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Quality Enhancement Plan focused on Undergrad Research

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Undergraduate research has been selected as the topic for the University of Houston Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), a long-term plan designed to enhance student learning. The QEP is part of university’s affirmation of its accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

A UH QEP planning committee chaired by Elaine Charlson, executive associate vice president for academic and faculty affairs, is accepting ideas regarding undergraduate research from the UH community. Faculty, staff and students can offer their insight through an online survey.

“The campus community is strongly encouraged to share its thoughts regarding undergraduate research,” said Chris Stanich, UH executive director for planning and policy. “Everyone’s contributions will assist the planning committee in designing an effective QEP that will have lasting impact on the university.”

The planning committee will work through the fall on the QEP, which will be finalized by February. Then, the plan will be presented to the UH SACS leadership team, which includes the president, provost, chief financial officer and Faculty Senate president, for approval. It then will be submitted to SACS.

SACS officials will review the plan prior to their on-site visit to UH in April. While on campus, they will discuss the QEP with the leadership team before approving it.

This past spring, the leadership team selected the topic for UH’s QEP from among three recommendations from the topic selection committee: undergraduate research, student mentoring and a disciplinary approach to student writing.

“These all were strong topics,” Stanich said. “The decision to select undergraduate research, however, was agreed upon with the recommendation that aspects of mentoring and writing also be included in the QEP.”

As part of its reaffirmation of its accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), UH is required to submit a comprehensive compliance certification document this fall and a QEP centered on a single academic topic.

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

SACS accredits institutions of higher education throughout the 11 southern states and parts of Latin America. Accreditation indicates 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.