Roanoke College

QEP TOPIC: EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

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Selecting a Topic

In fall 2009, the President and the Dean constituted the QEP Topic Selection Committee representing faculty from across all divisions, staff, and students. Over the course of the fall semester 2009, the committee had extensive discussions about possible topics using Derek Bok's book Our Underachieving Colleges (2006) as a framework to facilitate discussions. Furthermore, to help identify possible topics for the QEP, the committee analyzed a variety of institutional reports (including the 2009 Alumni Survey Report, the 2007 Graduating Student Survey Report, the 2009 NSSE Data, the 2008 Climate Survey Report, the 2008 Programmatic Initiatives Report, and the 2002 Student Culture Report by Shuh and Whitt). By the end of the semester the committee had developed a list of topics for further consideration and had also identified sources of data to support the selection of each of the topics.

Surveys of Faculty, Staff, Students, and Alumni

In spring 2010, the committee refined the topics and developed two surveys to determine the support for each of the topics by the key constituencies (the faculty, the staff, and the students, as well as three recent alumni classes).

1. The topic selection survey consisted of a list of 16 possible topics for consideration. The committee purposefully excluded several topics (critical thinking, written communication, and oral communication) because they were already being addressed by the new Intellectual Inquiry curriculum. Each respondent was asked to choose up to five of the possible topics that s/he thought would "enhance [his/her/the] college experience".

2. The effectiveness survey asked respondents to "rate the College's effectiveness" in each of the given areas.

The Final Four Topics

  • Experiential Learning
  • Post-Graduate Success
  • College Climate
  • Study Abroad

The Final Report of the Topic Selection Committee 

The Final Selection

The four topics were presented to the College's SACS Leadership Steering Committee, the committee decided a follow-up survey was needed.

The final step in the topic selection process was to present all available information to the President of the College. After careful consideration, President Maxey selected Experiential Learning as our QEP topic for several reasons:

  • Experiential learning clearly has community support.
  • Experiential learning is a focus within the College's strategic plan.
  • A new experiential learning program is feasible since it will build on an existing strength of the College.
  • A new experiential learning program has great potential to differentiate us from other schools that will help our reputation and student learning.