Shaping students to get hired
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 contributing 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.”
Five elements of a QEP
SACSCOC requires a quality improvement plan to have five elements. A QEP must:
- Include a process for identifying key issues emerging from institutional assessment.
- Focus on learning outcomes and/or student success and accomplishing the mission of the college.
- Demonstrate the capability to launch, implement, and complete the QEP.
- Include broad-based involvement of institutional constituencies.
- Identify goals and a plan to assess their achievement.
To begin, TSTC’s Executive Management Council designated an individual, Debbie Karl, and later a Steering Committee, to lead the project. Ms. Karl and Celina Garza, Vice President of the SACS Accreditation Office, led a process to identify a QEP topic: improve students’ job readiness so they can find gainful employment upon graduation.
This topic aligns with the Board of Regents’ first Wildly Important Goal: increase the number of TSTC graduates from 2,949 in 2016 to 3,200 by 2020.
Projects, strategies, and interventions will support the attainment of this QEP overarching goal. A comprehensive Evaluation Plan identifies how attaining this goal will be assessed. It also defines measures; for example, how “gainful employment” and “job readiness” will be determined.
The baseline data includes students employed as of fall 2019. Data will be compared each fall for five years, through 2025, to determine success rates. Data will also be collected intermittently to determine how targeted programs are doing and identify adjustments and improvements.