Sally Krutzig, News Editor
This year, the University of Dallas will be undergoing a process to renew the accreditation given to the school by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). In order to be reaffirmed, UD must come up with a QEP, or quality enhancement plan. Dr. Marcy Brown Marsden, biology professor and the associate dean of Constantin College, is one of the faculty members heading the project. In the following interview with The University News, she offers a glimpse into the procedure.
SK: What is currently happening with the QEP?
MB: It is a reaffirmation of our accreditation that the university must go through every 10 years. We have to demonstrate that we actually have effective teaching and that we have the resources we need. One of the requirements is that the QEP asks us to develop a program that addresses student learning in an area where the university needs additional support. The last QEP was the College of Business undergrad program.
SK: How is UD’s accreditation reaffirmed?
MB: We have to go through several phases. The first is an off-site review where we submit a report. Then, we go through an on-site process, which is going to happen from March 18-20, where they come in and visit us, and they start getting a little deeper into things.
SK: Why should students care about the QEP?
MB: The idea is that your degree and every other student’s degree is dependent upon us being an accredited university that is accepted by employers, by other institutions and by the federal government. These different regional accrediting institutions help make your degree valuable.
SK: How can students get involved in the QEP process?
MB: On Wednesday, Feb. 26, an open meeting will be held where students will have a chance to hear about the QEP and give feedback. The QEP is not yet set in stone, so it is still open to change and improvement. So if there are changes students can suggest that we can add to it, or different ways we can implement it, that will be really important. There are also going to be opportunities for students to meet with people who are here for SACS.
SK: What will the new QEP project be?
MB: The particular QEP project the University of Dallas is putting into action is based on career. In interviews and surveys, a lot of students have expressed dissatisfaction with their career preparedness, and so we’ve looked at something that addresses that.
SK: What will be unique about the new project?
MB: One piece of input students have given is that they want to consider career broadly, not strictly just a job, but to also talk about their vocation and their passion. There are a lot of ways career can be manifested, and we’re trying to be broad-minded in how we view a student’s career opportunities. We also want to make sure students have time, early on, to think and reflect on their career. Our project is called, “Discern, Experience, Achieve.” We imagine students discerning a direction they want to go, having some practical experience in the field and then achieving long-term and short-term goals. The idea is that all students go through each of the spheres. We don’t want to think about achievement without discernment or discernment without eventually achieving.