Friday, March 12, 2010
SC State University is preparing for a visit from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS COC) on March 29, 2010. During this visit, SACS, which accredits SC State University, will focus on the recently submitted Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) to PUSH Writing for students during their first year of composition studies.
PUSH, which means Preparing Undergraduates for Scholarly Holistic Writing, will dramatically expand the support services available to students taking the freshman year composition sequence. “We are going to PUSH our students to succeed early in their collegiate career, specifically during their freshman year of writing,” says Dr. Joyce Blackwell, vice president of Academic Affairs. “QEP will ensure that they have the writing skills to succeed throughout college and later during their professional careers.”
The PUSH Writing QEP, a requirement of SACS, is also the result of two years of self-study and planning by faculty, students, staff, alumni and local leaders. “Everyone we spoke to agreed that writing is THE crucial skill that students need to develop to succeed in college and afterwards,” says Dr. Thomas Cassidy, professor of English and Modern Languages and chair of the QEP committee. “Students and faculty agreed that students needed more support for their writing. Employers, alumni, staff, and members of the Board of Trustees all told us that college graduates need to be able to write clearly and effectively every day on the job. We listened. This is their topic, their QEP.”
SC State, which currently houses a writing center where students may obtain individual assistance, will add a writing studio. In the writing studio, students meet weekly with a studio leader for help in planning, writing, and revising written work. Additionally, the QEP will create a PUSH Writing website where students may seek information and help with writing. They may also practice with short learning modules created by faculty for students. “Students already have active online lives,” says Dr. Cassidy. “We want to reach them where they live. Because these modules will be created by our faculty for our students, we’ll be able to adjust them according to what students show us they learned or didn’t learn.”
To publicize the QEP, SC State University has several activities planned for the week of March 22, 2010 to March 26, 2010. “We’re going to surround them,” said Ursula Robinson, QEP committee member from the Department of Visual and Performing Arts. “By the end of the week, every student, administrator and community member will know that SC State University’s QEP will PUSH Writing in our students.”
SC State University will not receive the final verdict on the QEP until the annual meeting of the SACS Commission on Colleges in December. “I believe the QEP is an excellent plan that will greatly enhance students’ writing skills and prepare them to thrive academically throughout their years at SC State University,” says President George Cooper. “Furthermore, the QEP on PUSH Writing will ultimately allow us to retain more students.”