NEWBERRY — Around campus, signs and posters advertise something called the QEP, the Quality Enhancement Plan. But what do those mysterious words really mean?
The Quality Enhancement Plan, titled “Habits of the Heart,” is a way to help students improve how they learn, build their critical thinking skills, think about personal and social responsibility, and think about vocation. According to the QEP page on the Newberry College website, the plan is meant to help students become better learners and more responsible citizens in their communities and in the world
The QEP has been integrated into the College Life 101 curriculum, a course required for all incoming freshmen to prepare them for the world of college. As part of the plan, all College Life 101 students are required to read an assigned book and write papers reflecting on what they’ve read.
This semester, students were required to read The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy, and had to submit three reflection papers as well as participate in in-class “book club” sessions.
Wendland says the QEP is in the second year of a five-year plan. The emphasis is currently on the first two years of college, but the goal is to bring it into more classes as time goes on.
The QEP was developed with input from faculty, students and alumni. Out of this research came the plan’s emphasis on critical thinking, vocation and problem-solving.
Physical Education professor John Lesaine, who serves on the QEP Committee and teaches a College Life class, says he has seen an effect in his students already, with some of them figuring out what they need to take and learn for their majors. Lesaine says he has also seen this in some of the reflection papers written for the class this semester.
English professor Dr. Amanda Hodges, who also serves on the committee, says vocation is an important need in a person’s life, and that the QEP helps students find out what makes them happy and learn about the responsibilities they have to their community.
“The QEP is such a unique thing, and creative,” Lesaine said, adding that he believes the still-young program is already providing benefits across campus.