College introduces Quality Enhancement PlanBy CALIESHA COMLEY Staff Writer
After two long years of planning,designing, building and restructuring,The Georgetown Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) committee is excited to present their new plan:“Spirit, Mind, Action: Civic Engagementat Georgetown College.”
“Spirit, Mind, Action” is a five-year program, essential to the reaffirmation of SACS (Southern Association of College and Schools) accreditation next April. The plan is designed to create learning experiences that promote academic excellence through service, an amplified understanding of civic responsibility through critical reflection, exploration of spiritual identity and community interaction through collaborative partnerships. All of these are a part of the “civic engagement” element that is fundamental to the QEP.
Civic Engagement appears in two forms as a part of the plan: Curricular Service Learning and Community-Based Experiential Learning.Service Learning is an educational experience where service is integrated into course work and completed for credit. This type of engagement honors the connection between academic goals and service.Community-Based Experiential Learning, on the other hand, is composed of learning opportunities that engage the community, but are not tied to a course, much like volunteerism. Both forms focus on the academic objectives that students meet through service and are able to assess and reflect upon.
After review and approval by SACS, Georgetown students can look forward to the implementation of the “Spirit, Mind, Action” QEP next fall! Curricular Service Learning courses will be offered along with Community-Based Experiential Learning projects. In total, the plans are to introduce five courses or projects, most likely a combination nof the two per academic year.Eventually, the committee hopes to incorporate 10-15 courses and projects per year.
As the QEP committee finalized the blueprints of the “Spirit, Mind,Action” plan, they began reaching out to the community leaders of service oriented organizations in an effort to build partnerships that could eventually be extended to students involved in the courses and projects beginning in the fall of 2012. The QEP Committee has hosted two workshop luncheons within the past six months to meet with prospective community partners to inform them of the new plan. At the first workshop in June 2011,11 organizations, represented by 18 community partners were introduced to Georgetown’s new program.
The QEP committee was excited to welcome six new partners at their second workshop this past October. The recent workshop was an opportunity to learn more about the QEP program, but also for partners to work with the committee to begin planning specific service projects for the upcoming year.
Community partnership is the element that brings both Service and Experiential Learning to life in the Georgetown College educational experience. The QEP Committee is excited to enliven campus next year in collaboration with the following 17 organizations and partners: Georgetown Housing Authority, Georgetown/Scott County Planning Commission, Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice, A.M.E.N. House/ Scott United Ministries, Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center, Scott County Hospitality House, Quest Farm, Georgetown News-Graphic, Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program, Family Resource Center, Western Elementary School; The Montessori Experience, Hope Center, Georgetown/Scott County Museum, International Museum of the Horse, Faith Baptist Church,Children’s Montessori School of Georgetown and Bluegrass Pride.
Though the committee values and promotes the volunteerism and service projects in a breadth of experiences organized across campus,only certain courses and projects that are formally adopted will function as a part of the “Spirit, Mind,Action” plan. However, this in no way is to discourage student contribution and ideas for courses or projects. Students have the exciting opportunity to work with faculty members to propose ideas for existing courses and even Alternative Spring Break projects! These ideas can then be presented to the committee for formal adoption. If you have an idea you would like to propose, collaborate with a faculty member who you think would be interested in helping or contact Chemistry professor and Chair, Dr.Todd Hamilton, who also is the QEP Committee Chair.
The last step of the QEP is to study the impact of service on student learning through surveys, questionnaires,written projects and oral presentations. Through the ongoing study, the committee hopes to continually improve the program and promote civic engagement as an essential part of the educational experience at Georgetown.
In the most recent QEP meeting,Dr. Rosemary Allen offered sincerely,“I really appreciate the work that has been put into this project by faculty, staff, and students over the past two years.” Dr. Allen, another QEP committee member, is proud of the progress that the committee has made and seems excited about the direction in which the “Spirit, Mind,Action” plan is developing.
For more information on the QEP or to see the comprehensive “Spirit,Mind, Action” plan, visit http://wordpress.georgetowncollege.edu/qep.