QEP Selection Process

In August 2018, the College formed a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Topic Selection Committee (TSC) to identify a topic for the College’s next QEP. When forming the Committee, care was taken to ensure representation from the College’s various campuses and centers as well as the College’s major functional units, including Academic Affairs, Student Services, Library and Learning Resources, and Business Services. Within Academic Affairs, individuals were selected to represent the liberal arts and sciences disciplines as well as the College’s workforce programs. This resulted in a 40-member TSC comprised of faculty and staff from various locations and departments across the College.

The TSC began its work by reviewing the following data sources generated by ongoing institutional research and effectiveness processes:

  • The College’s FactBook, which contains data regarding enrollment trends and student demographics.
  • Retention and completion data disaggregated by factors including race/ethnicity, gender, Pell grant status, and participation in dual enrollment.
  • State performance data showing the performance of Polk State College students who transfer to the State University System.
  • The College’s First Year Experience (FYE) program data on retention, average GPA, and credits earned by first-time-in-college (FTIC) students.
  • Results from the College’s most recent administrations of the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) and the Survey of Entering Student Engagement (SENSE).

The data review revealed that the College’s greatest opportunity to improve student learning and success outcomes was to increase student completion or increase the number of students who obtain academic credentials. The committee also identified a need to address equity of outcomes and enhance the intentional career exploration and planning activities and resources available to students. Using the results, the committee narrowed the list of broad topic areas to the following:

  1. 360-Degree Engagement and Communication
  2. Career Planning and Readiness
  3. College Mindset
  4. Digital and Information Literacy
  5. Getting and Staying on a Path
  6. Soft Skills

The Committee conducted two surveys to gather additional feedback about each of the six broad topic areas. Participants included graduates from the spring 2018 and fall 2018 semesters and faculty and Student Services staff. Based on this feedback as well as additional evaluation and discussion, it was determined that Getting and Staying on a Path and Career Planning and Readiness were the two broad topic areas that were feasible, supported by data and stakeholder feedback, and most likely to have a positive impact on student learning or success.

Members of the TSC engaged in brainstorming activities, studied institutional data, and reviewed published literature to develop focused topic proposals. From these activities, three focused topic proposals emerged. The first topic proposal focused on helping students discover potential careers and develop plans for preparing to enter the workforce. Another topic proposal focused on helping students develop skills necessary for employment. The final topic proposal focused on providing students with the support resources necessary to stay on their chosen academic pathways.

The committee conducted a final survey to obtain stakeholder feedback on each of the three focused topic proposals. Respondents were asked to evaluate the proposals in terms of feasibility, support for existing goals and initiatives, and ability to increase student success. The topic proposal which was focused on helping students discover careers and develop a plan for entry into the workforce ranked highest. The TSC then developed the final topic proposal by incorporating elements from the other two proposals into the career exploration proposal. This final proposal was presented to and approved by the College President and President’s Staff on May 17, 2019.

For more information on the topic selection process of Polk State College’s QEP, Explore to Complete, please see Chapter 1 of the Quality Enhancement Plan.