The Quality Enhancement Plan Topic Selection Task Force is asking all members of the University of Southern Mississippi to submit proposals as part of the ongoing process of deciding the direction of the university’s new quality enhancement plan (QEP).
The QEP is part of the reaffirmation of accreditation process that Southern Miss must undergo every ten years in order to retain its membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSOC). According to Julie Howdeshell, director of Quality Enhancement at USM, SACSOC accreditation is incredibly significant to both the university and its students.
“Maintaining accreditation is extremely important to USM as it is to all colleges and universities as it signifies that the University mission is appropriate to higher education, that the University has quality programs, and that it has the resources, programs, and services sufficient to accomplish its mission. Students benefit from accreditation by knowing they are enrolling at an institution that provides a quality education, that they are eligible for federal financial aid, that employers will value their credentials, and that other institutions will accept transfer of credit hours,” Howdeshell said.
The new QEP will be USM’s second QEP following 2006’s Finding A Voice: Improving Oral and Written Competencies, which focused on improving students speaking and writing skills and brought expansions to the Writing Center and established the Speaking Center.
According a document made by the Task Force, the proposal phase is used to focus the process of selecting a QEP and to provide a working guideline for the QEP. The best proposals will be selected by the QEP Task Force and further discussed anonymously online and at various University meetings.
Proposals are expected to be brief, between three to five pages, and can be submitted by individuals or as part of a group. Groups or individuals can submit multiple proposals.
According to the Task Force, “The top proposals… will receive from $500 – $1500 with at least three proposals receiving awards, including at least one student award.” For proposals submitted by teams, the money will be split accordingly.
The ten most popular categories that were suggested in the first phase of the QEP, last semester’s call for topics, were:
Retention, graduation, and student success
Experiential learning (student research, service learning, internships, etc.)
Critical thinking and problem solving
Career preparation and professionalism
Student health and well-being
Advising and academic planning
Tutoring, study skills, test-taking, and time management
Math, quantitative reasoning, and statistics
(Tied) Financial literacy and success; Global connections
The QEP Task Force encourages the use of these categories in making proposals, but will accept proposals that are outside of these categories.
Proposals can be sent to the Task Force via email at qep.usm.edu through Feb. 26. Further information can be found from the QEP Topic Selection Task Force’s article in the USM mailout.