LEXINGTON, Kentucky (March 3, 2022) — The University of Kentucky Eli Capilouto sent a message to the campus community announcing the UK’s Quality Improvement Plan on Thursday, March 3, 2022. You can read that message below.
Key points to remember
- Every 10 years we seek confirmation from the UK’s accrediting body – the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). We announce our Quality Improvement Plan (QEP) – an important part of the reaccreditation process.
- Our QEP focuses on what we call Transdisciplinary Educational Approaches to Moving Kentucky Forward (TEK).
- The idea is to apply an enterprise-wide transdisciplinary approach to solving problems related to student learning and achievement; this approach – when we bring together several experts from our campus as a team – has been successful in our research enterprise.
- Going forward, we will use TEK to leverage our on-campus experts to drive educational progress and student success.
How can we demonstrate that we are a campus resolutely focused on learning and student success? This is the objective behind the development of a quality improvement plan (QIP).
A QEP – which is a required feature of our efforts to seek reaffirmation or reaccreditation as a university – is a campus-wide initiative that underscores an institution’s commitment to learning outcomes.
A dedicated team of professionals has been working on potential ideas for a QEP for months (you can read more about this process below).
They surveyed campus, gathered feedback from faculty leaders, and discussed several compelling ideas for QEP initiatives. Based on these comments and feedback, we are ready to move forward with an initiative:
Our QEP will focus on transdisciplinary educational approaches to move Kentucky forward (TEK).
It’s a big name for a big approach.
In research, we often use the idea of working across and among disciplines and fields – what are often called multidisciplinary approaches – to ask and examine big questions. In such an approach, as Acting Provost Bob DiPaola often says, people come together to collaborate after a lot of planning has already been done.
A transdisciplinary approach, on the other hand, is more powerful. It’s about meeting early by identifying the key issues first. A shared conceptual framework is used to create new approaches to solving a common problem. For example, a critical question to consider might be to focus on what is needed in Kentucky to create a more competitive workforce.
Ideally, this approach is more collaborative, encompasses the expertise of our campus – staff, students, and faculty – and includes experts from our alumni and community from the start of a process.
We’ve used this approach to dramatically increase research funding in recent years around some of the biggest challenges facing our state and our world – cancer, heart disease, and opioid abuse, among others. Think about what might be possible if we applied such an approach—experts coming together early around common goals and approaches—to student learning, achievement, and success for our state.
By using what Acting Provost DiPaola calls the 3 Es – experts, evidence and experience, which we have in abundance – we are better positioned than most to apply this new approach to existing challenges related to student learning.
We can act thoughtfully and creatively to create impactful programs that can be incorporated into our community-wide research and service efforts. Additionally, we can help students learn and reflect on real-world issues or themes with a transdisciplinary approach. In doing so, we better prepare them for lives of meaning and purpose – the idea at the heart of everything we do in the UK.
The development and implementation of a QEP is an important part of the steady progress we have made in our reaffirmation efforts.
Reaffirming the SACSCOC accreditation process – which will culminate in 2023 – is a priority. Accreditation guarantees our eligibility for federal grants and contracts as well as student financial aid funds.
The QEP is a mandatory element of the reaffirmation plan. This underscores the idea that we are building an environment across our campus that supports student learning and success in everything we do. We all play an important role in this work.
I am delighted with this effort and what it will mean for our students and their success in the UK and beyond our campus. Thank you for all you do to make such a commitment to students possible.