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QEP - Making Evidence-Based Decisions



What is the QEP?

The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is required by SACS Core Requirement 2.12 that states:

The institution must develop an acceptable 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 institutional constituencies in the development and proposed implementation of the QEP
  4. Includes broad-based involvement of institutional constituencies in the development and proposed implementation of the QEP
  5. Identifies goals and a plan to assess their achievement
Why is the QEP important?

“The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is the component of the accreditation process that reflects and affirms the commitment of the Commission on Colleges 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.”

For Fayetteville State University, “developing a QEP as a part of the reaffirmation process is an opportunity to enhance overall institutional quality and effectiveness by focusing on an issue or issues the institution considers important to improving student learning."

What is the FSU QEP topic and components?

The Fayetteville State University Quality Enhancement Plan, Making Evidence-Based Decisions (MEBD), focuses on assessment of student learning and faculty-staff development to improve students’ critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills. FSU students will demonstrate continued growth in making evidence-based decisions from lower- through upper-division studies.

What is the FSU QEP vision?

The vision for the Fayetteville State University (FSU) Quality Enhancement Plan, Making Evidence-Based Decisions (MEBD), is to provide an enhanced learning environment in which upper-division FSU students receive more support in facilitating critical literacy skills (reading, writing, and reflecting), which are the basic elements, or building blocks of learning, that help students develop new or enhanced mental structures or thinking capabilities.  Our vision is that instruction for developing such skills will be based on a wide variety of strategies and techniques that have proven successful in facilitating students’ abilities to build their application of critical literacy skills in real-world problem solving work.

How did FSU develop its QEP topic?
  • At Bronco Kickoff – Fall 2009, the QEP was introduced to FSU as part of the SACS Reaffirmation process and employees were first asked “What’s Your Bright Idea?”  A committee was created based on volunteers and they began to solicit input from faculty, staff, students, and members of campus advisory boards.
  • At Commencement Rehearsal – December 2009, graduating senior students were asked for their input on the “bright idea” campaign.
  • In Spring 2010, students in classes throughout campus were asked to participate in the “bright idea” campaign.
  • At Mid-Year Conference – January 2010, the QEP “Give Me Your Bright Idea?” contest winners were announced.
  • At the Year-End Conference – May 2010, the first QEP draft developed by the QEP Leadership and Writing Teams was presented and received 80% approval by employees participating in a breakout session.
  • At Bronco Kickoff - Fall 2010, an update was given on the QEP draft document.
  • From August 2010 to March 2011, the QEP Leadership and Writing Teams met often and finalized the draft of the QEP which was reviewed and approved by various groups on campus.
  • In March 2011, the FSU QEP, Making Evidence-Based Decisions, was introduced to faculty, staff, and students.
What is the scope of the QEP?

The scope of the QEP ranges from establishing the topic to evaluating the progress and outcomes as follows:

  • Addresses significant student-learning issues
  • Includes QEP goals that relate to student learning
  • Defines “intended benefits of the QEP to the institution and to the student”
  • Ensures “resources (personnel, financial, physical, academic, etc.) necessary for the successful implementation of the QEP”
  • Monitors the QEP progress
  • Evaluates the QEP to ensure success and to improve student learning
What are the FSU QEP goals?

The goals of the MEBD are adopted from the work of the AAC&U VALUE Project:

  1. Students will demonstrate a habit of mind characterized by the comprehensive exploration of issues, ideas, artifacts, and events before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion;
  2. Students will demonstrate simultaneous extracting and constructing of meaning through interaction and involvement with written language;
  3. Students will demonstrate the ability to develop and express ideas;
  4. Faculty members will employ an increased use of strategies to encourage and assess making evidence-based decisions; and
  5. FSU will demonstrate that it has become a learning environment supported by a culture of evidence.
What are the specific student-learning outcomes?

• Students will demonstrate continued growth in making evidence-based decisions from lower-division through upper-division studies as measured by the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA).

• Students will demonstrate continued growth individually in making evidence-based decisions in the major as measured by formative evaluations such as rubrics.

• Students’ critical and analytical thinking scores will be equal to that of selected peers as measured by ratings on National Study of Student Engagement (NSSE) item (11e).

How will the student-learning outcomes be measured?

The knowledge, skills, and abilities will be measured formatively using a common rubric at least two times in various experiences or courses during MEBD.  In addition, the extent to which these skills have been enhanced will be ascertained through administration of the CLA at two transition points (the Rising Junior Examination and the Senior Exit Exam) during the matriculation period. 

How will faculty and staff be involved?

Faculty and/or staff will be the facilitators of the learning environment enhancement at FSU in support of the QEP.  They may be major professors or extracurricular activities heads.  Over a 2-year period, the facilitators will participate in professional development and implement strategies learned in projects that address Reading Across the Curriculum, Writing Across the Curriculum, Information Literacy, Creating Significant Learning Experiences, and Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) at the university.  Each unit will design its own professional development package by combining one or more pathways in which to participate. 

How were students, faculty and staff involved in establishing the QEP (MEBD)?

Students were involved in planning the MEBD through the Bright Idea Campaign, through completion of surveys, and by the score they earned on university assessments.  Using data from these sources and responses by faculty, staff and administration on the Bright Idea Campaign, the topic of critical thinking was identified.

Faculty and staff gave feedback to the QEP Committee that helped to narrow the topic from critical thinking to making evidence-based decisions, a specific kind of action-oriented thinking.

Students served on focus groups to help design handbills and fliers to announce MEBD to the campus.  And students participated in the Know Your QEP contest designed to encourage students to describe MEBD to faculty and staff.

How will students be involved in implementing MEBD?

Students will become involved in Making Evidence-Based Decisions when their department faculty or co-curricular activity leader submits a request to participate.  Students in a participating unit will complete the Rising Junior Examination, and complete performance tasks embedded in junior and senior level coursework or co-curricular activity that require the use of evidence and critical thinking to create, support or refute an argument or position.  Students will engage in using rubrics to self-check their critical thinking during the junior and senior years. In the last semester of the senior year, participating students will complete a Senior Exit Exam.   Students will participate in periodic campus-wide MEBD events.

How will faculty, staff and administration be involved in MEBD?

There are three (3) ways that faculty, staff and administrators can be involved in the QEP:

  • Faculty teaching in a major and staff leading co-curricular activities may submit a proposal requesting participation in MEBD.  The proposal will describe how MEBD will be implemented by that unit.
  • Faculty, staff and administrators may participate in the assessment processes of MEBD —be trained to evaluate the Senior Exit Examination and to apply the Critical Thinking Rubric to work samples from students.  This would require faculty and staff to grade examinations and paper once per semester.
  • Faculty, staff and administrators may participate in the development of critical thinking performance tasks. These tasks will be in the style of the Collegiate Learning Assessment and will become reusable instructional objects stored in the Digital Commons of the Chesnutt Library for use by faculty and staff as they engage juniors and seniors.
What is the FSU QEP timeline?
  • Obtain approval of our QEP by SACS during their on-site visit, April 19-21, 2011
  • Implement our QEP, beginning May 2011 to June 2014
  • Complete QEP 5th Year Report:  July 2014 to June 2015
Who should I contact if I have questions?

FSU Office of SACS Liaison
(910) 672-1003


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