Academic Insight Office of the Provost

Insight Lab

Insight Lab

As part of the SACSCOC reaffirmation process, a QEP, or Quality Enhancement Plan,1 is a mechanism through which the university identifies and addresses an area for improvement. A QEP must meet the following criteria:
  • have a topic identified through its ongoing, comprehensive planning and evaluation processes
  • have broad-based support of institutional constituencies
  • focus on improving specific student learning outcomes and/or student success
  • commit resources to initiate, implement, and complete the QEP
  • include a plan to assess achievement.

The QEP is required by SACSCOC during the accreditation reaffirmation process.2 Accreditation by SACSCOC is a statement of the institution’s continuing commitment to quality and integrity as well as its capacity to provide effective programs and services based on agreed-upon accreditation standards. It seeks to ensure constituents and the public that the quality and integrity of higher educational institutions meet acceptable levels of quality.
When accreditation is awarded to an institution of higher education by SACSCOC, an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE), it means that the institution has:
  • a mission appropriate to higher education,
  • resources, programs, and services sufficient to accomplish and sustain its mission,
  • clearly specified educational objectives that are consistent with its mission and appropriate to the degrees it offers, and that it is
  • successful in assessing its achievement of these objectives and demonstrating improvements.

Occurring every 10 years, the QEP, as part of the reaffirmation process, is an opportunity for Auburn University to make tangible and substantial improvements to student outcomes.

Auburn’s current QEP, known as AUBURNACHIEVE, reflects key elements of Auburn’s 2019-2024 Strategic Plan that places a considerable emphasis on student career outcomes. AUBURNACHIEVE will take advantage of the unique differences that exist across academic departments, colleges, and offices by allowing campus engagement and first-destination outcome data to inform unit-specific improvement strategies that will translate into stronger first-destination outcomes for Auburn graduates.
This QEP’s focus on improving first destination outcomes arose from broad support in Auburn’s Strategic Planning process, and was further refined through the work of a QEP Task Force composed of faculty, staff, and students during the 2020-2021 academic year. In order to feasibly utilize Auburn’s extensive first destination data as part of the QEP, the Task Force recommended:
  • The use of first destination outcome data to inform outreach (from Office of Career Success, Colleges, Alumni Affairs, etc.) to recent graduates.
  • The creation of an “Insight Lab,” staffed by educational researchers, that can analyze student data and communicate findings to the appropriate internal audience(s).
  • The establishment of a QEP Advisory Council, with representatives from each academic college.
An Implementation Committee continued the work of the QEP Task Force throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, identifying objectives and selecting the name AUBURNACHIEVE for the initiative.

Spring 2022
  • Assemble a QEP Advisory Committee and Community of Practice.
  • Introduce BRIGHT IDEA Seed Grant opportunity to all academic and support units and encourage participation.
  • Disseminate academic effectiveness data (FDS, CEES, etc.) to colleges.
Summer 2022
  • Receive and review BRIGHT IDEA Seed Grant Proposals.
  • Continue disseminating academic effectiveness data (FDS, CEES, etc.) to colleges.
  • Introduce AUBURNACHIEVE and career planning information to incoming students through Connecting the Creed (incoming Freshman class).
Fall 2022
  • Prepare campus community for SACSCOC on-site review.
  • Receive, review, and implement BRIGHT IDEA Seed Grant projects.
  • Continue disseminating academic effectiveness data (FDS, CEES, etc.) to colleges.
Spring 2023
  • Send initial report sent to SACSCOC.
  • Host SACSCOC onsite review.
  • Receive, review, and implement BRIGHT IDEA Seed Grant projects.
Summer 2023
  • Receive, review, and implement BRIGHT IDEA Seed Grant projects.
  • Introduce AUBURNACHIEVE and career planning information to incoming students through Connecting the Creed (incoming Freshman class).
  • Begin to collect “articulation” artifacts (such as, personal statement) from graduating seniors within Creed to Succeed – University Graduation (C2S).

In fall 2021 the Office of Academic Insight, OAI, established the institution’s first Insight Lab. Staffed by educational researchers, the lab will facilitate applied research designed to help the campus community better understand student achievement and career success.

Academic effectiveness data refers to data that show how curricular or co-curricular experiences may contribute to the student learning and/or success outcomes. At Auburn, some examples of academic effectiveness data include:
  • Campus Engagement and Experience Survey (CEES) – administered to graduating students through Creed to Succeed-University Graduation, the CEES collects information about high-impact practices (internships, co-op, undergraduate research, etc.) and other aspects of a student’s curricular and co-curricular experiences.
  • First Destination Survey (FDS) – administered to graduating students through Creed to Succeed-University Graduation, the FDS captures career outcome data (employment, continuing education, etc.) and associated variables (salary, employer, graduate school, program, etc.).
  • Student Core Outcomes and Readiness Evaluation (SCORE) – administered to students prior to their first semester and during their last semester at Auburn, the SCORE measures Auburn University’s nine (9) student learning outcomes associated with the Core Curriculum.
  • National Alumni Career Mobility Survey (NACM) – administered at 5 and 10 years after graduation, the NACM seeks career satisfaction and insights from college and university alumni. This data will be used to help our institution better understand the professional pathways of our graduates and prepare future alumni for continued and improved career success.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) identifies several possible outcomes for students after finishing an undergraduate degree program. These categories are used by academic institutions nationwide to collect and report on student career outcomes. The NACE outcome categories are:
  • Employed Full Time
  • Employed Part Time
  • Volunteer Service
  • Military Service
  • Continuing Education
  • Seeking Employment
  • Seeking Continuing Education
  • Not Seeking
  • No Information Available

