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QEP Task Force Selects Topic

Planning Phase Begins
Appalachian’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Topic Selection Task Force has recommended  “Global Learning: A World of Opportunities for Appalachian Students” as the university’s QEP topic. The recommendation is the culmination of seven months of work, including the creation of http://www.qep.appstate.edu, the holding of nearly 30 public discussions, two rounds of proposal evaluation, and consideration of comments from across the campus community. The task force’s recommendation has been accepted by Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock and the leadership team that is overseeing the university’s accreditation efforts.

The QEP is a crucial component of Appalachian’s re-accreditation process. As a member institution of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Appalachian must adhere to all principles, core requirements, comprehensive standards and federal requirements of the commission. SACSCOC requires institutions to submit a QEP as part of the materials necessary for re-accreditation. Appalachian will submit its QEP and other important reports to SACSCOC in early 2013, leading to an on-campus visit by the SACSCOC review committee that spring.

By definition, the QEP describes a carefully designed, five-year course of action that addresses a well-defined and focused topic or issue related to enhancing student learning. In addition, the QEP should be embedded within the institution’s ongoing integrated institution-wide planning and evaluation process.

“Global Learning: A World of Opportunities for Appalachian Students,” was one of six final topic proposals submitted to the QEP Task Force. The Global Learning proposal team is comprised of Jesse Lutabingwa, professor and associate vice chancellor for International Education and Development; Renee Scherlen, associate professor, Government and Justice Studies; Garner Dewey, associate dean and associate professor, Technology; Cindy Litukus, assistant professor, Geology; and Augusto Pena, interim director, Center for Student Involvement and Leadership.

“The Topic Selection Task Force faced a difficult challenge,” said Peacock. “Their selection of ‘Global Learning: A World of Opportunities for Appalachian Students’ as our QEP topic represents an endorsement of one outstanding proposal among many. Taken together, the proposals highlight many important areas of activity on our campus which deserve to be developed in the coming years.”

“I see natural synergies between many of the concepts and projects elaborated in the topic selection process, and I know building broad partnerships has been a focus of the QEP Topic Selection Task Force from the beginning,” Peacock added.

The Global Learning proposal emphasizes providing multiple and varied learning experiences for students on campus, across the nation, and abroad. Through student research, internships, service learning, traditional and non-traditional classroom instruction, opportunities for study abroad, interactions with international students, cultural events, international speakers and other learning opportunities, the Global Learning proposal advocates preparing students now for the multi-cultural environment they will live and work in after graduation.

As one Global Learning proposal team member stated: “You can’t be well educated any longer without being globally competent. It’s the university’s responsibility to provide such education and global experiences.”

With the QEP topic selected, the QEP process now moves into its second phase. The next step will be the selection of a QEP Proposal Development Team, which will oversee the preparation of the final plan submitted to SACSCOC in 2013. This process will seek and provide opportunities for collaboration, input and feedback from the university-wide community.

“Congratulations, to the Global Learning Team and everyone who contributed to an important discussion about major ways to improve our university,” said Tony Carey, vice provost for faculty affairs, professor of history and chair of the Topic Selection Task Force. “Throughout the topic selection process, the task force focused on ideas that would clearly enhance student learning, engage and excite the university community, and integrate well in the university’s current areas of strategic emphasis. Global learning meets these criteria and offers opportunities for participation from all areas of the university.

“We always intended to have one QEP topic but many winners in the sense that elements of the other full proposals, as well as additional ideas from across campus, can be incorporated into the final version of our Quality Enhancement Plan for Global Learning. The hope and intention is that many of the ideas advanced in the topic selection process will ultimately become part of our campus experience,” Carey explained.

For more information about Appalachian’s QEP process, including timelines, see http://www.qep.appstate.edu/overview.

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