THE QEP IN 300 WORDS.
Tusculum College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools (SACS-COC)
Every ten years schools have to be reexamined in order to have their accreditation reaffirmed. Presently SACS requires schools to create a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) as part of its reaffirmation of accreditation process. The QEP is intended to be an ongoing plan to improve an aspect of higher education, addressing an element that has a particular salience for the unique character of the institution.
After much brainstorming and research, culminating in an institution-wide vote, the following was selected as the Tusculum College QEP topic: Problem-Solving with Reflective Judgment, a QEP very much consistent with the College’s mission to “cultivate the habits of practical wisdom, and develop the skill of reflective thinking.”
Across the year that followed, (2008-2009) work groups forged the details of the QEP implementation. The QEP will include two generally sequential emphases: (A) problem-solving in the classroom and (B) problem-solving in the world.
To begin, in order to help students with problem-solving and reflective judgment, faculty development will equip professors in targeted courses to teach using problem-based learning, case-study method, and reasoning through moral and ethical dilemmas. This enriched pedagogy is intended to help students apply reflective judgment to ill-structured problems which are designed into the coursework.
Next, having practiced with problem solving and reflective judgment in the classroom, students will address “problem-solving in the world.” In this phase, Tusculum’s current service learning programs, independently conducted research projects, and internships will be retooled to more intentionally integrate, advance, and measure reflective judgment.
Our effectiveness at these efforts will be assessed using a variety of instruments, some created by outside organizations, and others created in-house and for specific courses.
We are pleased to propose Problem-Solving with Reflective Judgment as our QEP topic, and are excited about piloting some new ideas during this coming academic year (09-10), continuing to collect baseline data, and, if approved, implementing a QEP that will strengthen a vital part of the Tusculum College mission and civic arts experience.