History of the UNTHSC QEP

The University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) was developed through a broadly inclusive and collaborative effort during 2008 and 2009 for SACS review in 2010. The goal of the QEP is to improve student learning outcomes with regard to specific courses as identified by each school by advancing student and faculty understanding and use of higher order learning as identified in Bloom’s taxonomy.

The UNTHSC began its work for developing the QEP for submission to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools-Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) in December 2007 with the naming of the QEP Planning Team by President Scott Ransom. The 17-member team, charged with helping to identify the topic and recommend proposals for final development, included faculty, staff, students, and alumni with administrative support from the Office of Strategy and Measurement.

The multi-step process used to identify a topic for the UNTHSC QEP included a set of activities designed to be broadly inclusive while ensuring: (1) full participation of all campus stakeholders and (2) identification of significant topics consistent with the mission, vision, and strategic plan for UNTHSC.

Identification of the QEP Topic

To develop the initial focus for the QEP, the QEP Planning Team conducted an institution-wide survey, asking UNTHSC faculty, staff and students to identify QEP themes that would improve student-learning outcomes. Members of the QEP Planning Team met with student representatives from the various student associations, faculty, staff, and administrative groups (e.g. Executive Team, Leadership Team, Council of Deans, and Department Chairs) throughout the University to ensure broad stakeholder participation in the identification of the topic. Announcements requesting faculty, staff, and students to identify topics for the QEP were in the Daily News and shared through emails. For convenience, individuals submitted theme suggestions electronically to an e-mail address, QEP@hsc.unt.edu.

The QEP Planning Team received and reviewed thirty-six suggestions. The QEP Planning Team then condensed the 36 suggestions into seven macro themes. The themes centered around enhancing the following areas: (1) faculty development for academic teaching and learning, (2) student retention, (3) student leadership skills, (4) critical thinking through use of evidence-based knowledge in research, education and clinical practice, (5) research competencies in all curricula, (6) teaching and learning through the use of technology, and (7) student informatics skills.

The QEP Planning Team subsequently extended an invitation to all faculty, staff, and students to submit rankings of the macro themes via direct email and through announcements in two regularly issued UNTHSC news sources, the Daily News and Campus Connection. The collection and ranking of the themes occurred using Checkbox, an electronic survey tool. Nearly 300 students, faculty, and staff submitted individual rankings. The QEP Planning Team reviewed the submitted rankings resulting in the identification of both critical thinking and faculty teaching as the key topics for the QEP.

Moving from Topic to Proposal

The QEP Planning Team then developed a multi-tiered process to ensure broad participation in developing the topics into proposals for consideration for the QEP. The QEP Planning Team developed and announced a QEP RFA (Request for Applications) for pre-proposals. The guidelines for pre-proposal submissions required that multiple UNTHSC faculty, staff, and students must be involved and discussions of the merits of the project were to occur in several venues such as departmental meetings, committees, and faculty meetings to support inclusion and facilitate collaboration.

Submissions of pre-proposals that were multidisciplinary, cutting across academic programs, and involving several co-investigators were strongly encouraged. Hence, any group of UNTHSC faculty, staff, or students was eligible to submit a pre-proposal with the stipulation that the principal investigator must be faculty or staff.

Using direct e-mail to faculty, students and staff the QEP Planning Team shared information about the RFA process for the QEP. Additionally, the QEP Planning Team made use of posters and The Daily News to promote the QEP. All UNTHSC faculty, staff, and students received the RFA for pre-proposals in April 2008. All pre-proposals were due at the end of May 2008.

The QEP Planning Team received and reviewed nine pre-proposals using a rubric for evaluating the pre-proposals. Five of the nine multidisciplinary pre-proposals that were submitted emerged as most promising in meeting the SACS-mandated criteria for QEPs. The QEP Planning Team recommended that three of the pre-proposals join forces and submit one joint proposal resulting in three proposals for final consideration. The guidelines for full proposals were developed and sent to the three teams. The QEP Planning Team met to assess the three full proposals. Evaluation included ranking the proposal using a five-level scale to indicate how successful it met the guidelines.

