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QEP Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Virginia Western developing a Quality Enhancement Plan?

A Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is a five-year action plan to improve student learning or the student learning environment.  The QEP is part of our reaffirmation process with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).  This is a major opportunity for Virginia Western to make changes that will help our students.

How did Virginia Western select its QEP topic?

During the 2011-2012 academic year, focus groups were held to develop topics for the QEP. Based on these, our campus community selected Advising as the overall topic.  In August 2012, the Advising topic was refined to be Advising Teamwork. This was the top choice by two to one over the other choices and the top selection among faculty, staff and administrators.

What is the purpose of our QEP?

The purpose of Navigate: Get THERE through Team Advising is to improve students’ academic planning skills through team advising. Its goals are:

  1. Through team advising, students will set educational success goals and make a plan for achieving these goals. 
  2. Through forming an effective team, the quality of advising on campus will be improved.

The initial target audience will be Fall 2014 students who are new to Virginia Western, enrolled in a degree program, and taking an SDV course.  However, Navigate: Get THERE through Team Advising will impact all students seeking advising.

How will these goals enhance the learning environment?

These goals will create a more defined path for students to navigate the campus resources and will cultivate a stronger sense of student individual responsibility. Through this project, Virginia Western will create a campus environment that enables students to set educational success goals and make plans for achieving these goals.

What does Advising Teamwork really mean? 

Virginia Western will reconfigure the advising structure on campus around a team advising philosophy.  This team will consist of members who play different roles in advising, and impact students at different points of their academic progress.  The major components will be:

  1. Advising Specialists, located in Chapman Hall, who will primarily work with incoming students.
  2. Advising Liaisons, located in the academic division offices, who will work with returning students on general advising issues.
  3. Faculty Advisors, who will continue to work with students on specific advising issues related to their program.
  4. Students themselves, who will learn the skills to take more individual responsibility for their academic success.

What changes will I as a student experience?

  1. You will have a clearer idea of where to go to get your different advising needs met.
  2. In most cases, you will have an assigned faculty advisor who will remain your advisor throughout your education at Virginia Western.
  3. Your advising experiences throughout your time at Virginia Western will focus on goals-based academic planning. 
  4. You will be able to learn more about the advising process, and will have access to tools that can enable you to be more proactive in the pursuit of your educational success goals.

What changes will I as an academic advisor in Chapman Hall experience? 

  1. You will receive a new title, Advising Specialist. 
  2. You will meet with new students, non-curricular students, and students who are interested in significant program changes.
  3. As one of the initial advising contacts for students, you will have discussions with them regarding their educational success goals and the ways in which specific programs at Virginia Western best address these goals.
  4. Conversations with students will be based on a progressive model of advising that takes into account students’ lives and career plans.
  5. Students will use a registration room to select class times and meeting patterns that meet their schedule and will register themselves in SIS. 

What changes will I as a faculty advisor experience? 

  1. Once again you will have your advisees listed in PeopleSoft. 
  2. Most of these advisees will remain with you throughout their time at Virginia Western.
  3. Because Navigate emphasizes goals-based academic advising, your advisees should already have an educational success goal and be developing an academic plan based on that goal.
  4. Since you as faculty are the program experts, you will continue to meet with students to discuss their academic paths, academic success goals, and the ways they can best achieve them. 
  5. You will now have additional resources available, including the other members of your advising team, which will enable the process to be more efficient.

How will our progress be assessed?

Throughout the five year implementation of this plan, Virginia Western will assess the student learning outcomes in a variety of ways each academic year. Baseline data will be drawn from existing assessment instruments, as well as from assessments administered in Fall 2013.

What is an Advising Liason?

Three full-time Advising Liaisons will be hired in spring 2014. Each Advising Liaison will have an office within his/her assigned academic school and will report to Student Services.  These positions have been modeled in part after Virginia Western’s existing Health Careers Information Specialist position (Pam Woody), which will remain unchanged and continues to report directly to the School of Health Professions.

Advising Liaison positions are designed to facilitate communication between the advising specialists in Student Services and the faculty advisors in the academic schools and to provide advising for returning students. As a part of the advising team, these staff members will collaborate with program heads, faculty advisors, and advising specialists, as well as representatives of other campus resources. In terms of the student learning environment, the advising liaisons will work with returning students to set and refine educational success goals, align programs of study with educational success goals, develop academic plans, understand transfer agreement details, and complete Virginia Western forms. Advising liaisons will also refer students to appropriate campus resources, including faculty advisors.

What other changes will be part of Navigate?

Navigate places emphasis on providing support to all members of the advising team. 

  1. Professional development opportunities will be available, both on-campus and through funding to attend conferences on advising.
  2. An Advising Handbook and Advising manuals will be developed.
  3. Resource lists will be compiled and maintained in easy-to-access web locations.
  4. Each student will have easy access to the name of his/her faculty advisor.
  5. Faculty members will be able to view a list of their advisees.
  6. Catalog pages will be revised to display program courses through a recommended Academic Plan.  This change will begin with the 2014-15 catalog.
  7. As the plan rolls out, a case management system will be implemented.  This system will allow the members of each student’s advising team to share relevant student information and communicate more easily with the students.  Training and implementation for this system are currently scheduled for 2015-16.

How do we know these are good ideas?

All of the goals, outcomes and assessments for Navigate are reflective of best practices within student advising.  

During the summer of 2012, a literature review team of Virginia Western faculty and staff made an extensive review of advising research and case studies.  The best practices identified by this team were then integrated with Virginia Western’s environment and current advising needs by other teams of faculty and staff. 

Our results in implementing Navigate will be continually assessed, and the plan will be refined as we progress.  The professional development opportunities will give us a further basis for ensuring that we are using current best practices to encourage the success of our students, as well as to support your success as advisors and academics.

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