What is a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)?
A QEP is a requirement for any college or university seeking reaffirmation of accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). SACSCOC is a regional accrediting body for educational institutions in 11 Southern States. The QEP is a 5-year plan that addresses a topic or issue related to student learning and shows that our college engages in continuous improvement. Regional accreditation is important because it allows our students to have access to federal student aid and confirms that our courses and programs will be recognized by other colleges across the country.
NWSCC’s QEP Title, Goal, and Strategic Initiatives
The title of our QEP is In-Sync: Improving Distance Learning, Support, and Success. The title expresses the need to synchronize college services, support, and success rates for distance education so that they will be more in line with on-campus courses. The overall goal is to improve distance education student success through technological and social support and enhanced course delivery. The overall outcome or measure for the QEP will be that the average success rate in seven identified distance education courses will be 70%. Over a period of time, these identified courses had a higher success gap when comparing on-campus and distance course sections taught by the same instructor.
The following two strategic initiatives will help the college accomplish the QEP goal and outcome.
- Improve support, services, and technology available to distance education students.
- Improve the delivery and consistency of distance education courses.
These initiatives will be met through the implementation of six main components:
- Distance Orientation: The current distance education orientation will be revised, and students’ readiness to participate in online courses will be assessed.
- Distance-Specific Student Support Services: Improve testing, advising, and online tutoring options.
- Distance Success Coach: A distance education success coach will be hired who can focus on advising, counseling, and supporting distance education students.
- Technology: Distance education faculty and advisors will have up-to-date equipment needed to interact with online students. A distance student computer lab will be established on each campus so that distance students will have place to work that is staffed by personnel who are trained to assist students with distance education-related issues.
- Professional Development: All distance education faculty will be required to participate in two professional development sessions each year. The Distance Education Success Coach will cross-train with other success coaches so that all student needs can be met in a timely manner.
- Quality Matters (QM): Distance education courses will be designed and evaluated based on Quality Matters standards. QM is a non-profit, quality assurance organization which offers a faculty-centered peer review process designed to certify the quality of online courses according to an objective rubric.
Through the implementation of the QEP, we not only expect to meet our overall measure of a 70% success rate in identified distance courses, but we also expect to see an improvement in the success rates and student satisfaction level in all of our distance education courses. Additional information will be provided on our QEP as implementation begins in fall 2018 and continues through 2023.