERAGING TECHNOLOGY IN THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
Winning proposal: “Online with 2020,” submitted by Sue Grider, Laura Cruz, Martha Diede, Susan Fouts and Tony Miller.
THEME 2: COURSES TO CAREERS
Winning proposal: “Life Skills,” submitted by Shauna Sleight.
THEME 3: DIVERSITY AND CIVILITY
Winning proposal: “Investing in a Diversified Institution,” submitted by Thomas West.
THEME 4: ENGAGED AND EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING
Winning proposal: “Regional Community Engagement: Creating a Personal Habit and Campus Culture of Civic and Community Engagement,” submitted by Adam Ray and Lane Perry.
THEME 5: TEACHING ECONOMIC AND ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY
Winning proposal: “SUSTAIN: WCU as a Living Learning Laboratory,” submitted by Lauren Bishop, Laura Cruz, Andy Coburn and Josh Whitmore.
THEME 6: INNOVATION THROUGH COLLABORATION
Winning proposal: “Creativity and Innovation,” submitted by Lisa Bloom and Sharon Dole.
THEME 7: CULTIVATING INTENTIONAL LEARNERS
Winning proposal: “Mindset: Cultivating Intentional, Persistent Learners,” submitted by Chesney Reich, Laura Cruz, Martha Diede, Russ Curtis, Shawn Hudson, David Onder, Alison Joseph and Ellen Sigler.
THEME 8: PREPARATION FOR ACADEMIC SUCCESS
Winning proposal: “Placement, Emporium, Math Success,” submitted by Jeff Lawson, Nory Prochaska and John Wagaman.