In the coming weeks, Emory’s Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness will choose a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) as part of the University’s reaccreditation process.
The plan, which is a necessary component of this reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), aims to create a University-wide mission based around a specific theme. The plan entails integrating a “carefully designed course of action that addresses a well-defined and focused topic or issue” into classes across the University, according to the Office’s website.
According to Art History Professor Sarah McPhee, one of the faculty members leading the QEP process, a selection committee composed of eight members of the Emory community — including faculty members from Emory’s Oxford campus in addition to undergraduate and graduate students — will choose one of the four proposed plans.
According to Art History Professor Bonna Wescoat, who wrote one of the potential QEP plans, administrators began developing proposed QEPs in the fall after narrowing down suggestions from the community. Administrators held two town hall meetings during the past month for the Emory community to present each QEP proposal to faculty, staff, students and alumni.
Upon choosing a particular QEP this spring, the University will fine-tune the plan over the course of the next school year before submitting the finalized plan to SACS by December 2013. SACS will evaluate the University for its new accreditation in 2014.
“It’s a chance for [Emory] to really think carefully about how we want our education to look – how we want to prepare you all, what we want to be some of the overarching ideas that you take,” Westcoat said.
Wescoat, who authored the “Primary Evidence” QEP, explained that all classes would incorporate elements of the chosen QEP’s theme in the way instructors organize and present their material.
“Having a focus [means] that if a student comes to Emory — among the many diverse things they will learn — they will feel an ownership in a particular idea,” Wescoat said. “[Having] an angle to education [will] provide a kind of cohesiveness to the diverse programs of the University and the many classes [students] will take.”
In addition to “Primary Evidence” — which, according to the plan’s text, focuses on using primary evidence and “secondary interpretative material” in classroom learning — options for the QEP also include “World View,” “Sustainability: Transforming Society by Preparing Leaders for a Sustainable Future” and “Engaged Scholarship, Learning, and Service.”
Under the “World View” plan, instructors would build their classes around addressing “major practical problems, such as violence, inequality, poverty, religious conflict, development and access to health care,” according to the plan text.
On the other hand, “Sustainability” would create new opportunities for sustainability research whereas “Engaged Scholarship, Learning, and Service” will strive to foster “community-engaged courses, internships and research opportunities” on campus.
— Contact Stephanie Fang.