The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is a component of the accreditation process that reflects and affirms the commitment of an accredited institution of higher education to the enhancement of student learning.
According to SACSCOC, “The concept of quality enhancement is at the heart of the Commission's philosophy of accreditation. Each institution seeking reaffirmation of Accreditation is required to develop a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). Engaging the wider academic community and addressing one or more issues that contribute to institutional improvement, the plan should be focused, succinct, and limited in length. The QEP describes a carefully designed and focused course of action that addresses a well-defined topic or issue(s) related to enhancing student learning.” (https://www.sacscoc.org/genaccproc.asp)
In March 2019, the College will submit Compliance Certification materials to an Off-Site Peer Review Committee. Then in August, the College will submit a Quality Enhancement Plan for review by the On-Site Peer Review Committee. Later, in September, the College will host that committee to one or more campuses. The SACSCOC Board of Trustees will consider the reports of the two Peer Review Committees and decide whether TSTC receives reaffirmation of the college’s accreditation in June 2020.
To develop a QEP, the TSTC Executive Management Council designated a leader, Debbie Karl and later a Steering Committee. As a prelude to the appointment of the Steering Committee, Ms. Karl and Celina Garza, Vice President of the SACS Accreditation Office conducted a process that resulted in the determination of a QEP topic: Improve students’ job readiness for the attainment of gainful employment upon graduation. The QEP Topic aligns with the TSTC’s Board of Regents first Wildly Important Goal (WIG) and its sub-goals of the college’s Strategic Plan:
WIG 1: Improve TSTC Vitality Performance average rating from 3.105 to 5 by 2021
Focus WIG 1a: Increase the annual combined total wages of TSTC students entering the workforce from $83,411.705 (2015) to $112,000,000 by 2021
Focus Sub-WIG 1.a1: Increase the number of graduates found working from 2476 in 2015 to 3466 by 2021.
Focus Sub-WIG 1.a2: increase the first-year average wages of TSTC students entering the workforce from $33,245 (2015) to $37,631 by 2021.
Attainment of this QEP overarching goal will be supported by projects, strategies, and interventions. Furthermore, a comprehensive QEP Evaluation Plan will identify how attainment of this overarching QEP goal will be assessed and evaluated for success. It will also operationally define measures; for example, what the college considers as “gainful employment and job readiness” for purposes of our QEP. Thus, measures would be identified and tied specifically to TSTC’s WIG 1 focus and sub-WIGs, such as enrollment, persistence, average wage earnings, and placement, as well as others that are deemed appropriate for assessing job readiness and gainful employment. For example, one success measure of the QEP could be the number of students found working after Year 1. The baseline data would involve students found working as of fall 2019 (or the year prior to full implementation). We would compare data each fall for five years (through fall 2025) to determine success rates. Another strategy we can utilize to meet our QEP goal is to implement tactics to increase enrollment, retention and completion rates for these programs. If we improve retention by just 10%, for example, this could make a difference in meeting our overall QEP goal and by default, the goals of the college. Intermittent data will be collected to determine how targeted programs are doing and adjustments/improvements made accordingly.