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.
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.
The purpose of Navigate: Get THERE through Team Advising is to improve students’ academic planning skills through team advising. Its goals are:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Navigate places emphasis on providing support to all members of the advising team.
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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