Team to Evaluate College Community’s Knowledge of QEP

February 23, 2007

The topic has been thoroughly discussed and approved by faculty, the President’s Advisory Team, and the President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusive Community (PCDIC). A detailed plan that gives it shape and context has been developed and approved by the same bodies. At the end of January, the resulting 66-page document was completed, approved, and submitted to Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). It’s the QEP, or Quality Enhancement Plan — a necessary element in gaining reaffirmation of our accreditation and, more importantly, a college-wide initiative that draws on Mary Baldwin’s core values and historic strengths to enhance the value of a Mary Baldwin education, for students and for the world.

A SACS visiting team was on campus and at regional centers in Roanoke and Charlottesville March 5–8 to ensure that Mary Baldwin is in compliance with the organization’s requirements. Part of its role was to assess the QEP. Members may have stopped faculty, staff, or students at random to ask questions about the QEP and evaluate our support and knowledge of the plan. A final announcement of Mary Baldwin’s reaffirmation status is expected in December 2007.

Lael Adams '08 works with school children in Daharmsala, IndiaThe written plan is hefty and detailed, but the essential elements of the plan can be laid out relatively simply. In a nutshell, the QEP, Learning for Civic Engagement in a Global Context, aims at preparing students for purposeful participation in their local community and their nation, and as global citizens. (The plan can be read or downloaded at go.marybaldwin.edu/strategic_plan/index.asp ; look for the link under “2006–2007.”) There are three main strategies the college will use to achieve the outcomes we believe are important:

Civic engagement in all disciplines and majors:Each discipline that grants a major will identify specific civic engagement components that are appropriate to the major. One option is to offer a non-credit bearing civic engagement learning contract, which would work much like an honors contract. Or, internships or capstone projects could have significant civic engagement elements. Faculty will also have the option of revising existing courses or developing new courses.

Benazir Bhutto delivers her leadership addressAnnual college-wide theme:Next year the college will pilot the use of a yearly topic to better establish the link between the local and the global perspectives on public life. The theme for 2007–08, proposed by PCDI and approved by faculty in January, will be “voices.” The theme will be woven into Mary Baldwin 101 — the introductory course for first-year students — and addressed college-wide in courses and extracurricular courses. In
future years, the faculty’s Educational Policy Committee will propose the theme.

A Center for Civic and Global Engagement:This center will enhance the educational program by facilitating civic engagement in a global context. Beginning in fall 2007, it will create a physical center on campus, located in Wenger Hall where offices for Computer and Information Systems are currently housed. Professional staff at the Center will promote and support the functions of community service and study abroad as well assist in recruitment and support of international students.

“We are a community with a deep spirit of place committed to liberal education and leadership. We are historically a women’s college whose foundation lies in service to and a high regard for connections with others. We are one of the most diverse colleges in America, with a steadfast allegiance to academic excellence and inclusive community. We are a college within the unique community of Staunton in the heart of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. And, like all communities, we are increasingly aware of our global interdependence and of the fragile nature of the connections that bind us.”— Quality Enhancement Plan, p. 15