Quality Enhancement Program

The Quality Enhancement Program (QEP): Global Learning for Engaged Citizenship

Every ten years, every accredited college and university in the country must have its accreditation reaffirmed by its regional accrediting association. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is the accrediting authority of southeastern universities, including KSU.

A major part of re-affirmation of accreditation is the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) required by SACS. This is a relatively new aspect of the re-accreditation process--put into place only four or five years ago--that requires each college or university undergoing re-accreditation to identify and implement an area of operation whose quality will be enhanced. The QEP is a tool for institutional improvement related to student learning and the learning environment. KSU selected "Global Learning for Engaged Citizenship" as the topic and focus of our QEP. Over the next five years, we will expand opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to understand and participate in global affairs. This QEP goal is also a strategic imperative and as such is an integral part of KSU's strategic plan.

Reflecting global developments, the internationalization of KSU has been taking place for more than twenty years. In the 1980s, KSU was among the first in the University System of Georgia to internationalize the general education curriculum and establish an interdisciplinary undergraduate major with an international focus. International faculty and international students, along with study abroad programs, have steadily grown over the years. KSU had more than 1,700 students enrolled from over 130 countries.

KSU's Global Learning for Engaged Citizenship project represents the next stage in the evolution of KSU's internationalization. It brings more focus, structure, coordination, integration, assessment, and substance to the internationalization process. This process is expanding internationalization at home and abroad. At home, we are addressing curricula and programs, the teaching-learning process, a global learning certification program, extracurricular activities and service learning, and connections with local cultural and ethnic groups. Abroad, we are moving more people (faculty, students and staff) and programs, and becoming more involved in a variety of international projects.

Prior to finalization a decision on our QEP project, KSU had the advantage of participating in the American Council on Education's "Global Learning for All" project which involved eight institutions that served high numbers of minority, adult, and part-time students and that provided examples of good practice in setting international learning goals, reviewing internationalization activities, aligning international activities with learning goals, partnering between institutions, and developing strategic internationalization plans that best serve their constituents. With this experience, we then formulated a comprehensive and detailed plan that outlines, among other things, global learning leadership, outcomes, opportunities, specialists, certification, and success defined by the achievement of ten specific goals. We place these ten goals into three categories: tracking progress, expanding opportunities, and expanding participation. These ten goals, along with KSU's entire QEP, may be viewed in their entirety at KSU's website.

The QEP project has a number of distinctive elements. Two of these are its breadth and depth of leadership, and its conscientious attention to continuous measurement and assessment. The university has committed leadership to this internalization project from the president and his cabinet, down to and through each administrative level, including provost, deans, college representatives, a coordinating people, ideas and activities. On the measurement and assessment side, we have created a multi-level digital tracking system. The system tracks administrative responsibilities, various global learning opportunities, participation rates, and global learning specialists.