University prepares QEP for next year’s SACS visit

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accredit Murray State every 10 years.

The University is required to develop a Quality Enhancement Plan, a plan of action for improving student learning, as part of the reaccreditation.

The theme for Murray State’s new QEP is the application of knowledge and skills in a real world setting.

The University is required to create a plan of action for improving student learning as part of the accreditation with SACS.

Students received an email encouraging them to help develop a name and tagline for the QEP.

Students can submit as many ideas as they want, and they will be entered to win an iPad, iPod Touch, iPod Nano or Kindle Fire. Submissions are due by 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 18. Winners will be notified by Feb. 22.

On Feb. 24 – 28 of 2014, SACS will visit the Murray State campus.

For the last several months, a task force of approximately 175 faculty and staff members has been reviewing the documents that will be turned in to SACS.

President Randy Dunn said the idea of the preliminary visit is to have the key representative from the University’s accreditor come on-site to take an early read of the work the University has done in preparation for the full visit of the accreditation team about a year from now.

“(The SACS representative) will be talking to a number of us on campus and will review the preparation and some of the changes we’ve been working on in response to standards of accreditation,” Dunn said. “We had to beef up some things, and the representative is giving us feedback on things we need to do. To some degree it’s like a punch list.”

Dunn said the University is in the process of assimilating all the documents together in one electronic submission.

Jay Morgan, associate provost, said the combined documents would consist of approximately 50,000 pages.

Morgan said 65-70 percent of the University’s review is complete, and the majority should be finished within the next two to three months, allowing time to make final corrections. The final version, approved by the Provost’s Office, will be sent to SACS during September of 2013. The accreditors then complete an off-site review of all campus materials.

Morgan said the document will contain research and analysis of 96 standards created by SACS used to evaluate the education plan and its overall implementation at the University.

The 96 standards include 16 core requirement areas, 69 comprehensive standards and 11 federal requirements.

On Sept. 10, 2013, the 50,000-page document must be completed and sent to SACS headquarters for the off-site review.

After the submission of the document, the faculty and staff will finalize and deliver to SACS a Quality Enhancement Plan in December 2013.

During the next 10 months, the group will work on tasks such as development of a literature review, identification of practices, structuring of interventions and assessments.

The preliminary visit took place Thursday and will continue today. The final accreditation visit is in February 2014.

The University will receive the reaccreditation status from SACS in December of 2014.

Story by Meghann Anderson, News Editor.