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Victoria College is ready for reaffirmation committee visit

By By Tempi McLeod
Sept. 20, 2013 at 4:20 a.m.

Tempi McLeod is Victoria College's Quality Enhancement Plan director.

We've reviewed all of our paperwork, dotted our i's and crossed our t's.

Victoria College is ready for a visit from committee members of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). They'll be on our campus Sept. 24-26, and we've been eagerly preparing for their review.

As a new part of the reaffirmation of accreditation process, which takes place every 10 years, Victoria College has submitted its first Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). The focus of our QEP is to improve critical-thinking skills. This will be accomplished by enhancing student engagement through the incorporation of active learning strategies in the learning environment.

Last fall, VC selected the QEP topic Students Engaged in Active Learning (SEAL) after seeking input from faculty, staff, students and the community. The QEP development committee took that initial work and prepared a comprehensive plan that includes three main components:

1. Basic training will be introduced to all new VC students in mandatory New Student Information Session. The training will help students understand their role as engaged and prepared partners in active learning while providing important information about how VC supports student success.

2. Boot camp will provide professional development opportunities for all VC employees. Faculty and staff will be able to participate in a series of courses introducing them to active learning and learner-centered environments to enhance their role in student success.

3. A SEAL academy will give selected faculty an opportunity to participate in a structured, yearlong development program. Participants will research active learning strategies and collaborate with professionals experienced in curriculum, design and technology to implement active learning strategies in their classes.

The campus is excited about these initiatives and is using the slogan "SEAL the DEAL" to promote awareness of our commitment to student learning and student success. The students seem to be engaged and looking forward to what's going to happen throughout the campus. Instructors are ready to get started with the SEAL Academy. The challenge now is to wait until we are approved to launch the QEP.

On Tuesday afternoon, the SACSCOC group will look at Victoria College's compliance certificate.

"We had four areas where we didn't provide the appropriate evidence to prove that we actually do what we say we do," explains Dr. Patricia Vandervoort, vice president of instruction at Victoria College. "The team will verify the information we provided in our focus report addressing those areas."

The committee is also required to confirm VC's compliance with 10 selected core requirements and comprehensive standards as well as nine federal requirements, such as distance education, program curriculum and student achievement, according to Vandervoort.

Wednesday's visit will be devoted 100 percent to reviewing the QEP. During the review, committee members will examine five general areas: • The institutional process

• The plan's focus

• VC's capacity to initiate, implement and complete the QEP

• Broad-based involvement in developing the plan

• Assessment of the QEP

The QEP development committee wrote the QEP with those general categories in mind, and the college is aiming for an exceptional rating from the visiting SACSCOC committee.

Exit interviews will be conducted Thursday morning as the committee prepares a preliminary report and discusses what it will include in the final report to SACSCOC, which will be submitted to the SACSCOC board in June 2014.

"We hope to receive our final approval for the QEP and reaffirmation in June 2014," Vandervoort says.

The work of the faculty and staff on the various aspects of the QEP has been thorough, and the resulting plan is truly an opportunity to take what we do well at Victoria College and make it exceptional.

Tempi McLeod is Victoria College's Quality Enhancement Plan director.

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