In preparation for Mercer's SACSCOC reaffirmation effort, proposals for a QEP topic were solicited from the entire Mercer University community; faculty, staff, students, administrators, governing board, and community partners. This broad participation provided an opportunity to see the common concerns and themes that could be addressed.
Possible Sources of Inspiration for Topics:
Of course, areas of learning improvement can be derived from a number of sources. In its Handbook for Institutions Seeking Reaffirmation, SACS mentions a few "sources of inspiration" to assist others in thinking about a QEP topic. These include:
- Tapping into issues centered on student learning where shared interests, concerns, and aspirations have already surfaced or where data have already been collected and analyzed
- Extending, modifying, redirecting, or strengthening an improvement that is already underway
- Developing something around a project for which initial planning began a few years ago
- Basing a selection of the topic on an analysis of solid data. You may wish to examine studies that have been done on best practices in higher education and other national and peer group data derived from carefully designed research
- A topic based on a needs assessments or student surveys
Submitting a Topic Proposal:
In order to keep proposals simple, focused, and in a single-page format, proposals were expected to address the following basic elements:
- A title or theme that captures the proposed plan
- An area of student learning improvement and your rationale for the choice
- An identification of the kinds of students or target group this plan will affect
- A connection to the university's mission or strategic plan
As submitters developed their rationale/justification for a proposed topic, they were asked to consider the following questions:
- Why is the proposed topic important to Mercer University?
- How will the proposed topic affect student learning?
- What existing problems or gaps in student learning will the proposed topic address?
- What data or other evidence supports the need for the proposed focus? How do you know that this is a problem?
- How is the proposed topic related to Mercer's institutional character, vision, mission, and/or strategic plan?
The QEP Topic Proposal Form was provided as the method for submitting ideas for a QEP topics by e-mail to the QEP Screening Committee Chair.
QEP ForumsThe QEP Screening Committee hosted forums on both the Macon and Atlanta campuses in fall 2012.
Macon Forum -- Monday, October 1, 2012; 3:00 pm; Connell I
Atlanta Forums -- Monday October 8, 2012; Noon or 4:00 pm; Trustees Dining Room