SACS QEP Development Committee

December 5, 2011
3:00 p.m.
201 OIT Building

Present: Bliss Bailey, Richard Burt (chair), Leonard Lock, Margaret Marshall, Kevin Phelps, Constance Relihan, Bonnie Sanderson, Denise Stoeckel, Aaron Trehub

Absent: Pamela Stamm

Richard Burt distributed the agenda. There being no matters arising from the November 14 meeting, the group proceeded to the next agenda item: the introduction of Dr. Denise Stoeckel, Coordinator of Accreditation Support with the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment. Denise is overseeing the assembly of the SACS compliance certificate. She briefly demonstrated the Xitracs accreditation and compliance management portal and offered to support the work of the development committee, including the writing of the QEP master document. Some committee members suggested that we post the master document to a Wiki, for easier editing; Bliss Bailey will look into setting up a Wiki for that purpose. Margaret Marshall made the point (which Denise confirmed) that we can use the QEP exploratory document to fill in the appropriate sections in the master document.

The group discussed the timeline for the production of the master document. Richard and Margaret emphasized the need to distinguish between that timeline and the timeline for the actual implementation of the QEP. The deadline for submission of the master document is September 1, 2012, while the recommended QEP implementation plan and timeline will be embedded in the master document itself. There will be time for presentation to the faculty (presumably at or through the faculty senate), discussion, comments, and final approval for implementation before the SACS review in March 2013. On the question of scheduling, Richard referred the committee members to an early master document timeline in spreadsheet form, with nine general task headings. He said that he would post the timeline to the committee's Sharepoint site and asked the members to supply more-detailed items under the appropriate headings, with suggested completion dates.

The discussion moved on to questions of process—what one committee member called “chicken and egg questions”. These included whether to issue a call for pilot projects as part of putting together the master document, whether to conduct a survey to determine levels of interest in e-portfolios across the colleges and departments, identifying crucial elements for the e-portfolio support infrastructure, publicizing the committee's work to the faculty (one of the requirements in the accreditation process and therefore a must-do item), how to integrate ongoing e-portfolio projects at Auburn into a larger campus-wide initiative without derailing the former or constraining the latter, evaluating and recommending an e-portfolio software package, and inviting external e-portfolio experts to campus to meet with the development committee and with Auburn faculty members.

On the question of whether and when to solicit pilot projects, the group seemed to favor identifying likely units or programs in the master document and then putting out a call for pilots once that document has been reviewed and approved for implementation. There was a lively discussion about infrastructure and software, resulting in general agreement about the need to recommend the hiring of a full-time e-portfolio coordinator (Margaret offered to draft a sample job description for this position) and additional staff members in various supporting units (e.g. the Media and Digital Resource Lab in RBD Library). Here it was suggested that the process that led to the establishment of the Writing Program could serve as a model for the QEP implementation plan. As for e-portfolio software, the consensus was that it would be best to offer central support for one or (at most) two “mainstream” packages while allowing individual units to opt for other packages, with the understanding that those units would then be responsible for training, maintenance (including annual software maintenance fees), and support. Bliss and Aaron Trehub offered to review the leading commercial and open-source packages and report back to the committee on their findings.

The group talked about inviting Bret Eynon, the assistant dean for teaching and learning at LaGuardia Community College/CUNY and a recognized expert on e-portfolios, to campus. Despite Dr. Eynon's excellent reputation in the field and his avowed interest in visiting Auburn (as expressed in conversations with Margaret and Aaron at the November 2011 AAEEBL conference at Virginia Tech), committee members expressed a concern that some Auburn faculty might skip his presentation in the (mistaken) belief that his experience at a community college would be of limited applicability to a large land-grant university. For that reason, the group decided that it would be best to pair Dr. Eynon with an e-portfolio specialist from a peer institution. Margaret said that Dr. Kathleen Yancey of Florida State University would be an excellent presenter and external evaluator. Richard and Denise will contact Dr. Yancey and Dr. Eynon to determine their availability for a visit in the early spring of 2012. Bonnie Sanderson made the point that Dr. Eynon and Dr. Yancey can help the development committee fulfill its charge and meet the deadline for producing the master document.

The group concluded the meeting by reviewing the definitions for career portfolios (Richard), learning portfolios (Pamela Stamm), assessment portfolios (Lenny), critical thinking (Aaron), co-curricular (Bliss), and reflection (Bonnie). The committee members will provide a synthesized definition for each of these terms, incorporating common elements that occur across multiple definitions. They will also provide references and supporting documentation for the literature review section of the master document.

The meeting adjourned at approximately 4:40 p.m. The next two committee meetings are scheduled for January 9 and January 23, 2012, in the OIT building.

Last Updated: Dec. 26, 2012

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