Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)

What is the QEP?

The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is required by SACSCOC Core Requirement 2.12 that states:
The institution must develop an acceptable QEP that:
1. Includes a broad-based institutional process identifying key issues emerging from institutional assessment
2. Focuses on learning outcomes and/or the environment supporting student learning and accomplishing the mission of the institution
3. Demonstrates institutional capability for the initiation, implementation, and institutional constituencies in the development and proposed implementation of the QEP
4. Includes broad-based involvement of institutional constituencies in the development and proposed implementation of the QEP
5. Identifies goals and a plan to assess their achievement

Why is the QEP important?

“The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is the component of the accreditation process that reflects and affirms the commitment of the Commission on Colleges to the enhancement of the quality of higher education and to the proposition that student learning is at the heart of the mission of all institutions of higher learning.”
For Georgia Military College, “developing a QEP as a part of the reaffirmation process is an opportunity to enhance overall institutional quality and effectiveness by focusing on an issue or issues the institution considers important to improving student learning."

What is the GMC QEP topic?

The Georgia Military College’s Quality Enhancement Plan focuses on assessment of student learning and faculty professional development to improve students’ critical thinking abilities and skills.

How did GMC develop its QEP topic?

Georgia Military College has five core competencies, of which critical thinking is one. In the spring of 2013, the QEP committee did an open survey explaining that the college was selecting the next topic to improve student learning. Based on the information gathered from faculty, staff, and students, the QEP committee narrowed the topics to six areas: Critical Thinking, Oral Communication, Written Communication, Problem Solving, Information Literacy, and Teamwork. QEP committee members wrote problem statements for each of these six areas, and using these statements, the QEP committee conducted two surveys sent to 1) faculty, staff, students, and 2) alumni and other stakeholders. The results from both surveys indicated that the stakeholders felt that critical thinking was the most important area that needed improvement.

What is the scope of the QEP committee?

The scope of the QEP committee ranges from establishing the topic to evaluating the progress and outcomes as follows:
• Addresses significant student-learning issues
• Includes QEP goals that relate to student learning
• Defines “intended benefits of the QEP to the institution and to the student”
• Ensures “resources (personnel, financial, physical, academic, etc.) necessary for the successful implementation of the QEP”
• Monitors the QEP progress
• Evaluates the QEP to ensure success and to improve student learning

What are the GMC QEP goals, objectives, and outcomes?

GOAL:  Georgia Military College will provide an atmosphere where students will improve their ability to think critically.

1. GMC Stakeholders (Students, Faculty, Academic Support Staff, and Administration) will demonstrate knowledge of metacognition, critical thinking, and the five reasoning skills.
2. Faculty will participate in professional development in metacognition, critical thinking, and the five reasoning skills.
3. Students will employ metacognitive skills, critical thinking, and the five reasoning skills through the college curriculum and through student services.

1. Stakeholders will be able to:
   a. Define metacognition and critical thinking.
   b. Identify and describe the five reasoning skills.
2. Faculty will be able to:
   a. Appraise their thinking skills and processes (metacognition).
   b. Apply critical thinking and the five reasoning skills.
3. Students will
   a. Appraise their thinking skills and processes (metacognition).
   b. Demonstrate their ability to think critically and apply the five reasoning skills. 

What is the plan to reach the goal and outcomes? How will the student-learning outcomes be measured?

PER 101 will be a course that introduces incoming freshman students to metacognition and the five reasoning skills (induction, deduction, inference, analysis, and evaluation). Students in this course will take a metacognition pretest and a critical thinking pretest to assess their understanding of these skills upon entering GMC. 
Twelve core 100-level courses will be enhanced with critical thinking lessons/activities that cover at least one of the five reasoning skills. Understanding and application of critical thinking will be measured over these assignments using the AAC&U critical thinking VALUE rubric.
PER 201 will be a capstone course that is taken after completion of PER 101, PLS 101, and ENG 102. The curriculum will focus on critical thinking, metacognition, and the five reasoning skills. Students in this course will take a metacognition posttest, critical thinking posttest, and the Test of Everyday Reasoning (TER). The posttests will show how the students’ critical thinking and metacognitive skills improved over their first year at GMC, while the TER will show how GMC students’ critical thinking skills compare to national data.

How will faculty and staff be involved?

Faculty and/or academic support staff will be the facilitators of the critical thinking enhancement in core classes at GMC in support of the QEP.  Over a 4-year period, the faculty will undergo professional development to incorporate critical thinking into their classrooms efficiently and effectively.  Each division has selected their own courses to enhance with critical thinking and will design lessons and assignments for the students to expose them to, and enhance their abilities in, critical thinking.

What is the GMC QEP timeline?

• Obtain approval of our QEP by SACSCOC during their on-site visit: September 2016.
• Implement our QEP: October 2016 – May 2021.
• Complete QEP 5th Year Impact Report:  Summer 2021.

Who should I contact if I have questions or want to be involved with the QEP?

Kara Maddox
QEP Committee Chair