January 30, 2008

Kate Elliot
Communications Specialist

Public Forum Held to Address Improving Student Learning

VALDOSTA - Valdosta State University will host a public forum to gather suggestions for the enhancement of student learning at VSU on Wednesday, Feb. 6, from 3-4 p.m. in the Odum Library Auditorium - room 1160.

The university is undergoing assessment by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) - the regional accrediting body for institutions of higher education in 11 Southeastern states - to ensure VSU continues to provide innovative learning approaches and to advance institutional improvements. The university is reaching out to the academic and Valdosta communities through the public forum to generate ideas for the SACS-required Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). The plan is a multi-year project linked to the mission of the university that aims to improves student learning. As part of the reaffirmation process, SACS requires VSU to submit a QEP prospectus by December 2009. The campus will initiate the QEP in 2010.

“Faculty and staff can contribute to our success with the reaffirmation in direct and meaningful ways, such as by working to refine their department’s or unit’s assessment plans and especially by contributing ideas for enhancing student learning to the QEP task force,” said Dr. Jane Kinney, director of Accreditation Compliance.

VSU’s QEP Task Force - a body of 17 VSU faculty, staff and students - will lead the meeting, which will provide an overview of the QEP process and provide information about topic submission. The task force, under the leadership of Michael Savoie, associate professor of Communication Arts, will then provide time for those in attendance to discuss and present ideas to develop an inclusive enhancement plan. The task force will schedule future meetings, set timelines for the collection of QEP ideas and gather data about each idea’s feasibility. The task force is charged with selecting the three best potential QEP proposals to present to VSU’s SACS Leadership Team, headed by President Ronald M. Zaccari.

“The plan must be a unique and specific campus-wide initiative to improve student learning,” Savoie said. “It is essential that we solicit input from faculty, staff and, most importantly, students.”

The QEP proposal guidelines are broad so as to encourage creative, original ideas to enhance institutional quality and effectiveness; however, the plan must contain the elements necessary for the project to continue on for a number of years. Once VSU initiates the chosen QEP in the summer of 2010, the university will have five years to show the project has contributed to institutional improvements. SACS will visit the campus in 2015 to conduct a pre-reaffirmation assessment and review progress of the QEP.

QEP ideas must:

Be a focused topic directly related to student learning and linked to VSU’s mission.
State clear goals.
Be plausible with the university’s existing resources.
Contain evaluation strategies for determining the achievement of its goal(s).
Show evidence of community development and support of the plan.
- From the SACS Web site

The task force has established a QEP Web site at www.valdosta.edu/sacs/qep to inform VSU about the project and to provide the university community with a forum to convey their suggestions. The Web site features general information, task force dates and membership lists, links to VSU’s strategic plan and proposal deadlines. VSU faculty, staff and students are encouraged to suggest project ideas on the e-proposal form, which may be found on the Web site. Hard copies of the proposal form will be distributed throughout campus and may be returned to the Office of Strategic Research and Analysis, 1124 Nevins Hall.

For more information about QEP or the task force, call Savoie at (229) 333-7399 or e-mail him at mpsavoie@valdosta.edu. General questions about the enhancement plan may be sent to qep@valdosta.edu.

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