Broad Support From Texas Southern University Constituencies
The TSU QEP has been designed to impact the development of the “whole student.” Research related to student academic success led us to conclude that issues and challenges faced by TSU students go well beyond the academic arena.
TSU students not only face academic challenges, many also have personal, social, and financial issues that have consequences for their academic success. Generally, the University has developed programs or implemented institutional practices designed to address many of these student issues. However, our research has indicated that these activities generally operate in isolation; creating gaps in knowledge and/or access to services that should otherwise be readily available.
Accordingly, critical to the success of the QEP effort is cooperation as well as coordination across all institutional components related to the development of students at TSU. Only then can we reasonable expect to significantly impact student academic success. Such a strategy requires a University wide commitment to the QEP effort.
Accordingly, the Executive Committee continuously involved and updated the various University constituencies on every phase of the project. These activities were intended to not only inform, but to also obtain input and commitment in regards to the attainment of student academic success.
University Wide Support
Presentations were conducted in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 with University Faculty in an attempt to inform them of findings related to the TSU QEP. These presentations were also designed to solicit their input on how best to address student academic success. Faculty members from across the campus subsequently volunteered for participation in focus group sessions. The information obtained from these faculty focus groups was then combined with information obtained from students to help refine the QEP design.
Given the diverse areas of student interaction within the University environment, presentations were also made to University Administration. These presentations were similar to the faculty presentations in that they were designed to inform and solicit input on how best to address student academic success. These presentations also resulted in focus groups with key student centered administrative areas around the campus. The findings from staff were then combined with faculty and students to even further refine the QEP design.
The findings and insights obtained from the faculty and staff focus groups deepened our commitment to the involvement of all institutional components, not only in the design of the QEP, but also to its implementation as well. Because many of the proposed activities were existing university practices it was determined that those best capable of leading these efforts would be those who were currently responsible for the activity.
Accordingly, the QEP Executive Committee began meeting individually with faculty and staff from around the University seeking their commitment to serve as quarterbacks for the various plays to be implemented as part of the QEP. The quarterbacks identified were from administrative and academic areas that were directly responsible for the activity proposed for the QEP.
In addition to obtaining the support and commitment of the various University constituencies in the design and implementation of the QEP, it was also deemed essential that the activities of the plan be aligned with ongoing University strategies.
The goal of the QEP project directly supports one of the top 5 University Priorities as outlined in its Strategic Plan, “Student Success and Completion. The QEP is intended to directly impact student academic success in collaboration with the following offices and programs that are already part of the institution. The offices of the Registrar, Enrollment Management, and Financial services have developed a workflow for every aspect of admissions, enrollment, and financial aid.
The aim of the QEP is to inform first-time students of this workflow while, at the same time, increasing their accessibility to these services. The Office of Student Academic Services and First Year Experience houses programs and staff that support student success with a focus on acclimating freshmen to college life.
These include enrollment and completion advisors (ECAs), tutorial services, an academic skill center, and the required Freshman Seminar course (FS 102). Each of these programs will have a significant role in the implementation and integration of the TSU QEP. The Office of Institutional Technology, Blackboard, MyTSUMobile, and Office365 provide access to courses, textbooks, research materials, workspaces and communication both on campus and online.
The intent of the QEP is to ensure that students, faculty, and staff receive the training and tools to effectively use these resources in an effort to increase their productivity. Two areas where this is most critical is in access to textbooks for students and in monitoring class attendance. The Office of Student Life, Housing, the Student Health Center, the Counseling Center, the Office of Disability, the University Library and Learning Center, Testing, and Career Centers are also integral to university life and student success.
The role of the QEP is to ensure that students are informed about these resources and have easy access to them from their first encounter with TSU. Additionally, many of the strategies resulting from the University’s Strategic Plan, such as streamlining the process between enrollment and admission, intrusive advising, utilization of FS 102 to acclimate students to university life, and actively integrating technology into the academic process are all addressed as plays within the QEP design.