March 11, 2013 (from President Richard V. Hurley)
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
Welcome back! I wanted to update you briefly on some important upcoming events related to the reaffirmation of our accreditation.
The University is in the midst of its 10-year review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC). Over the past three years we have engaged in a comprehensive analysis of virtually every aspect of University operations and have filed the required reports to demonstrate our compliance with the expectations of the Federal Government and the regional accrediting body. We are now preparing for the next step—an on-campus visit by a ten-member team of our peers from institutions throughout the Southern region. This visit is scheduled for April 15-17th and I look forward to welcoming them to our University.
A central aspect of the on-campus visit is a thorough evaluation of the acceptability of UMW’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)—“UMW’s First Year Seminar: Research, Write, Speak.” Our proposed QEP is designed to enhance the quality of the First Year Seminar, a fundamental part of our General Education Curriculum. Because research has shown that the first year can make a real difference in whether students are motivated and prepared to persist and complete a UMW degree we concluded that our QEP must focus on better supporting the students and faculty who are engaged in meeting this requirement. The QEP proposes to develop online learning modules and instructional support to reinforce the essential learning outcomes that are part of all first year seminars: research, writing, and speaking. The online modules are designed to be explored outside of class time. That means student learning in these three key areas may be enhanced without taking away precious class time from discussion on seminar topics.
In the coming days and weeks, you’ll see signs on campus of our commitment to and enthusiasm for this important academic undertaking as we prepare to showcase the QEP during the April accreditation visit. This plan is the work of many people who labored diligently over the past three years to produce a thorough QEP project report. If you haven’t yet had the chance to review our plan, I encourage you to read it at www.umw.edu/qep. And though I recognize that for many, this QEP will have little relationship to your UMW experience, we all benefit when we invest in UMW’s future by creating the conditions for tomorrow’s students to succeed.
Richard V. Hurley, President