QEP Executive Summary

Chapter 1:  Executive Summary

How and why did we select the QEP topic?
More than two years ago, Wallace State began an ongoing discourse about student learning on our campus. Through initial conversations among students, faculty, administration, and staff, as well as community stakeholders, several possible topics for improving student learning emerged. The most significant finding was that students need earlier and stronger preparation to succeed in their college journeys.   In particular, the QEP will focus on three identified areas:  technology skills, advising, and career planning. Based upon these areas of concentration, the QEP Team envisions full implementation of our QEP initiative: “GPS (Goals -- Planning -- Success): Navigate Your Future!” 

What will we do?
Over the next five years, we will transform the freshman experience at Wallace State Community College. The major strategic initiatives of our QEP include a) development of a Freshman Seminar course to provide students with much-needed technology skills and support, along with career/major field research, reflection, and intensive advising to help students successfully navigate their journeys through WSCC and beyond; and b) deepening and broadening student learning through writing, reflection, and creation of GPS Portfolios, electronic portfolios that will be artifacts of students’ learning experiences and personal growth. 

The College will support these initiatives by providing faculty, staff, technology resources, and physical space.  

Our initiative strongly aligns with WSCC’s Mission Statement: “Wallace State Community College is committed to learning that transforms lives and communities.” The GPS Seminar and the GPS Portfolio have tremendous transformational possibilities for WSCC students.

What are the desired student learning objectives and goals?
We have designed the WSCC QEP to achieve the criteria set forth in Wallace State’s 2012-2017 Strategic Plan: Readiness³ - “Ready for College. Ready for Work. Ready for Life.” We will address the following aspects within “GPS: Goals, Planning, Success”: 

Goals: Students will complete GPS Seminar successfully and will develop technology skills as evidenced by their GPS Portfolios. We want students to emerge from GPS Seminar with a clear vision of where they want to go and with the technology skills to guide them down their educational and career paths.   

Planning: Students, along with their advisors, will develop plans for programs of study and will map out their educational and career goals. As a part of GPS Seminar, advising will occur more frequently than it does in our current model and will be mandatory throughout the semester in which students are enrolled in the course. Students will be required to establish early contact with their advisors, both their official faculty advisors and their GPS advisors, so that they can work together to develop a strong plan of study. Students in GPS Seminar will learn to use Degree Works, an electronic planning tool found within their MyWallaceState accounts. Through Degree Works, students will be able to plan their future coursework with intentionality and a clearer vision of the paths that lie ahead for them. Students will plan and complete their GPS Portfolios, which will document their experiences along the way to their chosen destinations.  

Success: When students reach the end of GPS Seminar, they will have explored potential careers, mapped out a plan to achieve their educational goals, and documented their learning through the GPS Portfolio.   

The QEP is based upon the following GPS Learning Outcomes:

  1. Students will develop plans of study that map their educational and career goals at Wallace State.  
  2. Students will describe their learning journeys through reflective writing and signature assignments (to include evidence of diversity experiences, career exploration, and planning for educational and personal growth). 
  3. Students will demonstrate technology skills required to complete research and documentation. 
  4. Students will demonstrate correct and coherent reflective writing.

In order to assess these outcomes, Wallace State will use a variety of direct and indirect assessment methodologies. These multifaceted assessments will help us to define the success of our QEP. The WSCC QEP Executive Committee will oversee the progress of the QEP throughout the entire QEP process.  

What impact will the QEP have?
Once the QEP implementation begins, the impact upon student learning will be immediate. As the first phase of the QEP begins, we will focus upon improving students’ technology skills, offering them more structured and frequent advising experiences, and promoting active learning experiences in which students will have the opportunity to explore career and major options. Students’ GPS Portfolios will serve as significant records of their learning experiences. As the implementation progresses, we anticipate that students will be more prepared to navigate both traditional and online courses, as well as to make more informed decisions regarding their course selections and career pathways.