Faculty seeks input from students about accreditation plan to improve student learning and success

By Kaylee Franklin 

Trevecca administrators are beginning to prepare for the university’s re-accreditation happening in 2023 and part of that includes coming up with a plan to improve student learning or success.  

“Accreditation is everything to a university and it is everything to a student,” said Lena Welch, dean of school of arts and sciences. “Accreditation is what allows a Trevecca’s graduate degree to have meaning.”  

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is responsible for accrediting institutions across the southern states.  As part of this process the university must come with a plan to improve student learning or success.  This is called the quality enhancement plan, or QEP.

Ideas for the QEP are submitted from faculty, staff, administrators, the board of trustees, nontraditional undergraduate students, traditional undergraduate students, and graduate students, through a survey sent out from the QEP topic selection committee, said Welch, who is also serving as chair of that committee.

Accreditation is important to Trevecca because it makes the university better and helps the university stay in compliance with federal government requirements, said Jonathan Bartling, associate vice president for academic services and accreditation. 

Students participate in the 2018 student research symposium, Trevecca’s previous QEP. Photo courtesy of Trevecca marketing.

Colleges and universities are accredited every 10 years. Trevecca’s last visit was in 2013, said Welch.  

The committee who will decide the next QEP selected one student representative, Katy Bridgforth, a junior English education major. Bridgforth has been working with the committee to help form the surveys and give the student perspective.  

“One thing I encourage all my peers to do is just throw out your ideas no matter how crazy they may seem. If you see a real need, suggest it.” said Bridgforth. 

In 2013, Trevecca chose the QEP topic of undergraduate research, and it became part of what defines the Trevecca community, said Bartling.  

“We are about to undertake a major fact-finding machine mission to find out what are the big ideas that we could create a project around that could help to improve student learning or student success on campus.” said Bartling. “We’re going to be putting out surveys and doing other work to try and gather ideas for what is the next big project that Trevecca could undertake to improve those areas.”  

All students get the chance to participate in the QEP and should expect an email asking to complete the survey by the end of March. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the survey suggesting their ideas on how to improve student learning or student success.  

“You can look at a QEP as a requirement,” said Welch. “But the better way to look at it is as an opportunity.”  

“Student input is critical, and the committee is open to as many ideas as they can gather, more academic support, stronger guidance in advising, graduation rates, etc. We can do a lot,” said Bartling.  

“We’re not limited to one thing or one project,” said Bartling, “We can do a lot of things.”

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