The University of North Georgia recently implemented the new Quality Enhancement Program, an improved advisement system, to the Dahlonega, Gainesville and Oconee campuses for five degree programs in 2016, and plans to expand it to every program on every UNG campus by fall 2020.
The Quality Enhancement Program will use an advising model which implements mandatory advising with professional advisers for students with up to 40 credit hours. After earning 40 hours, students will go to faculty advisers, and will have mandatory advising checkpoints at 60 and 90 credit hours, according to an frequently asked questions document provided by Denise Young, associate provost for Institutional Effectiveness and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accreditation liaison.
In addition to new advisers, students will receive advising tools: plans of study that can be filled out electronically, degree sequence maps and technology services with targeted advising and student planning, according to the document.
QEP co-chairs Eugene van Sickle and Terri Carroll said the program will help students to develop academic goals, take personal responsibility for developing educational plans, utilize their resources on campus and engage in learning experiences to achieve their goals. The program is a more consistent approach to advisement, they said.
The QEP committee chose to improve academic advising because of the well-known need at UNG for mandatory and student-friendly advising program and tools, Sickle and Carroll also said.
“Prior to consolidation, North Georgia College and State University and Gainesville State College had different models for academic advising, and now that we are UNG there is a need to provide students with a universal model that makes the best use of professional and faculty advisers on all campuses,” Sickle and Carroll said.
The only disadvantage is that the program must be phased in gradually due to limited resources, they said.
The program is being phased in during the summer and fall 2016 semesters for biology, psychology, criminal justice and open option students on the Dahlonega campus and for pre-nursing students on the Dahlonega, Gainesville and Oconee campuses, according to the FAQ document provided by Young. It will expand to more majors and all five campuses by fall 2020, according to the document.
The program is required for reaffirmation of accreditation by the SACSCOC, Young said.
“A QEP describes a course of action for enhancing educational quality that focuses on student learning and/or the environment supporting student learning,” Young said. “The institution must ensure that it has the capacity to implement and sustain the QEP, that a broad base of stakeholders was involved in the process, and that the QEP identifies goals and a plan to assess their achievements.”
All 800 accredited colleges and universities accredited by SACSCOC are required by SACSCOC to develop a QEP, Young said. The timing of the QEP is determined by the time of reaffirmation of accreditation, and UNG is set to be reaffirmed in December 2016.
UNG has already invested resources for new advisers and technology, but additional resources will be needed as the program expands to all majors and campuses, Carroll and Van Sickle said. They did not elaborate on the exact costs of the program.