The Principles of Accreditation attests to the commitment of the Commission on Colleges
to the enhancement of the quality of higher education and to the proposition that
student learning is at the heart of the mission of all institutions of higher learning.
The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is a component of the accreditation process that
reflects and affirms both of these commitments. Developing a QEP as part of the reaffirmation
process is an opportunity and an impetus for an institution to enhance overall institutional
quality and effectiveness by focusing on an issue or issues the institution considers
important to improving student learning.
Student learning is defined broadly in the context of the QEP and may address a wide
range of topics or issues but, in all cases, the goals and evaluation strategies need
to be clearly and directly linked to improving the quality of student learning and
be consistent with the institution’s strategic plan.
Team-Based Learning is a special form of collaborative learning using a specific sequence
of individual work, group work and immediate feedback to create a motivational framework
in which students increasingly hold each other accountable for coming to class prepared
and contributing to discussion (Michael Sweet).
The goal of TEAM USA is to improve student learning outcomes in STEM courses by increasing
critical thinking and collaboration through the utilization of Team-Based Learning
instructional strategies. TEAM USA is aligned with the mission of the university to
“apply knowledge in service to the people of Alabama as citizens of a global community”
and also with goal #1 of the University’s strategic plan, “To build upon the academic
quality and learning environment of the University.”
TEAM USA focuses onimproving student learning outcomes in STEM courses by increasing critical thinking
and collaboration using Team-Based Learning instructional strategies. As such, the
goal of the project is for students to achieve higher mastery levels of course content
through the application of collaborative learning and critical thinking to real-life
pedagogical scenarios. TEAM USA is aligned with the University’s mission to “apply knowledge in service to the people
of Alabama as citizens of a global community” and also with goal #1 of the University’s
strategic plan, “To build upon the academic quality and learning environment of the
During the summer of 2012, the QEP Implementation Committee was expanded and repurposed
as an Advisory Council to oversee the pilot and implementation phases of the project.
The purpose of the USA Quality Enhancement Plan Advisory Council is to support and
guide the development, implementation and assessment of the Quality Enhancement Plan.
Responsibilities of council membership are to serve as an advocate of the USA QEP,
review and make recommendations for continuous improvement of all aspects of the QEP,
including but not limited to, implementation of the plan, assessment, planning and
The process for the development of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) at the University
of South Alabama (USA) was aligned with planning principles as delineated by Litman
(2012). The process included broad-based involvement of all potential stakeholders.
These stakeholders included students, faculty, staff, and administrators. During the
pilot and implementation phases of the project, the QEP Advisory Committee consisted
of students, faculty, staff, alumni, community members and administrators.