Asia Simone Burns, Editor-in-Chief
Samford is working to present the university’s new Quality Enhancement Plan prior to its accreditation review later this month. The QEP is a requirement by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges in the university’s reaccreditation process.
Geography professor and QEP director Eric Fournier said the current enhancement plan, deemed “Level Up: Transformative Learning through Powerful Assignments,” is a fusion of two different proposals the QEP review committee received in 2015.
“There were originally 17 proposals that came from all across the campus community and then those were narrowed down to five … then, they decided that of the top five, there were two in particular that they liked,” Fournier said.
Members of the two teams were told to get together and combine the best features of their proposals to create what has become the current QEP, Fournier said.
Fournier said the purpose of this QEP is to help tailor assignments to focus on specific learning goals that tie to specific skills, particularly critical thinking and information literacy.
“The power comes from tying assignments to real world problems, engaging problems that can capture students’ imagination,” Fournier said. “The power comes in doing those things more intentionally.”
“Information literacy is about the way we interact with information,” Fournier said. “It is more than just choosing the right sources. It’s the way the information can shape your thinking—the way you validate the quality of information, the ability to assess two different claims based on the quality of information.”
Fournier emphasized that though the focus of the QEP is relevant considering the current social and political climate, the project is not crisis-driven.
“All of the fake news stuff emerged after this came out,” he said. “You started seeing things about fake news, studies that high school students couldn’t tell the difference between advertisements and (news content) … We are talking about something that’s a national concern.”
SACSCOC representatives will visit Samford for the reaccreditation review March 20-22. The QEP committee has planned a series of events to garner students’ attention prior to the review.
“On March 7 and 8, we are going to be doing an information table down in plaza and giving away shirts and frisbees,” Fournier said, “and March 21 will be QEP Day at Samford. On that day, the first 150 students who are wearing their QEP T-shirt will get a free Steel City pop.”
To learn more about Samford’s QEP, follow @SUQEP2017 on Twitter.