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QEP Topic Selection & Development

SACSCOC Standard 7.2 requires the QEP to have five essential elements:

  1. The QEP is derived from institutional planning and evaluation processes.
  2. The QEP has broad-based support of institutional constituencies.
  3. The QEP focuses on improving specific student learning outcomes and/or student success.
  4. The institution is committing and will continue to commit resources needed for the QEP to have a good chance of success.
  5. The QEP includes a plan to assess the level of that success.

Our Topic Selection Process

     The topic selected for UT Knoxville’s QEP was derived from institutional planning and evaluation processes. The 2021 strategic vision “It Takes a Volunteer” prominently features the Volunteer Experience – developing and sustaining a nurturing university culture where diversity and community are enduring sources of strength. The Vol EDGE and ASPIRE programs are existing efforts supporting this facet of the strategic plan.

     Data from institutional assessment processes were collected and analyzed regarding academic support needs, DFW rates, retention rates, supplemental instruction and study sessions, student and employer engagement, climate survey, Student Disability Services, and past due student accounts.

     Our QEP Steering Committee ensured broad-based support of institutional constituencies by conducting surveys and focus group meetings throughout the fall 2023 semester. Two institution-wide surveys were administered to narrow topic areas. The first survey offered an opportunity to respond to the open-ended question: What is ONE thing we could change to improve undergraduate student learning and/or success at UTK? We received 1,984 usable responses from undergraduate students (71%), graduate students (14%), tenure-line (TL) faculty (8%), non-tenure line faculty (NTTF; 3%), staff (3%), and other stakeholders. Every college (except our newly formed Baker College) was represented. Discussion of these responses led to the identification of six potential topic areas, which were the focus of our second survey. 

     The second survey received 3,878 usable responses.  Nearly 8.5% of our undergraduate students (n = 2,441), ~32% of our TL (n = 364) and NTTF (n = 248), and ~9% of our staff (n = 523) participated, along with graduate students (n = 239), administrators (n = 95), undergraduate alumni (n = 71), graduate alumni (n = 48), family or community members (n = 19), post-docs (n = 10), employers of UTK undergraduates (n = 8), and other stakeholders (n = 25).  We also hosted focus groups for staff (n = 4), NTT faculty (n = 4), and open access (n = 17), and attended seven standing staff meetings (e.g., Student Disability Services, Academic Success Center).  

    The selected topic area focuses on improving student success through acknowledging and addressing our students’ needs relating to Foundations for Learning, Well-being, and Career. Strategies will be developed over the next year to address these needs. 

     UT Knoxville is committed to this initiative and will commit resources needed for the QEP to have a good chance of success. As part of the topic development process, the QEP Steering Committee will create a budget sufficient to support the initiatives and will design an assessment plan to evaluate and report on progress annually.

For more information on the QEP topic selection and plan development, contact Erin Hardin.