The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is the component of the reaffirmation process that reflects and affirms the commitment of SACSCOC to enhancing the quality of higher education in the region and to focusing attention on student learning. The QEP describes a carefully designed course of action that addresses a well-defined and focused topic or issue related to enhancing student learning and/or student success. The QEP’s topic should be identified through or in concert with the institution’s ongoing integrated institution-wide planning and evaluation process. Hence, the QEP standard (7.2) is closely related to Core Requirement 7.1 (Institutional planning).
Developing a QEP as a part of the reaffirmation process is an opportunity for the institution to demonstrate its commitment to continuous improvement of student learning and student success – the most fundamental role of any institution of higher education. The On-Site Reaffirmation Committee will expect the Quality Enhancement Plan to present a clear and comprehensive analysis of the importance of the selected topic to the institution. Responding to this reaffirmation requirement may also provide an impetus for focusing critical and creative energy. Institutions report that the QEP “has caused us to become much more intentional and focused about an important element of our mission” and “helped us put in motion our creativity.”
As noted in Part II of this Handbook, narratives in the Compliance Certification focus on the past and the present; the QEP, however, looks to the future. Because the topic evolves from the institution’s on-going planning processes, the QEP may have been born from an existing initiative and/or it may be in the early stages of development and/or implementation at the time the on-site review. Standard 7.2 requires the QEP to have five essential elements:
- The QEP is derived from institutional planning and evaluation processes.
- The QEP has broad-based support of institutional constituencies.
- The QEP focuses on improving specific student learning outcomes and/or student success.
- The institution is committing and will continue to commit resources needed for the QEP to have a good chance of success.
- The QEP includes a plan to assess the level of that success.
--From: SACS-COC Handbook for Institutions Seeking Reaffirmation