As part of UNA’s reaffirmation process for accreditation, we are proud to announce the new Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). Our chosen topic for the QEP is Preparing the Pride: Experiential and Work-based Learning. The overall goal of the QEP is to increase opportunities, student participation, and institutional support for experiential and work-based learning at the undergraduate level across four domains:

Work-Based Learning, whereby students are prepared for entering the world of work. Examples include internships, preceptorships, simulations, practicums, co-ops, field experiences, job shadowing, and work-based projects. 

Service-Learning, whereby students engage in an intentional and collaborative pedagogical practice that engages students in structured service to address an identified community need while also building an understanding and/or appreciation of the course content or discipline.

Mentored Research, whereby students participate in co-creating knowledge in the discipline, and their scholarship has the potential to make a contribution to the field by being disseminated to the academic community. 

Immersive Learning, whereby students gain first-hand knowledge of course content and/or culture by learning within a new set of surroundings. Examples include education abroad, study away, and Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL). 

QEP Goals

In addition to the identified SLO, UNA has identified two supplemental institutional goals to work towards in support of the SLO:

  1. Increase the number of experiential and work-based learning opportunities for students in undergraduate degree programs in each of the academic colleges and for the University as a whole.
  2. Increase the number of students participating in experiential and work-based learning opportunities in undergraduate degree programs in each of the academic colleges and for the University as a whole.
Student Learning Outcome (SLO)
graphic with text saying learn the content and skills of your major
graphic with text saying add skills through experiential and work-based learning
graphic with text saying recognize and reflect on skills learned and add to resume
  1. The Student Learning Outcome for Preparing the Pride is: Students will use integrative thinking and reflection to demonstrate the ability to make connections across multiple contexts and educational experiences.

    Preparing the Pride will aim to increase integrative thinking and reflection among students through active engagement across the major domains of experiential and work-based learning. In addition, the overall SLO for the QEP will be accompanied by five major student learning indicators:

    1. The ability to connect experiential and work-based learning to academic learning (connections to experience).
    2. The ability to make connections across disciplines and perspectives (connections to discipline).
    3. The ability to adapt and apply information to new situations (transfer).
    4. The ability to use effective and appropriate forms of communication to enhance the quality of their assignments (integrated communication).
    5. The ability to demonstrate a developing sense of self as a learner, building on prior experiences to respond to new and challenging contexts (self-assessment & reflection).
QEP Implementation Plan

The Preparing the Pride QEP will implement a number of strategies and activities to engage faculty, administrative support staff, students, and community stakeholders. For faculty and administrative support staff, these strategies include workshops, department liaisons, a faculty fellows program, and increases in funding for study away opportunities and professional development for experiential and work-based learning scholarly work. For students, these strategies include a student ambassadors program, seminars on experiential and work-based learning, student project grants, increases in education abroad scholarships, and a fall showcase for students to present the fruits of their experiential and work-based learning. Additionally, the QEP will engage community stakeholders through creating an external advisory committee regarding experiential and work-based learning and building a database to pair students with placements for work-based learning opportunities. 

QEP Course Designation

To achieve the designation of a QEP course, a course instructor will need to apply for the designation from the QEP Departmental Liaisons committee, who will review the application. Faculty will be encouraged to work with their respective QEP Departmental Liaison in the completion of their application, which will be a short online form, requiring the completed course syllabus as an attachment. The application will also ask some basic information from the faculty, including information that would allow for the classification of the type of experiential or work-based learning experience, as well as the taxonomic classification of the course. The major requirements for the approval of the QEP course designation will be:

  1. The inclusion of one (or more) of the major forms of experiential and work-based learning (work-based learning, mentored research or creative activity, service learning, or immersive learning).
  2. The inclusion of a critical reflection assignment in the course. This critical reflection assignment can be of multiple formats (including a paper, a presentation, a journal, a project, etc.), but will need to address the overall student learning outcome and five student learning indicators in the assignment.
  3. The usage of the common rubric within the Canvas course to assess the student learning outcome and student learning indicators. 

Critical Reflection Assignment

Faculty are encouraged to design activities and assignments that best fit their course, modality, and students. Critical reflections require students to consider how their courses build expertise and the ways in which new skills can be applied to other situations, courses, and careers. In the critical reflection assignment, instructors will have students address the questions presented below.

Critical Reflection Student Prompt

  1. Describe the experiential or work-based learning experience in this course that you have chosen to highlight. When and where did it take place? Who was involved in this experience? What did you (and any others) do in this experience?
  2. What were the most important things you learned from this experiential or work-based learning experience? In what ways did you increase your knowledge of yourself as a person, a student learner, an aspiring professional, and/or a citizen?
  3. How does this experiential or work-based learning experience integrate with the current course(s) you are taking (theories, practice, etc.)? Did you use anything you have learned in your courses when taking part in the experience you are highlighting?
  4. Why is it what you learned in this experiential or work-based learning experience significant or important to you? How does what you learned from this experience relate to your career goals? How does it relate to your academic discipline?
  5. How will this experiential or work-based learning experience affect your future learning? How will what you learned be helpful in future classes or future situations? 

The rubric used to assess the critical reflection assignment will be added to the Canvas course for instructors of QEP designated coursework, and will be aligned with Canvas Outcomes, which will allow the QEP Director to pull that data without the need for a report from those instructors. Again, it will be required for QEP course designation that instructors use the common rubric for assessing the critical reflection assignment. Guidance for instructors who have questions about how they would integrate a critical reflection assignment into their courses will be given by the QEP Director and the QEP Departmental Liaisons.

The QEP will make use of direct/indirect and summative/formative assessment of the four specified student learning outcomes in a global fashion to determine the impact of student engagement with experiential and work-based learning. Central to the assessment of the student learning outcomes will be the inclusion of a critical reflection assignment, whereby students will need to consider how their experiential and work-based courses build expertise and the ways in which new skills can be applied to other situations, courses, and their career. Additionally, assessment will include the use of student focus groups and surveys of recent UNA graduates and employers. Targets for mastery levels on each SLO will be established starting with baseline data collected from pilot courses in the Fall of 2022. As with the QEP goals, the baselines and targets for SLOs will be examined both by overall and domain-specific experiential and work-based learning (work-based, mentored research, service-learning, immersive learning), as well as at the college and overall university level.

QEP Steering Committee

Cain, Butler
Coker, Stephanie
Garner, William
Green, Bethany
Heinrich, Julie
Mathis, Molly
McGee, John
Merciers, Meghan
Milwee, Anna
Morrow, Natalie
Powell, EJ
Price, Matthew
Rhodes, Tammy
Sandvig, Amber
Shremshock, Patrick
Vance, Claudia
Winston, Rachel


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