W&L Community Invited to Submit Ideas for Quality Enhancement Plan The QEP is an exciting and important part of Washington and Lee University’s accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
“The QEP affirms the centrality of student learning at the heart of our mission and also acknowledges that, in keeping with our motto of Non Incautus Futuri, W&L refuses to rest on its laurels.”
This spring, Washington and Lee is looking to every corner of its community, including students, faculty and staff, for a grand idea that will help to direct the future of learning at the university.
As part of W&L’s accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), it must imagine, identify and implement a sweeping initiative known as the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). Associate Provost Elizabeth Knapp is leading the QEP committee, and its initial goal is to receive as many proposals as possible by May 1.
“It is a great time for our campus to be reflecting about ways to improve,” Knapp said. “And my hope is that while we will choose a single project, there will be lots of other really good ideas that we will also want to think about how we can put in our curriculum and student life overall.”
The accreditation process rolls around every 10 years, and this will be the second time since SACS began requiring a QEP that Washington and Lee has traveled this path. The last time, in 2007, the effort resulted in the Renewed Spring Term Initiative, an immensely popular part of the W&L curriculum that remains in place today.
To peruse the details of QEPs from 13 different colleges and universities, visit W&L’s QEP website. Other SACS-accredited colleges and universities have implemented programs on a wide range of topics, including writing, research, student-faculty engagement, ethics and information literacy, to name a few.
To date, the W&L QEP committee has received about 20 ideas relating to areas such as international education and civil discourse. Knapp said the group hopes the submissions will continue to roll in, however, and that they will touch on a wide variety of topics. The committee would like to see involvement from all groups on campus, including students — in fact, several students have already submitted ideas.
To contribute, one need only click the green “submit now” button on the QEP website and follow the instructions on the form, which will require a plan title and a short description (up to 250 words). In addition, ideas can be left in drop boxes placed in the Elrod Commons Living Room and the Brief Stop at the Law School.
The committee plans to narrow down the list of proposals to about a dozen by fall 2017. During that first round of culling, no names will be associated with the ideas. By December 2017, the top three proposals will be selected and presented to President Will Dudley and Provost Marc Conner, who will lead the charge on selecting the best one. The next steps will involve fully developing and implementing the proposal.
“It is something you are supposed to implement over a five-year period, and it needs to be very measurable,” Knapp said. “We need to be able to make sure that we are assessing that the goals we set out for the program are something that we can realize over time.”
In a recent email to the entire university, Provost Marc Conner described the QEP as an opportunity to imagine the future of Washington and Lee with a plan that will improve upon the university’s already excellent undergraduate experience.
“The QEP affirms the centrality of student learning at the heart of our mission,” he said, “and also acknowledges that, in keeping with our motto of Non Incautus Futuri, W&L refuses to rest on its laurels.”
— Lindsey Nair | firstname.lastname@example.org