Institutional Research and Planning

Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)

The QEP is a five-year plan that helps us focus on an important topic for improving student learning outcomes and student success. Its goal is to enhance the overall institutional quality and effectiveness of UNCW. Our next QEP on Interdisciplinary Learning will begin in 2023-2024 and run from 2023-2028.

Click on a button below for more information.

What is the QEP?

The Quality Enhancement Plan, often referred to as the QEP, is a five-year plan UNCW uses to increase student learning and student success. As part of our regional accreditation, the QEP is an integral component of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC) accreditation process to ensure institutions continue to meet member-driven standards of quality. The QEP reflects and affirms a commitment to enhancing the overall institutional quality and effectiveness of UNCW by focusing on an issue that we consider important to improving student learning outcomes and/or student success. Some of the critical requirements of a proposed QEP topic include a process-driven selection approach with community feedback. UNCW is currently in the process of selecting its next QEP.

Why is the QEP Important?

Previously, when QEP was selected and implemented, UNCW focused its resources and instructors’ professional development efforts to promote successful practices in applied learning to help our students have engaging learning experiences.

The last QEP was​ eTEAL, which stands for eexperiencing Ttransformative Eeducation through Aapplied Learning. This initiative integrated critical reflection in applied learning experiences that helped students pursue personal and professional growth and foster content mastery in their courses.

Looking at the Last QEP & Its Impacts: eTEAL

  • 98% of faculty respondents felt that applied learning contributed significantly.
  • 75% of respondents indicated that the university's investment in applied learning initiatives led them to change their philosophy on curricular and / or co-curricular instruction.
  • 85.6% of faculty reported continuing to use the principles of Best Practices in applied learning which they employed for their eTEAL-funded Pedagogy Initiative.
  • 76.5% felt that these applied learning practices had either a considerable or a great deal of positive impact on their students' learning.

Faculty / Staff Participation

  • 380 attendees at Applied Learning Summer Institute (2013-3017)
  • 35/36 departments awarded competitive funding
  • 171 eTEAL Pedagogy Initiatives funded over five years
  • 186 faculty / staff funded from original eTEAL Pedagogy Initiative
  • 258 faculty / staff managed initiatives through QEP funding (including SURCA and Sustainability 2.0 projects)

Applied Learning Teaching Community (ALTC)

  • 29+ faculty / staff served as fellows, assistant fellows, and other leadership roles
  • 18 units, offices and departments represented
  • 1,000+ faculty / staff reached through programming

Student Impacts / Learning Outcomes

Student Engagement in eTEAL Through the Years:
  • 3,437 (2015-2016)
  • 3,435 (2016-2017)
  • 4,052 (2017-2018)
  • 4,689 (2018-2019)
Student Performance Increases (2015-2018):
  • +15.5% Evaluation of Impact
  • +23.9% Critical Reflection
  • +27.0% Application of Knowledge
  • +30.8% Intention

See more impacts of the previous QEP topic, eTEAL.

QEP Topic Selection Process

Stakeholders from across campus submitted pre-proposals on what our next QEP topic should be. Then, a team of faculty, staff and students, from multiple UNCW divisions and departments, worked collaboratively to select finalist topics.

Did you know? There's so much more to this valuable process, check out the entire timeline below.

QEP Topic Selection Process Timeline

Timeline of QEP Selection Process
Spring 2021
  • Identification of QEP Topic Selection Committee (QEPTSC) co-chairs
  • Identification of committee members
Summer 2021
  • Committee planning workshops
Fall 2021
  • Committee solicits topic pre-proposals
  • Committee selects finalists
  • Committee holds campus virtual forum for proposal presentations and distributes survey for feedback
  • Committee reviews data and recommends final topic to Provost and Chancellor
Spring 2022
  • Recommendation reviewed by Provost and Chancellor
  • Topic announced by Offices of the Provost to campus community
  • QEP Implementation Committee (QEPIC) named
  • QEP Director named
  • Committee drafts full QEP
Summer 2022
  • SACSCOC Summer Institute Conference
  • Committee finalizes QEP
Fall 2022
  • University submits QEP to SACSCOC by September 1
  • Committee nominates external evaluator for SACSCOC
Spring 2023
  • On-site SACSCOC visit March 28-30
  • Committee revises QEP based on external evaluator feedback
Summer - Fall 2023
  • Committee prepares for QEP launch
  • University launches QEP for 2023-2028

Explore the Selected QEP Topic


Cultivating the Collaborative Campus: High-Impact Interdisciplinary Research & Teaching

*Pending final approval from SACSCOC


Read the Abstract:

This QEP would sponsor interdisciplinary faculty/staff teams selected by competitive process, dedicated to researching/teaching around "important questions" they identify that are connected to the UNCW mission and learning goals, particularly diversity and global learning.

Teams would:

  • Integrate questions with curriculum, creating innovative opportunities for teaching, especially learning communities and general education
  • Advance research that prioritizes student participation
  • Promote diversity/global learning (per the AACU definition and the UNCW SLOs of Diversity and Global Citizenship ) by exploring "difficult difference," especially through applied learning/community engagement and/or by study abroad
  • Disseminate inclusive of students; apply for external funding
  • Offer programming designed to connect group efforts to the wider community

Funding would support from 3-6 teams; up to $25K each in Year 1, up to $15K in Year 2. Institutional commitment to 3 funding cycles.

