Ideas Being Accepted for Auburn Student Learning Initiative; New ‘QEP’ Part of SACS Accreditation Process

AUBURN – In 2013, Auburn will be considered for reaffirmation of its accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or SACS. Since Auburn’s last reaffirmation in 2004, the Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP, has been added to SACS requirements as a project focusing on ways to improve student learning.

“The development of a QEP involves the entire campus community,” said Drew Clark, director of institutional research and assessment, and chair of the SACS reaffirmation process for Auburn University. “It is so critical to the accreditation process that SACS will want to see a completely developed plan identifying the human, physical and financial resources needed to implement the plan, and will require tracking and evaluation strategies to monitor progress.”

Clark said the QEP project must be focused on an issue of student learning, and can be the enhancement of a current program already in place, or a new effort.

A large exploratory committee for the QEP, which is composed of faculty, experts, students, advisors and alumni, is being chaired by Sushil Bhavnani of Mechanical Engineering to develop a “short list” of QEP projects, aimed to improve student learning.

Unlike other components of the accreditation process which focus on what the university has already accomplished, Clark said, the QEP is a fully developed plan for something the university is planning to do in the future to advance student learning. If the QEP proposal meets with SACS’ approval, it will launch in fall 2013, with a follow-up report expected five years later.

“We hope everyone – all students, faculty and staff – will submit their input on the initial QEP ideas,” said Provost Mary Ellen Mazey. “This is a significant opportunity that could impact student learning well into the future.”

The university community can submit topic suggestions and learn more by visiting www.auburn.edu/qep by Feb. 9 to submit ideas.

On Feb. 18, the committee will call for more formal proposals based on the initial input. Proposals will be due by March 8. By April 22, the most promising proposals will be fully developed and will be supported with grant funds up to $1,500 per project.

Contact: Deedie Dowdle, 334-844-9999, (dowdldk@auburn.edu)