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Campus input sought for Quality Enhancement Plan

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The University of Houston is developing a long-term plan aimed at enhancing student learning, and would like input from the campus community to determine how to best focus its efforts.

UH is in the process of creating a quality enhancement plan (QEP) as part of the reaffirmation of its accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). This process requires UH to create and to submit a comprehensive compliance certification document and a QEP plan centered on a single academic topic by fall 2007.

Three proposed QEP topics recently were developed by a committee consisting of faculty, staff and students, all with expertise in undergraduate education. This group was led by Elaine Charlson, executive associate vice president for academic and faculty affairs. The topics are: undergraduate research, student mentoring and a disciplinary approach to student writing.

Concept papers detailing these topics’ goals and potential impact on student learning are available online on the SACS Web site ( After reviewing these papers, the university community is encouraged to offer feedback online regarding the proposed topics or suggest possible other directions for the QEP by submitting comments using this site’s online survey. (link to

“The more input we receive the better the topic selection will be,” said Chris Stanich, UH executive director for planning and policy. “Everyone will have different perspectives on these topics. Gathering input from faculty, staff and students will put us in the best position to not only choose the right topic but to develop an effective plan.”

A topic will be selected by late February or early March and then will be presented to the UH SACS Leadership Committee for approval, Stanich said. Once the topic is approved, another committee will be assigned to develop the actual QEP, which will be completed by December 2007.

The committee responsible for identifying topics began brainstorming in September, and throughout the fall 2006 semester, its members gathered input from different areas of the university.

“The committee’s charge was to use their own expertise and solicit input from colleagues for a QEP topic,” Stanich said. “The QEP itself will be a long-term plan that deals with an aspect of student learning such as the topics that have been presented. SACS expects the university to design, implement and evaluate the plan in terms of its impact on student learning.”

UH began its reaffirmation process in fall 2006 by conducting an analysis of the breadth of the university, including governance and administration, financial stability, faculty credentials, academic programs and policies, library and other learning resources, student support services and facilities.

SACS accredits institutions of higher education throughout the 11 southern states and parts of Latin America. Accreditation indicates that an institution maintains clearly specified educational objectives that are consistent with its mission and appropriate to the degrees it offers, and that it is successful in achieving those objectives. To gain or maintain accreditation, an institution must comply with SACS principles of quality enhancement, policies and procedures.