What is a Quality Enhancement Plan?

A QEP is a requirement of Radford University’s accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The QEP shows Radford University’s commitment to quality and effectiveness by focusing on an issue that we consider important to improving student learning outcomes and/or student success. Once completed, the plan is submitted to SACSCOC for feedback and a determination of compliance or non-compliance with the standards before implementation.

What is Radford’s QEP?

The RISE QEP will enhance student success for all students. Implementation of student-centered teaching practices will increase students’ sense of belonging leading to an increase in student success in required entry level courses. 

Why did we choose this topic?

  •  It aligns with the mission, values, and the student success and enrollment growth goals in the 2018-2023 Strategic Plan.
  • We researched a 10-year period of retention, graduation rate and grade data along with survey data and saw that there is room for improvement in student success in required 100 and 200 level classes and in sense of belonging, both in academic and campus belonging. 
  • Research shows that with faculty development (Bensimon, 2007) inclusive and active pedagogies and a supportive classroom environment increase students’ sense of belonging and academic performance (e.g., Dewsbury, et al, 2022; Zumbrunn, et al, 2014; Connell & Wellborn, 1991).  Even small interactions, if high quality, can cause shifts in students’ motivation, sense of belonging, and success (e.g. Cox, 2011; Walton et al., 2012)

Who developed the RISE QEP?
The 5-year plan was developed by a large committee of students, faculty, and staff.

What are the RISE QEP’s goals?

  • Student Success Outcome: Students who take the RISE redesigned 100 and 200 level required courses will show significant increases in course success (defined as earning an A, B, or C in the course)
  • Student Development Outcomes:
    • Students in RISE Faculty Fellows courses will exhibit evidence of academic belonging
    • Students will exhibit affective and behavioral campus belonging          

How will the RISE QEP achieve its goals?
Run by a director, an educational developer, an assessment director, and an advisory board, RISE will seek to accomplish these goals through two main components.

  • RISE Faculty Institute: In each year of the 5-year QEP, 20 faculty members who teach 100-  or 200-level required courses will participate in the yearlong Institute which involves a semester and summer of workshops and redesigning a course, followed by a semester of implementing the redesigned course and engaging in a community of practice.  The Faculty Institute will offer workshops in student pedagogy, active learning, and how to foster academic belonging in the classroom.
  • RISE Community Action Teams (R-CATs): collaborative groups of students and faculty members committed to advancing campus belonging within colleges, creating community through one-time and ongoing events.

All parts of the plan from the faculty institute to the classroom to the R-CATs will be regularly assessed to identify strengths and weaknesses and ensure continuous improvement in student success.

When does the RISE QEP start?

The Faculty Institute will begin forming the first cohort of faculty in Spring 2023. The Institute will begin in Spring 2024. The R-CATs will be formed in Spring 2023 with activities to begin in Fall 2023.

Bensimon, E.M. (2007). The underestimated significance of practitioner knowledge in the scholarship on student success. The Review of Higher             Education, 30(4), 441-469.
Connell, J.P., & Wellborn, J.G. (1991). Competence, autonomy and relatedness: a motivational analysis of self-system processes. In M. Gunnar & L. A.                  Sroufe (Eds.), Minnesota symposium on child psychology: Self-processes and development. University of Chicago Press.
Cox, B. (2011). A developmental typology of faculty-student interaction outside the classroom. New Directions for Institutional Research, 2011(nS1),             49-66.
Dewsbury, B.M., Swanson, H.J., Moseman-Valtierra, S., & Caulkins, J. (2022, June 15). Inclusive and active pedagogies reduce academic outcome gaps             and improve long-term performance. PLOS One. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0268620
Walton, G.M., Cohen, G.L., Cwir, D., & Spencer, S.J. (2012). Mere belonging: The power of social connections. Journal of Personality and Social             Psychology, 102(3), 513-532. DOI: 10.1037/a0025731
Zumbrunn, S., McKim, C., Buhs, E., & Hawley, L.R. (2014). Support,  belonging, motivation, and engagement in the college classroom: A mixed method              study. Instructional Science, 42, 661-684. DOI: 10.1007/s11251-014-9310-0