The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Senate briefed on Quality Enhancement Plan

Administration taking ideas from university community

As part of SMU’s 10-year cycle of re-accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, a new required component has presented a unique opportunity for improvement.

During the 2009-2010 academic year, SMU will solicit ideas from all members of the university community and put together a proposal, known as a Quality Enhancement Plan, to better SMU in a fundamental way. The goal is ultimately to improve students’ academic experiences and to make SMU more attractive to incoming students.

In an address to the student senate Tuesday afternoon, Associate Provost Ellen Pryor and John Kalb, director of the Office of Institutional Research, explained the broad concepts of the new initiative.

Pryor and Kalb, who will direct the QEP and re-accreditation efforts, want students to consider parts of the university they would like to see develop more. Examples include: opportunities for undergraduate research, service-learning, global literacy and peer advising. It is possible that multiple areas may be targeted and placed under a broad theme or title.

“The QEP is something new that we get to do in the future, rather than something we will prove we’ve already done to satisfy facets of the re-accreditation process,” Pryor said.

“This should be of great interest to the student body as a whole,” she said.

At the University of Virginia, which has recently completed the re-accreditation process, a Quality Enhancement Plan focused on fostering relationships between students and faculty through public service, and by working together on groundbreaking research.

Several Texas schools, including Rice University, the University of Houston, the University of Texas at Dallas and Baylor University, have all issued similar plans.

Essentially, the QEP provides a means for SMU students to give feedback that will improve the institution for future classes, as well as expand its prestige. As a top-tier institution, SMU needs to continually assess its programs, and this re-accreditation requirement means the process should be taken seriously.

This past spring, a committee of students, faculty and staff produced a proposal for sweeping changes to the university curriculum, which will replace the current “General Education Curriculum.”

Pryor said the QEP might provide an avenue through which SMU may usher in changes to the curriculum, taking into account the extensive work that has already been put into assessing the academic experience on the Hilltop. However, Pryor said there does not need to be a direct correlation between the new curriculum and what the QEP addresses.

“We can come up with something entirely new,” she said.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to submit topics the QEP may address through a very brief online form at,

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