What is a QEP?
A Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is a carefully designed five-year plan that focuses on improving a topic or issue that impacts student learning and/or the student learning environment. The development, implementation, and assessment of a QEP is an integral component of an institution’s SACSCOC accreditation process. SOWELA will focus its QEP on academic advising.
Why academic advising?
Throughout SOWELA’s history, advising has been primarily focused on getting students registered for the courses they need each semester. Modifications to advising practices have often been one quick-fix after another in order to resolve whatever pressing need existed at that particular time. This reactionary approach to advising has lacked a foundation of solid planning and has not addressed underlying issues.
Analysis of recent assessment data from the Survey of Entering Student Engagement (SENSE) and the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) as well as internal assessments have indicated a decline in the student use of and satisfaction with advising services at SOWELA. A review of literature illustrates that over the past few decades academic advising has evolved from a tightly prescriptive event to a holistic experience promoting an academic advisor-student relationship designed to address the needs of the whole student and encouraging the student to participate in the advising process.
Flight Plan: Advising to Arrive at Your Destination
In developing Flight Plan: Advising to Arrive at Your Destination, SOWELA has incorporated best practices in academic advising to design its own advising model that will accommodate the diverse needs of SOWELA students. Flight Plan will transform students from passive receivers of course registration information to active participants in an advising process where they demonstrate decision-making skills that empower them to achieve their academic and career goals. Over the course of several years, SOWELA will gradually build a centralized advising unit employing full-time academic advisors trained in appreciative and proactive advising practices. Not neglecting the importance of faculty in mentor roles, Flight Plan also includes checkpoints where students meet with specially selected faculty members in their major area. Flight Plan includes multiple meetings with students and features a holistic approach to advising.
The purpose of the Flight Plan QEP is to develop students who can make informed decisions leading to the development and execution of an achievable plan for reaching their educational and career goals. Through collaboration with academic advisors, students will design an Individualized Student Flight Plan for completing their degree programs and will demonstrate their understanding of actions considered critical for achieving their plan.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Students will actively participate in the academic advising process.
- Students will establish a plan to achieve their academic goals.
- Students will persist toward their academic goals.