Lee uses Quality Enhancement Plan to Integrate Faith and Learning

Lee University has created a new Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission (SACSCOC) as part of the reaffirmation process.

The QEP is a three-step process that includes the unification of the three freshman classes'gateway, benevolence and global perspectives'integrating faith and vocation within every major, and finally utilizing capstone courses as a time students can reflect on what they have learned throughout their time at Lee.

Integrative learning was chosen as the new 10-year plan for Lee.

'Every 10 years we are reevaluated to be accredited as a school through SACSCOC. This is year 10 since the last [reaffirmation QEP], which was critical thinking and the basic focus of this [QEP], is integrative learning'[which is] integrating faith and vocation,' Director of Student Development and QEP Committee Member Jill Welborn said.

According to SACSCOC, 'The Commission on Colleges expects institutions to dedicate themselves to enhance the quality of their programs and services within the context of their resources and capacities and to create an environment in which teaching, public service, research and learning occur, as appropriate to the mission.'

The reaffirmation process is made up of nine steps, one of which includes the University creating a QEP, which will then be reviewed by members of the Committee.

Director of Faculty Development and Chair of the QEP committee said the QEP committee had several topics in mind. However, through much deliberation, the committee narrowed it down to integrative learning and the pathways to faith and vocation.

'What we really want for our students when they graduate is to have the skills they need to do whatever God has planned for them and we do believe that God has a plan for everybody. [Integrative learning] is a way of life'it is a way to live in the world,' Dirksen said.

Dirksen said Lee has always held to the core values of ethical action, redemptive service and global citizenship. These values have been integrated through high impact classes such as freshman seminar, global perspectives and service learning and capstone. However, students have not always thought of these classes as working together.

'The QEP is really built around those high impact practices, and tries to weave them together so they'll all come together as a whole when students are seniors,' Dirksen said. 'We want to [teach] what those core values are [to students, and] show what kind of person we want students to be in the world. We want them to have the skills and the knowledge to be able to do that.'

Dirksen said that they want to make sure that what they are doing comes together for students, so they have a clear understanding that their calling is to bring about the flourishing of the world and to focus on other people's welfare and the welfare of society'not just their own.

Chair of the Department of Music and QEP Committee Member Linda Thompson said that through the new QEP plan, she hoped students would become more curious about how everything connects and that they are all challenged to think more deeply on the content of their courses. Whether sitting in a course or teaching a course, how does that really bolster ideas and experiences related to development of faith?

'[Students] might better understand the connections we can make between our academic knowledge and see how knowledge isn't at odds with faith and vocation," Thompson said. "Knowledge, faith and vocation are highly connected."

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