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The information below is historical information regarding the creation of the University's 2016 Quality Enhancement Plan for our Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accreditation. For more up-to-date information about what is going on related to this QEP, please visit the Office of Undergraduate Research and Inquiry, which was created in response to the QEP initiatives.

The University of Tampa is required to select, create and implement a QEP as part of our Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) re-affirmation process. Being regionally accredited allows students to qualify for federal financial aid, to transfer classes and credits between institutions, and certifies that we are a competent and qualified institution of higher learning.

The QEP was submitted in late Fall 2014. A site visit to review all of our documentation and to further discuss and detail the QEP was on Feb. 9-11, 2015.

The QEP development process has been going on since Spring 2013. We have solicited ideas and input from all interested faculty and staff groups. We have chosen the theme of inquiry through experiential education – enhancing internships and undergraduate research opportunities.

UT will be dedicating $1.2 million per year to fund inquiry-based activities.

By definition, a QEP must either address student learning by focusing on specific student learning outcomes OR improve student learning environments. Our proposal does both.

What is the QEP theme?

Inquiry. The QEP will address student learning based upon improving...
Inquiry. The QEP will address student learning based upon improving student skills in the areas of critical thinking, discipline-based knowledge and skills, and written and oral communication. This will be done via focused experiential activities that teach the student the practical skills related to their field. The activities will be class-, research- and internship-based.

What is the model?

A three-tier approach with introductions and exposure to...
A three-tier approach with introductions and exposure to inquiry as defined above. Starting in year one, the goal is to inspire, provide a foundation and fire up interest in first-year students for inquiry-based explorations.

At the second tier, students will learn discipline-based skills through existing courses, modified courses or new courses in the major. Skills may include information/reference searching, quantitative literacy, work techniques, creative thinking or problem-solving.

At the top tier, students will produce/create/construct a project applying the skills they have acquired OR engage in a project- or problem-focused internship. This project may be undergraduate research, an enhanced internship report, a recital or show of work, or some relevant end point creation. The internships may be multi-disciplinary and will involve faculty-mentored student solutions to real-world activities. These projects and internships would be showcased in dedicated days, set aside by college, to allow students to show their work.

At the bottom tier, we engage a large number of first-year students (400-425 across 20 sections) through first year class modules. These will be designed to stimulate interest in inquiry-based learning through exposure to inquiry-focused activities such as UG research or internships, including participation in events that showcase culminating projects, and may also include a general inquiry-based seminar.

At the middle tier, students will take courses in their major where they learn skills related to inquiry in their discipline, whether these be stats classes, in-field practica, musical instrument techniques or science labs.

At the top tier, select junior and senior students will apply for inquiry-based educational experiences that would culminate in a presentation (or recital, etc.) to the UT community. The project will be student-driven and faculty mentored: students will identify skills they will apply to a discipline-specific outcome. These will have faculty mentoring and would result in a final product that the student would publicly share. Examples could include a poster presentation based upon a research project, a summary of an internship with skills acquired or a work of art.