This QEP offers a flexible approach, encouraging creativity and channeling it to support the identified priorities of the interdisciplinary task force and emerging strategic plan.

Click here to review the full proposal (PDF)

If you need this PDF in another format, please reach out to Dr. Kemille Moore ( ).

Watch the Short Introductory Video:

Click here to access the recorded topic proposal presentation

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Interdisciplinary Learning Workshops (Fall 2022)

What is Interdisciplinary Learning?

Friday September 16, 12-1 pm (RL 2005 and via Zoom: )

This workshop will discuss the difference between multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary learning, as well as the fundamental characteristics of interdisciplinary learning: disciplinary grounding, perspective taking, and common ground and integration. It will provide examples of interdisciplinary learning experiences and allow participants to consider ways they might design and develop interdisciplinary learning experiences for their students.

Designing Interdisciplinary Learning Experiences

Friday September 30, 12-1 pm (RL 2005 and via Zoom: )

This workshop will discuss ways of designing interdisciplinary learning experiences that include disciplinary grounding, perspective taking, and integration of disciplinary insights. It will provide examples of learning goals, activities, assignments, and assignment prompts from interdisciplinary learning experiences, and participants will backward design their own interdisciplinary learning experiences.

Interdisciplinary Assignments for Critical Thinking, Diversity, and Global Citizenship

Friday October 21, 12-1 pm

Randall Library 2005 and  via Zoom Meeting ID: 854 8030 3860 | Passcode: 720356

Click here to register

Join us for a collaborative workshop between CTE and the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) director to discuss signature assignments and ways participants might design interdisciplinary assignments that target the learning goals of Critical Thinking, Diversity, and Global Citizenship. Our next QEP seeks to improve student learning in upper-division courses that meet these three learning goals, and this workshop will enable participants to develop their own signature assignments that meet Critical Thinking, Diversity, or Global Citizenship learning goals.

Connect and Collaboration Sessions (Fall 2022):

Faculty and staff are invited to come to these sessions to facilitate the formation of interdisciplinary teams that will design, develop, and implement interdisciplinary learning experiences for students, and apply for funding through the next Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) on Interdisciplinary Learning! There will be three sessions in the Fall 2022 semester, organized around the three learning goals targeted in our QEP:

Diversity: Friday, September 23, 12-1 pm
Randall Library 2014, Faculty Commons and via Zoom
Click here to register

Critical Thinking: Friday, October 7, 12-1 pm
Randall Library 2014, Faculty Commons and via Zoom
Click here to register

Global Citizenship: Friday, November 4, 12-1 pm
Randall Library 2014, Faculty Commons and via Zoom
Click here to register


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Interdisciplinary Learning Experiences: Ways to Enhance Higher-Order Thinking

UNCW’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) features thoughtful, purposeful use of integrative interdisciplinary problem solving to improve student learning outcomes in the areas of critical thinking, diversity, and global citizenship. It focuses on improving our students’ higher-order thinking skills—especially their ability to examine complex local, global, and intercultural issues from multiple perspectives, analyze their own and others’ assumptions, discuss how culture and society influence such assumptions, evaluate the relevance of context when presenting a position, provide evidence in support of that position, and acknowledge competing viewpoints.

Longitudinal assessment of general education data has shown that upper-division courses that address critical thinking, global citizenship and diversity fail to reach their target score (of 3 or 4 out of a 1-4 scale of benchmark-milestones-capstone), and this trend has been consistent every year for the past three cycles of assessment for these three learning goals. Our students’ work in upper-level courses does well in meeting the foundational factual knowledge component (understanding and describing facts about a theme or issue tied to global citizenship or diversity), but it fares poorly at the higher-order thinking skills associated with these complex concepts. Our QEP addresses this student learning gap in higher order thinking skills by encouraging the use of interdisciplinary learning across the curriculum.

Our goal is to use interdisciplinary learning to improve student learning about critical thinking, diversity, and global issues, specifically enhancing the following dimensions of three university-level student learning outcomes (SLOs):

  1. Critical thinking
    1. Influence of context and assumptions; and
    2. Student’s position: position, perspective, thesis, or hypothesis.
  2. Diversity
    1. Knowledge of diverse perspectives and their roots; and
    2. Evaluating claims and theories about diversity.
  3. Global citizenship
    1. Knowledge of connections within systems; and
    2. Use of diverse cultural frames of reference and alternative perspectives.

To meet this goal, our QEP will:

  1. Fund interdisciplinary teams organized around crucial questions that require integrative, interdisciplinary learning and that directly address one of the three targeted learning outcomes: critical thinking, diversity, or global citizenship. For example, “How should the world respond to climate change?
  2. Offer smaller grants for individual initiatives in interdisciplinary pedagogy and curriculum development around these three outcomes.
  3. Organize workshops and presentations that explicate how successful strategies and best practices in interdisciplinary learning can address critical thinking, diversity, and global citizenship.
  4. Facilitate and encourage interdisciplinary collaborations among faculty, staff, and students.