The QEP cram session

Western Carolina University is accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and currently is undergoing the re-accreditation process. This process is extremely important, as not being an accredited university would mean that the degrees students work so hard to earn would be worthless. Part of this re-accreditation process is implementing a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), which is designed to help students combine both curricular and co-curricular activities to help them reach their specified career goals.A SACS review team will be on the Western campus Monday, April 2, through Wednesday, April 4, to assess the university’s self-analysis report and ask students about the university’s QEP. Although the plan will not go into effect until the fall of 2008, current students will play an important role in how the QEP will function inside and outside of the classroom. Tell me more about Western’s QEP. The QEP is titled “Synthesis: A Pathway to Intentional Learning at WCU.” A pilot program will begin in the fall of 2008 to test the university’s QEP, but in order for it to start, WCU must have the program approved by the SACS in December 2007. By the SACS team and WCU faculty and staff asking students their opinions about the program, WCU will be able to tweak the program and prepare it for the fall 2008 launch. Tell me more about the pilot program.Approximately 100 freshmen and 50-100 faculty members from a variety of departments and programs will participate in the program in the fall of 2008. Faculty from the following departments/programs have expressed an interest in becoming an early adopter: nursing, recreational therapy, chemistry, physics, criminal justice and political science. Students will, of course, have the option of participating, though participating in the program will only be to their advantage.Academic departments involved in the QEP pilot program will have one course for each level (i.e., first year, sophomore year, etc.) as the program evolves. Students will be able to keep track of their transcripts, course information, co-curricular activities and co-op/internship opportunities in one electronic application called “Education Briefcase.” This record will serve primarily the student, though student advisors will have access to the information. In the long run, the program will help students make the most of their college experiences, and it will help faculty, staff and advisors to better direct students towards their goals for further education of career. Students who choose to participate in the program but are unsure of what they will do after they graduate will have opportunities to make use of WCU’s Career Services. How will the QEP affect me as a student? Current students will not be immediately affected by the QEP; however, it is important that students know what WCU’s QEP will be so they can offer their opinions and advice. Helping implement the QEP will in turn help WCU regain its accreditation from SACS and add value to the degrees Western awards.