Quality Enhancement Plan committee to focus on effective writing

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Caitlyn Oliver

The 2015 Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) reaffirmation has been declared to focus on effective writing.

A QEP is part of Georgia Southern University’s ten-year self-study for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) that must be done to maintain accreditation. The purpose of the QEP is to ensure quality student education.

“In terms that students can understand, the QEP is a way of showing one’s growth, development and even ambition in terms of learning. If we’re here to make you wiser and more discerning and more curious, then a necessary willingness to express that becomes absolutely essential,” Dan Bauer, chair of the writing and linguistics department, said.

The university will put together a committee or several committees that are charged with producing the self-study that addresses a wide variety of requirements that SACS has for accreditation of an institution, Michael Pemberton, Writing Center director, said.

A development team whose goal will be to implement the QEP focus will be established and comprised of faculty representatives from all colleges and staff, students and administrators throughout the university.

Currently, committees are not officially established but it is likely there will be an oversight committee and two subcommittees. There will be approximately five students total involved but no committee members have been selected, Jean Bartels, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said.

“I am very supportive of the notion that effective writing would be our QEP. I am cautiously optimistic that the program will focus on student learning with writing and more effective ways to use writing in all classrooms,” Pemberton said.

Effective writing was chosen as the best answer to four questions addressing largest impact on university development, its reputation, the GSU culture and legacy and fulfillment of GSU’s mission statement.

“I think the worst thing that could come out of this is a standardized writing rubric that they try to apply to either all courses or to courses that are specified as writing intensive,” Pemberton said.

“Writing is not only about getting a point across but even refining that point. What one seeks to get across when given the time and the prowess may be removed from the instantaneous face to face engagement,” Bauer said.

The self-study has led to other changes and improvements, such as participation in Foundations of Excellence and modifications to the First-Year Experience program.

The QEP has added several steps to the freshman experience.

Previously, aspiring students would apply, go through orientation and enroll in classes. The FYE course was a one-hour course.

Now, incoming freshmen are given more time to talk to academic advisors during the orientation process and given a brochure that explains the university’s expectations. Conversations with Professors is an event that takes place the day before classes start and the FYE classes were extended by one hour.

Conversations with Professors is an addition meant to give new students the opportunity to ask questions, understand how to handle the first week of classes and how the drop/add period works.

The 2005 QEP focused on both seniors and freshmen with a focus on creating engaged learners. The objective was to ensure that proper knowledge and experience is gained prior to graduation.