QEP Topic Selection and Development
In his State of the University address on August 24, 2010, President Broderick issued a call to the campus to participate in the QEP development process, and he solicited ideas for the proposal. QEP Team members followed this introduction up with presentations and solicitations at each of the six ‘State of the College’ faculty meetings. They surveyed faculty members, administrators, and staff at the main campus, regional higher education centers, and at the distance learning sites. QEP topic surveys were also sent to employers, student leaders and students. Survey links were sent to parents, alumni, and college advisory boards. Topic Idea Forms were widely distributed to faculty by e-mail and at meetings in every academic college. Members of the QEP Team also made presentations at the President’s and Provost’s annual retreats and to student leadership organizations. Finally, the Team sponsored breakfasts, luncheons and/or late afternoon socials in every college and across the University to educate campus constituencies about the QEP and solicit topic ideas.
These thematic areas were discussed during an open QEP Forum held in September 2010 and attended by more than 60 academic faculty and staff. The QEP Team followed up the Forum with solicitations for mini-proposals to 20 faculty members with expertise in the thematic areas identified in the Topic Ideas Forms. From those submitted, two broad themes emerged; the first focused on writing that encompasses reasoning and research, and the other focused on technology and technological literacy. Faculty members originally submitting mini-proposals related to these areas worked together to create the two full proposals.
On receiving the two full proposals, the QEP Team reviewed proposal content and considered relevant assessment data. As a result of its review, the Team selected writing that includes or encompasses reasoning and research as ODU’s QEP focus.
Reasoning Through Writing and Research Proposal
During the spring 2011 semester, the QEP Team hosted two Celebrations and Conversations events to introduce the theme of Reasoning through Writing and Research to ODU faculty and staff. To solicit feedback and ideas from participants, the Team employed a modified focus group method with moderators and recorders assigned to each group. Attended by approximately 200 faculty and staff, these events provided excellent feedback and generated significant enthusiasm. Discussions generated several important considerations, as follows: recognition that writing which includes reasoning and research is an iterative, recursive process, not a linear one; the need to add reflection as part of the writing process; the need to help faculty learn to use more writing in their classes; and the need to recognize and reward this development process.
Throughout the fall 2011 semester, the QEP Team continued to host meetings on campus to discuss the plan topic, solicit additional ideas and feedback, and encourage involvement in the development of the plan. Team members gave presentations in every college and in many departments. They met with nearly all schools and department chairs, directors and administrators, the Board of Visitors, consultants and student groups. Progress on the QEP was featured in the online newsletter for faculty and staff, InsideODU. Updates on QEP development were also emailed to faculty. The Team hosted two additional Celebrations and Conversations events which attracted more than 150 faculty and staff from across the campus. As before, the Team employed a modified focus group method with moderators and note takers assigned to each group. A thematic analysis revealed that faculty liked that Workshops would embrace active learning pedagogies, but some wondered if there were ways to make the workshop sessions shorter or fewer; there was also the desire to be certain that they addressed discipline-specific writing. There was enthusiasm about the Action Projects but also confusion about the kind of projects that might work best.
Once the topic was defined, the Team identified the essential steps for developing an implementation plan. Projects included development of Action Plan content and application process, budget planning, QEP Director position development, assessment program development, Faculty Workshop development, and marketing. To accomplish this work with broader participation, the QEP Team created new subcommittees and invited additional faculty members to serve on them. New members included faculty with expertise in writing, and administrative faculty from Student Engagement and Enrollment Services, Marketing and Communications, Publications, and Distance Learning (responsible for the evolving Center for Learning and Teaching). The QEP document contains full details and can be accessed by clicking here.
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