Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)
The Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP for short, is a component of our reaffirmation of accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
It reflects and affirms that learning is at the core of our mission. This process of developing and implementing the QEP will be informed by the strategic plan.
About the QEP
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is the body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states.
As part of the accreditation process, the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is a document developed by the institution that (1) includes a 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 completion of the QEP, (4) includes broad-based involvement of institutional constituencies in the development and proposed implementation of the QEP, and (5) identifies goals and a plan to assess their achievement.
QEP Topic Definitions
The following options for Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) topics address the goal identified by the SACSCOC standard 7.2 to have a QEP that is identified and arises out of our strategic plan within at least one or more of our five principles and that focuses on improving student learning outcomes and/or success. It’s important to keep in mind that an optimal choice, then, would leverage a distinctive strength here at UK.
Against that backdrop, the brief descriptions of each are very broad, understanding that more specific focus would be needed for implementation.
TRANSDISCIPLINARY EDUCATIONAL APPROACHES
The breadth and depth of programming and offerings available on the University of Kentucky campus makes us distinctive in higher education. Our strategic plan charges us to further incentivize the spark of ingenuity throughout our campus, embedding innovation, collaboration and discovery into every aspect of our institution. After all, we know that often the most profound solutions are found at the intersection of disciplines — the nexus of ideas and expertise targeted in common purpose. This type of partnership is more than multi- or cross-disciplinary work.
Indeed, within higher education, a trans-disciplinary approach provides an even stronger focus on discovering solutions and generating change; it is this intentional integration of curriculum, research and service that dissolves the boundaries between the conventional disciplines. This type of approach organizes teaching and learning around the construction of meaning in the context of real-world problems or themes.
This theme builds strategically on trans-disciplinary success in research where structured team approaches have led to a steep trajectory of external funding over the last five years. This potential QEP topic builds on this structure to examine how programs could be established and built into the curriculum in ways that help improve student learning and outcomes across the institution.
Data-informed decision-making prioritizes decisions supported by high-quality, verifiable data that has been effectively processed and analyzed. This has become even more important in the 21st century, as the higher education landscape is not only constantly changing, but the rate at which it has changed continues to increase.
This potential QEP topic enables faculty and staff to gain insights and to design new strategies for such topics as data use, student learning outcomes, targeted service needs, and program administration. It would allow the institution to explore the best ways that effectively process and analyze high-quality, verifiable data and scale it for use in both academic and administrative units with an outcome of promoting student learning and success.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION
At the University of Kentucky, we put students at the center of everything we do; on virtually every dimension of that commitment, we are doing more and being more for our students during their curricular journeys. We must strengthen and sustain this commitment to meet new challenges associated with a changing economy and world that require an even more sophisticated toolkit of skills and broad knowledge.
This potential QEP topic contemplates innovative and entrepreneurial approaches in our classrooms, laboratories, and studios -- as well as on the streets of our communities in and beyond the Commonwealth -- by investing in programs and activities that spur curiosity and attract talent. This renewed focus on entrepreneurship and innovation would better prepare students to address the issues of our day — and of our future — around the globe.
After all, our classrooms and research environments provide the testing grounds where students deepen their knowledge and hone their critical, creative and analytical skills. Vital to obtaining a first job – as well as the capacity to create a career – these abilities will serve as a foundation for responding to the urgencies facing us locally, nationally and globally. This topic builds a foundation for expanding this work.
ACCESS AND EQUITY
As Kentucky’s university, UK has strengthened its commitment to promote equity and to nurture a sense of belonging for everyone. To that end, the university has never been more diverse. This work, however, must continue with recognition that our efforts in this pursuit are never finished. UK recently initiated a multi-year, campus-wide DEI effort through which more than a dozen projects, involving some 500 community members, who worked throughout 2020-2021 on issues aligned with, and in support of, the institution’s values. This QEP topic would expand upon this important work.
This potential QEP topic would further empower all members of the campus to embrace the work occurring as part of this focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, with emphasis on resources and education. The goal is to create a more diverse community, a greater sense of awareness regarding equitable treatment and access for all, and a strong culture of belonging among staff, students, and faculty.
Wellness is comprised of various dimensions, including physical; emotional or psychological; spiritual; financial; occupational and social. Over the last several years, the University of Kentucky has focused even more intently on supporting members of the UK community in holistic ways — understanding that these dimensions of wellness are both overlapping and interrelated. This promise undergirds two strategic plan principles, by emphasizing the importance of putting students first and taking care of our people.
This potential QEP topic builds upon this foundation of work, providing space for students, staff, and faculty to focus on approaches for holistic wellness. The ultimate objective is to facilitate an environment that promotes healing and prevention, while emphasizing accountability, self-regulation and responsible decision-making resulting in greater student outcomes.