Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)
Attention 2010-11 WCC Instructors - 2010-11 QEP Assignment Submission Instructions
For online QEP tutorials via Blackboard 9.0 click here.
2010 QEP Open Lines:
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Wilkes Community College: "Preparing learners for success in a rapidly changing world"
From the 2020 Vision Statement
What is the purpose of Wilkes Community College?
The 2020 WCC Vision Statement, created in 2010, states: "Our mission, vision, and values prepare those we serve and those with whom we work for living and working in a world of rapid economic, social, and technological change." This statement is consistent with the focus of the 2006 Quality Enhancement Plan or QEP.
What is the QEP?
The QEP or Quality Enhancement Plan describes the process WCC will follow to implement a student learning focus throughout the college. Through broad-based involvement of students, faculty, and staff, WCC chose the concept of critical thinking as its learning focus. This focus supports the WCC commitment to learning and its 2006 reaffirmation of accreditation through SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools).
All colleges accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) are required to submit a QEP which communicates their ten-year plan to enhance student learning. SACS notified WCC of its reaffirmation in June 2006 thus allowing the QEP to move from the development to the implementation phase. WCC will submit a Fifth Year Impact Report to SACS during 2011 and include information about the QEP's impact on student learning.
What is the purpose of the QEP?
WCC chose the following learning-focused goal during the QEP Development phase: To increase student disposition to use critical thinking in their academic, professional, and personal lives.
What are the implications of the critical thinking concept?
Most career experts suggest 21st century employers need employees with a variety of skills and typically advise that critical thinking or reasoning skills are among those employers often mention.
The 2020 Vision Statement suggests: "With a view toward 2020, we see such changes as...an environment which both requires and rewards individuals who have developed critical thinking skills, creativity, adaptability, and integrity."
What does a learning focused institution look like?
In a learning focused institution, students are actively involved in their own learning, and instructors and support personnel work hard to present students with learning opportunities. Instructors might ask students to reason through a problem, case study, scenario, or writing prompt. Students will likely work with others to research the best information available about an issue in a certain field or discipline. Students in a learning focused institution are encouraged to ask questions and to look at assumptions. They will write about questions, assumptions, information, ideas, issues, and situations as writing is evidence of thinking and a skill expected by instructors. Writing, like critical thinking, is a skill employers increasingly like to see in new employees. Students may demonstrate their learning in a capstone project where skills they have learned in many of their classes are displayed in the project. Student learning is the purpose in a learning-focused institution.
What employee points of view are involved?
As part of the QEP, WCC employees, both faculty and staff, will regularly participate in activities designed to assist them in engaging students in quality instructional activities. Students can be assured that WCC employees work in a setting where continued learning and quality instruction are emphasized. Students will encounter the critical thinking focus in both the classroom and service areas.
According to the 2020 Vision Statement: "WCC aspires to be an effective learner-centered educational institution and a dynamic learning organization. Learner-centered reflects our commitment to an environment which places learning first by offering inquiry-based educational experiences designed to engage students in the learning process and encourage them to take ownership of their learning. Faculty, staff, and administrators serve as learning facilitators who create, assess, and continuously improve the learner-centered environment. As a learning organization, we aspire to continually transform ourselves in order to fulfill our mission in a rapidly changing world, engaging in continuous improvement through assessment, planning, and responding to challenges and opportunities."
The 2020 Vision Statement is consistent with the QEP focus on enhancing student learning, student responsibility for learning, and assessment for the purpose of improvement.
What questions will students encounter?
Part of critical thinking involves determining the best information available through research, reflection, and reasoning. Students will encounter instructors and other support personnel who encourage them to:
- Seek and evaluate information ...
- Discover their assumptions about learning, topics, subjects, and people ...
- Ask questions ...
- Analyze different points of view ...
What courses will help students with the learning focus?
As part of the QEP, ACA 115 was required of all first semester Associate degree students beginning in fall 2008. The purpose of ACA 115 is to engage students in critical thinking and learning-focused activities designed to enhance their success skills. Wilkes Community College believes that critical thinking skills are important to academic, professional, and personal success, and the college's Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) supports that belief. ACA 115 includes orientation/study skills topics and prepares students for the critical thinking focus they will encounter throughout their programs of study. For more information about ACA 115, please go to http://www.wilkescc.edu/default2.aspx?id=770.Based on information from national and community college studies, students are more successful if they complete a student success course. In the fall of 1997, Wilkes Community College implemented a policy that requires all degree/diploma-seeking students to successfully complete a student success course.
Where can I go for more information?
Click here to view the complete QEP Document (Adobe PDF - 14.4 Mbs)
Click here to view the 2020 Vision Statement
As indicated in the WCC QEP document, WCC uses the language of the critical thinking model developed by Dr. Linda Elder and Dr. Richard Paul from the Foundation for Critical Thinking.
For more information about the Paul and Elder model, please go to http://www.criticalthinking.org/
The flash presentations below were developed using The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, page 5 - 11. Dillon Beach, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking, 2006.
Elements of Reason - Flash presentation
Standards of Reason - Flash presentation
For additional information, please contact:
QEP Director Jan Huggins @ firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-838-6510.