Quality Enhancement Plan
701 West Monroe Street
Salisbury, NC 28144
Hours Of Operation:
Monday - Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Dr. Kelli V. Randall
Vice President for Academic Affairs
SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison
C. Noel Eichman-Dorr
Director QEP & Writing Center
Professor of English, Adjunct
What is the QEP?
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) require that its member institutions develop a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) in order to be reaffirmed for accreditation at the institution's decennial review. The QEP is a document that recognizes keys issues identified by institutional assessment which focuses on addressing an academic need for the institution that would lead to an improved performance of students. Furthermore, the QEP must have measurable student learning outcomes that are aimed at accomplishing the institution's mission. Also, the institution must include both a means of assessing its progress and offer evidence that the college has the capability of realizing its goals and prove its capability to initiate, implement and complete the QEP.
The Livingstone College QEP focuses on the improvement of writing that:
- Includes a process identifying key issues emerging from institutional assessment;
- Focuses on learning outcomes and/or the environment supporting student learning and accomplishing the mission of the institution;
- Demonstrates institutional capability for the implementation and completion of the QEP;
- Includes broad-based participation of institutional constituencies in the development and proposed implementation of the QEP; and
- Identifies goals and a plan to assess their achievement.
The QEP covers a five-year period (2015-2020), during which time institutional assessments will be conducted addressing students’ performances, to establish if learning outcomes leading to writing improvements are being achieved. This action is in accordance with Section 2.12 of the Core Requirements for reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
STUDENT SUCCESS OUTCOMES
Given the institution’s goal of improving student writing, it was determined the focus would be on Writing in the Disciplines (WID). This approach acknowledges that students become better writers when they use writing as a learning tool in tandem with their instruction in a particular discipline or field. This approach also means students will receive writing instruction, practice, and feedback in their individual courses and throughout their college careers in forms they are most likely to see as relevant to them in their chosen professions. Moreover, we have chosen to improve and enhance the clarity, context, and coherence of student writing as students prepare to “Write for Life” in the 21st century. Our aim is to implement strategies that will allow students to achieve the following outcomes:
- Students will construct texts that exhibit clarity, i.e., attention to sentence variety and construction, word choice, and grammar.
- Students will demonstrate an understanding of writing as a recursive process that involves multiple stages, i.e., prewriting, planning, drafting, revising, reviewing, editing, and publishing.
- Students will compose texts that demonstrate an awareness of context in discipline specific writing including audience, purpose, message, and medium.
- Students will produce coherent writing that is original in thought and conveys a central and fully developed idea with support in its movement from one idea to the next.
- Students will build metacognitive awareness by reflecting on their composing practices and how those practices impact their ability to think, learn, and communicate.
Using Portfolios as a Teaching Tool:
Along with rubrics, portfolios offer yet another way for students, faculty, and institutions to define and then assess learning outcomes. In fact, according to Hamp-Lyons and Condon (1993), there are multiple benefits to portfolio use not only including instruction and assessment of writing but curriculum and faculty development as well as program assessment. Moreover, portfolios give students the opportunity to assess their own work including growth in a particular area and across time. They also allow students to understand how their work in different classes contributes to their understanding of a disciplinary framework that guides their learning (Tyler & Dibble, 2019). In other words, self-reflection as metacognition plays an integral role in student portfolio development. When used to best advantage, faculty and students can engage in a conversation about learning goals and achievements even as the student begins to take ownership of his/her own work, to make potential connections between the portfolio and his/her own life, and prepare for life as a professional (Butler, 2006). As a result, learning occurs through the processes of “reflection, documentation, and collaboration” (Zubizarretta, 2008, p. 1).
E-portfolios provide some of the same advantages and are considered by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (2008) to be one of several high-impact practices (along with writing intensive courses and capstones, for example) that improve student engagement and ultimately persistence through their promotion of deep learning. Such practices are celebrated in part because of their success in facilitating the educational progress of underserved students (Finley & McNair, 2013). If used correctly, they become an avenue for authentic learning, feeding knowledge transfer as students move from course to course and then out into the professional world. Yet their development does not come without caveats. Backward design and faculty buy-in are key components in the curricular adoption of e-portfolios (Matthews-DeNatale et al, 2017).
