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SACS to visit; QEP put into action

Every 10 years Valdosta State has to go through a reaffirmation process, and from April 6 through 8, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) will visit as a part of that process. SACS is an organization through which Southern colleges and universities become and remain accredited.
To remain accredited, schools must set and meet certain standards, and as a part of those standards, each school is asked to develop and implement a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).
“Under those standards we’re required to demonstrate our ability to change and enhance our quality through that change,” Dr. Patrick J. Schloss, VSU president, said.
Valdosta State’s QEP “Undergraduate Engagement in Discipline-Based Inquiry” will focus on opportunities for Faculty and Undergraduate Student Engagement (FUSE).
In short, over the next few years VSU will implement programs designated to provide VSU students with the ability for hands-on, out-of-class learning throughout different majors.
“For us as a university, for the challenges we have for the future, the engagement of students with faculty outside of the traditional classroom structure is something we need to increasingly promote. [It] will redefine the quality of this institution in the next decade or two,” Dr. Schloss said.
Many majors already have the ability to engage students and faculty outside of the classroom, but the issue is the limitation in other disciplines, and that is what the QEP will target.
“There is no systematic way that we, as a university, have ensured that increasing number of students have that experience, and [the solution] is the QEP,“ Dr. Schloss said.
According to a press release, VSU has selected six projects that will be the catalyst of the program, including research in the fields of anti-cancer drugs, military history, nursing and healthcare, child and adult language and analysis, kitchen designs for the elderly, and social inequalities of Hispanic immigrants along the U.S. and Mexico border.
“We selected six projects that first and foremost would have the greatest impact on undergraduate student learning,” Dr. James LaPlant, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said in the press release.
If approved, these projects will begin in the spring of 2011.
The ultimate goal of this QEP is to provide undergraduate students to gain real-world skills within their chosen field.
“The projects will give undergraduate students confidence in their ability to perform higher-level quality academic work,” Dr. Karla Hull, Interim Assistant Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, said in the press release. “Students will gain specific research skills and enhance their analytic thought process for problem solving.”
For more information on the QEP visit www.valdosta.edu/qep or contact your academic advisor.

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