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Okefenokee Technical College Faculty & Staff Announce QEP

For several months, while Okefenokee Technical College faculty and staff finalized the fundamental strategies of the plan, OTC students hypothesized about the meaning of the acronym QEP. Signs and posters around campus stating, “The QEP Is Coming,” initiated a lot of interest and speculation. Most students referred to “it” as “Quep.” Some said QEP might mean “Quick and Easy Plan.” Others wondered if it was a new form of financial aid or contagious disease.

OTC students finally learned the true meaning of QEP in March. Flyers and e-mails informed them of an upcoming event to launch the QEP logo. On March 26 (Waycross campus) and March 27 (Alma campus) the QEP Logo Reveal and Kickoff event took place. Students were asked to stand near Carswell Avenue, on one side of the OTC commercial truck driving tractor and trailer. OTC President Dr. Glenn Deibert led students in a “Move That Truck” chant, inspired by the Extreme Makeover Home Edition series. When the truck pulled away, there were cheers and smiles as students saw faculty and staff in Ivan costume and a QEP logo banner.

OTC President Dr. Glenn Deibert, along with QEP Steering Committee members Jason Strickland and Cindy Tanner, addressed students briefly to explain the QEP and how it will impact them. Tanner then invited students to visit the student commons area to participate in a number of math activities and get pizza and drinks for lunch.

The QEP (Qualify Enhancement Plan) is a student-centered learning initiative and part of OTC’s reaffirmation of accreditation process established by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), a regional accrediting organization serving the southeastern United States. “Designation as an accredited college assures students access to federal aid and demonstrates that the college meets or exceeds required quality standards for teaching and learning,” said Teresa Allen, director of institutional effectiveness and OTC’s SACSCOC liaison. Okefenokee Technical College was first accredited by SACSCOC in 2009.

A QEP is a course of action to improve student learning. “A well-planned QEP offers an opportunity for a college to enhance its effectiveness by increasing student achievement in a critical area,” stated Dr. Deibert. “The goal of OTC’s plan is to increase student learning in mathematics. The entire college community participated in the QEP selection process. The plan is faculty driven and focused. It supports the college mission, is linked to the new strategic plan, and incorporates best practices and proven strategies. For these reasons, OTC math students will be more successful in mathematics.”

According to Jason Strickland, co-chair of the QEP Steering Committee, the QEP logo, Improvement = Extreme Math Makeover (I=EM2), came about after the committee reviewed the goals and strategies of the multi-year plan. I=EM2 features an improved learning support math course designed to enhance student learning in mathematics and speed entry into credit bearing math courses. The new course integrates learning-centered instruction with in-class tutoring and promotes strategies to reduce math and test anxiety.

Planning for the QEP began in late 2011 when Dr. Jim Helms, chair of the QEP planning team, began preparations to collect the data that served as the starting point for QEP topics. Students, faculty, staff, and community members were then invited in early 2012 to review assessment data, participate in focus groups, and respond to surveys to provide feedback on improving students learning at OTC. From information collected, the QEP Planning Committee identified ten areas that significantly impact the learning of OTC students. Faculty and staff were asked to rank the areas. Mathematics emerged as the area that would most benefit students.

“A major initiative that works in conjunction with OTC’s Quality Enhancement Plan is the redesign of our learning support courses,” noted Dr. Deibert. “The redesign initiative was launched fall 2012 and continues through 2013.  Our goal is not only to increase the number of students who successfully complete learning support courses and move into their programs, but also to decrease the amount of time it takes for students to graduate from OTC programs. OTC faculty and staff are working hard to ensure that students graduate from educational programs and move into a new career in a timely manner.”

Photo 1

Photo 1:
Signs and posters around the OTC campus stating, “The QEP Is Coming,” initiated a lot of interest and speculation among students. Lea Thornton and Simon Cason, OTC students and QEP marketing committee members, assisted faculty and staff with the QEP Logo Reveal and Kickoff designed to inform students of a new multi-year plan to enhance learning in mathematics.

Photo 2

Photo 2:
Upcoming QEP Implementation Directors, Thomas Hippchen (left) and Jason Strickland, sport some of their Ivan attire following the QEP Logo Reveal and Kickoff. Ivan the Tutor is the mascot for the QEP. Tutors and study groups are part of the learning strategies used in the initiative, and all OTC faculty and staff are committed to increased student learning in mathematics.

Photo 3

Photo 3:
Shaylyn Johnson (L to R), Simon Cason, and Erica Chancey stand ready to entice OTC students to answer a math question and win a prize. The game was part of the QEP Logo Reveal and Kickoff event designed to inform students of OTC’s improvement plan for increased learning in mathematics. Johnson, Cason, and Chancey serve on the QEP marketing committee.

Photo 4

Photo 4:
At the March kickoff event, OTC faculty and staff wore t-shirts featuring the new QEP logo (back of shirt) and Ivan the Tutor (front). Instructors Ryan Deal (welding), Laree Thomas (computers), Doug Furman (welding), and Debra Moody (cosmetology) show off the new QEP t-shirts.

Photo 5

Photo 5:
The QEP logo, Improvement = Extreme Math Makeover (I=EM2), came about after the QEP Steering Committee reviewed the goals and strategies of the multi-year plan. I=EM2 features an improved learning support math course designed to enhance student learning in mathematics and speed entry into credit bearing math courses. The new course integrates learning-centered instruction with in-class tutoring and promotes strategies to reduce math and test anxiety.

Photo 6

Photo 7

Photo 6 & 7:
OTC students at the QEP Logo Reveal and Kickoff were first introduced to the new logo and mascot when the OTC semi-truck and trailer blocking their view moved. At that moment, students saw the QEP banner and faculty and staff wearing funny hats, glasses, and mustaches.

Photo 8

Photo 9

Photo 8 & 9:
Faculty and staff dressed in “Ivan the Tutor” gear for the event to demonstrate their support of the multi-year QEP plan to increase student achievement in mathematics.

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