By identifying institutional and curricular objectives, and then tailoring e-portfolio submissions to those requirements, which are then well-publicized, students, faculty, and staff can readily participate in the kind of knowledge construction and evaluation that e-portfolios make possible. In this way, e-portfolios support the integrated design of a vertical curriculum. As Matthews-DeNatale et al, (2017) point out, “Once the institutional-level goals are identified, faculty and other academic leaders can consider where the goals are currently being addressed, for example by mapping goals to existing courses within the curriculum. Then they can consider opportunities for redesign to increase synergy across courses, co -curricular experiences, and co-ops or internships…. As with e-portfolio use at the initiative level, a system-wide e-portfolio process has the added benefit of increasing student and faculty awareness of, and reflection on, cross-curricular goals for learning and outcomes” (p. 19.)
Additionally, e-portfolios come with the added benefit of engaging 21st century technologies and the cultural imperative of teaching new literacies to today’s students. Many students already use, create, and manipulate some of these technologies. As practitioners, they should be made aware of the rhetorical practices and concomitant critique available to them in a progressively digitized world; they must come to understand the primacy of audience, purpose, and message. A move to e-portfolios means faculty and students alike must engage this new technology.
As Rhodes points out, “It is no longer the world of our parents and grandparents…. We can no longer provide the same curriculum taught by the same pedagogies or assess students using the same strategies designed for a privileged segment of the population a century or more ago. The capability to provide multi-dimensional evidence though e-portfolios and the desire of students to integrate their lives beyond the academy with their academic experiences are converging to transform how we measure and conceive of student success” (Rhodes, 2011, p.12).
Implementing the QEP and its assessments will be done in three phases that also coincide with the professional development plan. These phases are not necessarily separate from each other and may blend together through the course of the QEP initiative.
- Phase One: Training and Mobilizing
The first phase will take place during the 2020-2021 and the 2021-2022 academic years. This phase consists of starting writing diagnostics, beginning faculty and departmental training on rubrics and how to implement writing into courses, and marketing the QEP to the college campus per a QEP Marketing plan. This phase will also consist of the finalization of the e-Portfolio plan, the creation of the college Style Guide, choice and distribution of the grammar textbook, piloting of changes to and identification of 200-level courses that will serve as an introduction to writing in the major, including the genre conventions and rhetorical strategies in the field as well as the collection of baseline data (200-level entrance essay and post-course essay). Each course on campus will also report their QEP writing data based on department-chosen assignments. The goal of this phase is to train faculty on best practices in writing pedagogy, gather baseline data for the cohort, and begin to create a writing-rich environment at the college.
- Phase Two: Assessing and Adjusting
The second phase begins with the 2021-2022 academic year and will continue into the 2023-2024 academic year. This phase involves the adoption of the revised curriculum for select 200-level courses, Learning Communities, College Skills as well as other Writing Intensive courses, and the assignment of writing for student portfolios. Professional Development will continue along with faculty assessment. Each course on campus will continue to report their QEP writing data based on department-chosen assignments. Additionally, stakeholders will assess how the previous year—and the implementation of the QEP—fulfilled the QEP’s vision and goals. Adjustments of implementation strategies and/or curriculum to better align with stated goals may also take place. The goal of this phase is to begin to rollout the student portfolio, assess data from the use of the common rubric, and test/tighten vertical alignment of the courses.
- Phase Three: Results and Redirection
The third phase begins with the 2024-2025 academic year and potentially beyond. This phase will see the results of the first official e-Portfolio grading in departments. Each course on campus will continue to report their QEP writing data based on department-identified assignments. Analysis of the results of previous years’ data will be conducted as well as assessment of the QEP as a whole, which will lead to recommendations for any changes or redirection. The goal of this phase is to assess Livingstone’s overall progress in improving student writing and assessing the success of this QEP.