Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)
The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is required of all Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission of Colleges (SACSCOC) member institutions undergoing Reaffirmation of Accreditation. The QEP is a carefully designed and focused course of action that addresses a well-defined issue directly related to enhancing student learning. The current QEP (2015) focuses on enhancing writing support for Seminary students.
Summary of Asbury Seminary’s QEP
Asbury Theological Seminary’s mission focuses on the preparation of theologically educated, sanctified, Spirit-filled men and women. Producing graduates who can communicate the gospel creatively through speaking and writing is an important aspect of this mission. To enhance this mission, in spring 2012 the Seminary established a multi-disciplinary committee representing its community. This committee began its work in September 2012.
Surveys of students and faculty revealed a widespread belief that additional writing support was needed for students. We discovered that over 80% of faculty lower grades for grammar and stylistic errors. Additionally, a similar percentage of faculty explicitly inform students that the quality of writing will impact grades and actually lower grades for problems in this area. Finally, nearly 89% of faculty consider providing writing assistance to students useful or very important. In addition, 91% of students felt that it is important to provide writing assistance for students.
Ultimately, six program objectives were agreed upon:
- The establishment of a Writing Center for students that would (a) include both face-to-face writing consultation and distance component for writing consultation and (b) exhibit both a physical presence on the Kentucky campus and a distinctive web presence on the institution’s website.
- Writing Center consultation requirements attached to two current strategic courses: MS501 Missional Formation: The Church in a Global Era and CS601 Christian Ethics
- Student attendance at Writing Workshops sponsored by the Writing Center.
- The establishment of a course to enhance graduate level theological writing for degree seeking students called Theological Research and Writing. This course is required for those who do not meet writing standards and open to all students to enroll.
- An assessment process for determining the level of students’ writing abilities for graduate education that will determine if a student should be placed in the writing course Theological Research and Writing.
- Specialized Faculty Development Training on how to enhance graduate level academic writing for students
The Seminary is currently in the implementation phase of the current QEP.
The Writing Center officially opened in January 2017, under the directorship of Dr. Ginger Stelle. The Writing Center offers consultations in three forms: face-to-face in the B.L. Fisher Library on the Kentucky campus, online synchronously through Zoom, and asynchronously through email.
Progress has been made on five of the remaining objectives, as well, as we work towards full implementation. Asbury initially planned to have consultation requirements tied to two current strategic courses (MS501 and CS 6010); however after a trial period it was determined other assessment strategies would be better suited for the QEP.
Assessment comprises an essential part of the program. This assessment process takes several forms including:
- Client Report Forms completed by consultants after each appointment.
- Client Satisfaction Surveys sent to clients after each appointment.
- Collecting before-and-after sample papers from clients for direct assessment.
- Collecting and tracking usage statistics.