A holistic approach to advancing student achievement is essential. This means creating a consolidated and coherent set of programs and activities for students that span their time at Auburn University, from orientation to graduation. Academic accomplishment is not just driven by intellectual ability. Many other factors impact student achievement, after graduation. Students must be encouraged and mentored through their programs. Career counseling and academic advising must be elevated as part of the student experience.
To this end, Auburn University created the Achievement Framework. That is,
 
Achievement = (Academics + Activities)Articulation
 
Though “Articulation” be but small, it is powerful. Quite literally, Auburn believes that student achievement is powered by a student’s ability to effectively express their learning and experiences both in and out of the classroom (academics and activities, respectively). This means providing students with high quality curricular experiences, engaging students in activities that support their learning, and teaching them how to articulate their knowledge/skills and experience to future employers and graduate schools.

The AUBURNACHIEVE BRIGHT IDEA rolling seed grant opportunity is designed to provide units, from any level of the institution, with analytical support and initial funding to implement a data-informed project or intervention strategy. Each project should be aimed at elevating the Auburn University student experience and enabling educational programs, departments, colleges, and support units to be more strategic in preparing students for post-Auburn careers. More specifically, a BRIGHT IDEA proposal should focus specifically on achieving an overall goal of increasing student first destination outcome success. More information can be found on the Insight Lab website.

There are several ways in which units can engage with the QEP:
  • Attend an AUBURNACHIEVE Info Session. During these sessions, Office of Academic Insight staff will explain the steps for submitting a project proposal aligned with the objectives of the QEP.
  • Submit a BRIGHT IDEA seed grant proposal. Received on a rolling basis, these grants are designed to provide units, from any level of the institution, with analytical support and initial funding to implement a data-informed project or intervention strategy. A BRIGHT IDEA proposal should focus specifically on achieving an overall goal of increasing student first destination outcome success.
  • Contact the Office of Academic Insight. See this page for a full list of OAI staff members.
  • mailto:assess1@auburn.edu AUBURNACHIEVE Advisory Council Member. The advisory council includes one member from each college. See below to find the contact for your college.

Units from any level of the institution are welcome to submit BRIGHT IDEA seed grant proposals and otherwise engage with the AUBURNACHIEVE. Proposals may concern career outcomes from a program, department, college, or university perspective and may also be submitted by central units not residing within a particular college.

Nominated by each college’s dean’s office, the advisory council is composed of the following faculty representatives from each college:
  • Amy Wright, Chair, College of Agriculture
  • Brenden Higgins, College of Agriculture
  • Tom Leathem, College of Architecture, Design and Construction
  • Jonathan Stanley, Raymond J. Harbert College of Business
  • Margaret Flores, College of Education
  • Robbie Barnes, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering
  • Todd Franks, College of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
  • David Martin, College of Human Sciences
  • Tom Lockhart, College of Liberal Arts
  • Kelley Noll, College of Nursing
  • Murali Dhanasekaran, Harrison College of Pharmacy
  • Robert Boyd, College of Sciences and Mathematics
  • Kelley Steury, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Maria Witte, Graduate School

In direct alignment with Auburn University’s 2019-2024 Strategic Plan, a key aim of AUBURNACHIEVE is to ensure that our students are highly sought by industry, government, non-profits, and academia. Therefore, Auburn University has specified two broad institutional goals to guide activities connected to AUBURNACHIEVE.
 
Institutional Goal 1: Use a data-informed approach to elevate the Auburn University student experience and enable educational programs, departments, colleges, and support units to be more strategic in preparing students for post-Auburn careers.
 
Institutional Goal 2: Introduce students to career-readiness competencies and early career planning tools at the outset of their college career.
 
Additionally, OAI has defined more specific and measurable success and learning outcomes:
 
Success Outcome 1 (Quantity): Increase first destination outcome success for students graduating from Auburn.
  1. Students will be academically prepared to pursue continuing and professional education.
    • Measured by the percent of students that are successfully enrolled in continuing/professional education at graduation and within six-months of graduation.
    • Measured via self-report survey embedded in Creed to Succeed (C2S).
  2. Students will be prepared for their first destination employment opportunity.
    • Measured by the percent of students that are successfully employed (full-time, part-time, military, volunteer) at-graduation and within six-months of graduation.
    • Measured via self-report survey embedded in C2S.
Success Outcome 2 (Quality): Increase first destination outcome quality for students graduating from Auburn.
  1. Students will be satisfied with their first destination outcome.
    • Measured via self-report survey with questions about: Location satisfaction, compensation, work culture, balance, etc.
  2. Students will place into high quality careers.
    • Measured by an increase in one or more of the following: Alignment to major, multiple offers of employment/continuing education opportunities, employer/organization, offers of assistantship, etc.
Learning Outcome: Students will be able to explain the relevance of their academic and co-curricular experiences.

For questions about the QEP, please contact these OAI staff members:
 
Dr. Katie Boyd, Director – Academic Insight/ AUBURNACHIEVE, kbb0035@auburn.edu, (334) 844-6875
 
Dr. Rachel Whitman Rotch, Senior Analyst – Education Research, rlw0049@auburn.edu, (334) 844-3253
 
Dr. Charlie Wilder, Senior Analyst – Education Research, cww0035@auburn.edu, (334) 844-5430

Resources