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QEP topics chosen

The votes are in and the HSC wins: BCD topic one of top three finalists

Accreditation is the stamp of approval showing that an institution of higher education is viable and secure.

Preparations for the Texas A&M Health Science Center accreditation have begun, and the entire HSC community can play a vital role toward continued accreditation. A new opportunity to enhance education through this process has been presented by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). That opportunity is known as the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).


QEP Topic Evaluation Committee

Charles Berry
     SACS Leadership Team

Nathan Bertoldo
     Student Government Assoc.

Linda S. Brannon
     SACS Leadership Team

Pat Campbell
     Faculty Senate

Alicia Dorsey
     SACS Leadership Team

Roderick E. McCallum
     SACS Leadership Team

Thomas Miller
     Faculty Senate

Kaye S. Olsson
     SACS Leadership Team

Eric S. Solomon
     SACS Leadership Team

Emily Wilson
     SACS Leadership Team

Rosemarie Zartman
     Faculty Senate

How it works

The goal of the plan is to improve some aspect of education at the HSC. It involves broad-based participation from the HSC community in selecting and focusing on a project that will enhance student learning throughout the institution. During the accreditation site visit in 2012, the QEP will be a major focus of discussion. Dr. Eric Solomon, executive director of the HSC Office of Institutional Research, describes the process to date.

"At the beginning of the QEP process in early February, HSC faculty members were asked to submit ideas to improve student learning," he says. "QEP defines student learning as meaningful changes in knowledge, skills, behaviors or values."


How topics were selected

QEP topics were chosen based upon a formal review of the proposals and the results of the QEP topic survey.  A QEP Topic Evaluation Committee (see sidebar) was formed to evaluate each of the proposals and consider the results of the QEP survey.  This committee was charged with selecting the three proposals that most closely met the QEP criteria and received a substantial number of votes in the survey.  The QEP proposal criteria included the following:

  • Topic must address an area of student learning that warrants improvement
  • Topic must have broad application across the educational components of the HSC
  • Topic must be capable of producing measurable improvements in student learning
  • Topic must be feasible for implementation at the HSC

Who voted in the survey

The entire HSC was involved in the voting process.

"Students made their voice heard with 38 percent of the votes. Staff offered 36 percent, while faculty votes accounted for 26 percent," says Solomon.

The top three proposals

After gathering the votes, the QEP Topic Evaluation Committee reviewed the results of the survey and the topic proposal submissions, then chose the top three topics:

  • Improving Critical Thinking, Scientific Reasoning Skills and Evidence Based Decision Making - Dr. Bob Hutchins and Dr. Beverly York; Baylor College of Dentistry
  • Academic and Professional Writing Skills Development Seminar - Dr. Jennifer M. Griffith; School of Rural Public Health
  • A Model for Inter-Professional Education (IPE) - A Pilot Study - Dr. Rajat Sethi, Dr. Robert Stanberry & Dr. Kris Virga; College of Pharmacy


"Congratulations to these winners," Solomon says. "These faculty members will each receive a $5,000 planning grant upon completion of a more detailed summary of their proposal.  All faculty who took the time to submit proposals are also to be congratulated for their efforts."

Of the top three proposals, one will eventually be selected for full development of the QEP.   At that time, the entire HSC community will have a chance to participate in accreditation efforts.  The SACS site visit team considers input from all the HSC community in evaluating the institution.

"For example, at Baylor College of Dentistry, everyone from physical plant workers to admissions office staff  to faculty in the clinics and students studying in the labs will have an opportunity to become familiar with and share what they know about the top QEP topic with SACS site visitors," Solomon says.

"The way each HSC component responds to questions from SACS about our QEP could either show a deficiency in the process or a unified commitment to enhance education," he continues.

Dr. Roderick E. McCallum, HSC vice president for academic affairs, says participation of the HSC community is powerful.

"It doesn't stop when the votes are in," he says. "We win when we all work as a team, inviting collegial discourse in cross disciplines, making this a part of doing business and supporting each other. We win when we continue to become the best we can be."