The QEP Planning Team met to assess the three full proposals. Evaluation included ranking the proposal using a five-level scale to indicate how successful it met the guidelines. The QEP Planning Team invited Dr. Phil Turner who served as a principal in the development and implementation of the University of North Texas at Denton’s QEP to participate in the final selection of the top proposal(s) to send to the Executive Team. The Executive Team, comprised of the President, Provost and Executive Vice President, Vice Presidents, Deans, and the Chief of Staff, then decided which proposal to select for development into the QEP. In December 2008, the Executive Team announced the selection of the proposal entitled Technological and other Education Advances for Curricular in Health-Health Science Center (TEACH-HSC).

Proposal to QEP Development

The QEP Planning Team met with the writers of the TEACH-HSC proposal in December 2008 to provide feedback from the Executive Team, offer initial guidance, and to share the time line for developing the proposal into a QEP for submission to SACS-COC. The QEP Planning Team continued to meet monthly with the TEACH-HSC Committee to provide continued support and oversight during the development phase.

The TEACH-HSC Committee began meeting weekly to refine its proposal for submission to the SACS-COC. The TEACH-HSC invited the QEP Planning Team to participate in TEACH-HSC Committee meetings to broaden input into proposal development. As it began the refinement process, the Committee returned to the SACS’ document “The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)” as a guide for developing content and format for the proposal. In addition, the committee reviewed several QEP documents from other universities for scope, content, and format guidance.

A preliminary draft of the proposal was completed, circulated, and shared with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and with external constituents serving on the Board of Visitors. The Board of Visitors is comprised of individuals who consult with president, the administration, and the deans of the Schools and colleges on specific projects such as the QEP. In addition, the preliminary draft was shared with two consultants for the project.

The results of the process are a QEP plan that is narrower in focus and the renaming TEACH-HSC to Higher Order Thinking (HOT) plan.


Key Events
September 2010 Individual consultations with QEP Faculty for course redesign and assessment
August 2010 QEP Faculty Retreat
Submit response to On-Site Review Committee recommendations to SACS-COC
July 2010 Complete data analysis of QEP Faculty Survey
QEP Executive Committee review draft of responses to On-Site Review Committee recommendations
June 2010 Collect baseline data on UNTHSC faculty using QEP Faculty Survey
Draft responses to the On-Site Review Committee recommendations
April -May 2010 Review SACS-COC Report of the Reaffirmation Committee
Develop timeline to prepare response to recommendations from the On-Site Review Committee
Pilot QEP Faculty Survey
March 2010 SACS-COC On-Site Visit  
February 2010 Submit QEP document to SACS-COC
Develop QEP Faculty Survey
Campus Wide Marketing Campaign
Release of HOT Topic of the Week Videos and Quiz
Open House for Center for Learning and Development: Home for the QEP
January 2010: Disseminate and review final draft with faculty, students, staff and other key stakeholders
Submit QEP to SACS-COC
November – December 2009: Prepare final draft of QEP
Review draft with consultant
October 2009: Disseminate draft of QEP to all stake holders for review
August – September 2009: Overview of QEP presented to students, faculty, staff, and administration
QEP Faculty Retreat
Collect baseline data on students’ higher order thinking skills
July 2009: Participate in SACS-COC Summer Institute
Phone consultation with External Consultant to review recommendations
June 2009: External consultant reviews QEP draft
Re-focus the TEACH-HSC proposal from critical thinking to higher order thinking
May 2009: Campus stake holders and external consultant review draft of TEACH-HSC proposal
Hire QEP Director
January – April 2009: Develop TEACH-HSC proposal as the QEP
External consultant makes an onsite visit
Conduct search for QEP Director
December 2008: QEP Planning Team meets with TEACH-HSC committee
November 2008: QEP Planning Team reviews submitted proposals and makes recommendation to Executive Team
Executive Team selects TEACH-HSC proposal for submission as the QEP
August – October 2008: Prepare pre-proposal submissions into full proposals for QEP consideration
June – July 2008: Review pre-proposals and develop guidelines for full proposal submission
April – May 2008: Collect pre-proposals
February – March 2008: Campus stake holders submit rankings of QEP macro themes
Campus chooses student critical thinking as topic for QEP
QEP Planning Team requests pre-proposals based on one or both of QEP themes
January – February 2008: QEP Planning Team develops timeline
Collects topic suggestions, and merge topics into macro themes
December 2007: Naming of QEP Planning Team
QEP Planning Team develop process to involve campus stakeholders