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What is a QEP?
The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is the component of the reaffirmation process that reflects and affirms the commitment of the Commission on Colleges to enhancing the quality of higher education in the region and to focusing attention on student learning. The QEP describes a carefully designed course of action that addresses a well-defined and focused topic or issue related to enhancing student learning and/or the environment supporting student learning and accomplishing the mission of the institution. The QEP should be embedded within the institution’s ongoing integrated institution-wide planning and evaluation process and may very well evolve from this existing process or from other processes related to the institution’s internal reaffirmation review.

Why is the QEP important to Blinn College?
The QEP and its development present Blinn with an opportunity to enhance the overall institutional quality and effectiveness by focusing on a single key issue – first-year student success. Colleges throughout the nation undergo the QEP process to develop an important element of their institutional mission, and the development and implementation of Blinn’s QEP is an important element of its Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges reaffirmation effort.

What is Blinn’s QEP?
Blinn’s QEP is titled Destination Success: First-Year Focus, and is designed to help first-year college students make the transition from high school to college coursework. To do this we will create learning communities, which research has shown increases students’ learning outcomes and retention rate.

How did Blinn develop its QEP topic?
On Aug. 20, 2013, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Enrollment Management Joe Baumann presented three potential QEP topics during the faculty and instructional staff meeting. The Office of Institutional Effectiveness distributed a survey to all employees summarizing the topics and requesting input on which topic would have the greatest impact for Blinn College and its students. After compiling the survey data, it was announced that faculty and staff had chosen “Student Success in the First Year.”

How will the learning communities be formed?
In creating these learning communities, we have identified four courses with high first-year student enrollment but success rates below the College average – BIOL 1406, MATH 1324, HIST 1301 and ENGL 1301. Beginning in Fall 2015, first-year students will be placed in learning communities in which they will take two of these courses, plus a college success course, as part of a single cohort. These learning communities will include interaction among students, faculty and staff to enhance the learning experience.

What will be included in the college success course?
The college success course, EDUC 0100: Journey to Success, is a one-hour, non-credit course similar to the EDUC 1300 course Blinn has taught for many years. EDUC 0100 will include but is not limited to:

  • Keys to Success
  • On Course Self-Assessment
  • Academic Action Plan
  • Support Resources
  • Accepting Personal Responsibility
  • Discovering Self-Motivation
  • Adopting Lifelong Learning
  • Avoiding Test Anxiety
  • Staying On Course to Your Success

When will the Destination Success learning communities be implemented?
Learning communities will begin with a pilot program in Fall 2015. That semester, the College will create approximately a dozen learning communities consisting of first-time college students with no declared major. At least one learning community will be created on each of Blinn’s four campuses, and each learning community will have no more than 35 students. The College then plans to steadily grow the program, with all first-time college students enrolling in learning communities by the end of the 2018-19 academic year.