Preparing Students For What Comes Next
Posted on May 18, 2023
The University of South Alabama is implementing a new Quality Enhancement Plan that coincides with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges institutional accreditation review.
LevelUP: Uniquely Prepared for What Comes Next Quality Enhancement Plan is a campus-wide initiative aimed at uniquely preparing students for the next steps in their future.
“Our leadership team is eager to support and engage this initiative,” said Dr. Andi Kent, USA executive vice president and provost. “We are supremely confident that our faculty, staff and students are ready to LevelUP.”
Every 10 years as part of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accreditation process, institutions are required to develop a new quality enhancement plan focused on student learning and student success.
“Healthy, productive, forward-thinking organizations take time to reflect on what's working and what's not and take a snapshot of their historical performance from time to time,” said Dr. Angela Coleman, associate vice president for Institutional Effectiveness. “Only then can they make strategic decisions on where to change, how to innovate and how to stay relevant.”
Coleman said people should know that accreditation presents an opportunity every 10 years to reflect with a critical eye on every facet of the University, take a snapshot, and think about the possibilities and potential of the next decade.
“The development process of the Quality Enhancement Plan begins with quietly and diligently completing in-depth research and analysis of our own institutional data,” she said. “After months of research and project planning, the development process begins and takes about a year from start to finish.”
Executive Director of Academic Enhancement Dr. Julie Estis led the development of the plan and worked closely with Coleman to ensure its success.
“By providing meaningful opportunities inside and outside of the classroom, we will better equip South students to develop the skills employers value the most,” Estis said.
Faculty, staff, administrative leaders and students also played a role in developing LevelUP which is focused on three specific and measurable student learning outcomes:
Ready: Through a portfolio-based values affirmation activity, students will explain the importance of their self-identified values.
Set: At the midpoint of their program, students will evaluate their level of competence to engage in three readiness behaviors using an ePortfolio.
Go: As they near completion of their academic program, students will articulate how their program and experiences relate to their readiness for their next steps in an ePortfolio.
Each of the student learning outcomes, as well as the faculty and staff outcome and the program-level outcome, are assessed and analyzed each year.
“More and more faculty and programs will be involved over time, Estis said. “It builds over the five years of the project, adding more programs each year.”
A video overview of the LevelUP program can be found on YouTube.
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