Purpose and Overview
Purpose of the QER Process
The Quality Enhancement Review process serves as a tool for ensuring that the university fulfills and maintains its mission. Generally, the process enables the university to provide quality assurance, maintain academic standards, ensure continuous improvement of academic programs, and improve the university's reputation. Specifically, the process serves to implement recommendations of the state and university's strategic plans to permit continuous improvement and to advance FSU into the top tier of public research universities.
The Quality Enhancement Review's primary purposes are (a) to examine the institutional effectiveness of a department or program, its national position with respect to comparable programs, what it needs to improve or sustain performance and (b) to serve as a basis for administrative decisions on the investment of new and existing resources. A program is evaluated on the basis of its mission and that mission’s relation to the university mission, student-learning and program outcomes specified by the program, and the assessment and continuous evaluation of program and learning outcomes. The Quality Enhancement Review also permits a "streamlined" continuous evaluation system by combining:
- the statutorily required Florida Board of Governors’ seven-year program reviews (6C- 8.015 Academic Program Review),
- the Graduate Policy Committee's (GPC) reviews of graduate programs,
- independent external evaluation, and
- the Provost's internal reviews of programs relative to unit productivity and outcomes.
It is also scheduled, to the extent possible, to coincide with any external accreditation review.
The entire review process is monitored by the Office of the Vice President for Planning and Programs through the academic dean of the relevant college. The Office of the Vice President for Planning and Programs may revise the policies and procedures, as appropriate, after timely consultation with interested parties.
Components of the QER Process
The Quality Enhancement process is founded on an extensive self-examination. Members of each academic department or program under review prepare a self-study binder that articulates the programs goals, objectives, and intended student-learning and program outcomes in relation to its mission.
The self-study addresses a number of questions integrating the concerns of the Florida Board of Governors, the Undergraduate Policy Committee, the Graduate Policy Committee, and the Provost. The measures used in Quality Enhancement Reviews of graduate and undergraduate programs include indicators of:
- Instructional activities,
- Research and creative effort, and
- Faculty citizenship and service
The review also asks for an evaluation of the quality of degree programs based on qualitative measures of the reputation of the faculty, significance of research and scholarly activities to the profession, and the currency of the curriculum, all ascertained by external review. In addition, the QER evaluates the program's student achievement by reviewing its follow-up on graduates, for example its success in placing graduates in graduate schools or employment in relevant fields, as well as employer satisfaction, student satisfaction with FSU academic experience at FSU, the extent to which program and student-learning outcomes have been evaluated and achieved, and the levels of continuous improvement.
To produce an objective assessment of faculty achievement, the Provost has established expectations of departmental quality improvement and accountability plans. For programs included in the National Research Council (NRC), the Provost has established the comparison of peer institutional rankings in NRC categories as a benchmark for identifying peer institutions and those that FSU programs should aspire to match.
An independent external reviewer, contracted with the university, provides an external perspective on the department or program. The external reviewer reviews the self-study binder, conducts onsite interviews, and prepares and submits a report indicating the findings of the site visit. The external reviewer synthesizes findings into a final report that also makes recommendations for improvement. The report forms the basis for later stages of the QER process.
The self-study material prepared by the department/program is reviewed, along with the report of the external reviewer, by the academic dean, the Graduate Policy Committee, the Vice President for Planning and Programs, and other faculty and administrators. Academic deans review and act on findings of the QER, including the report and recommendations of the GPC, and submit an action plan to the Provost’s Office. The Vice President for Planning and Programs, along with representatives of the Provost’s Office, review the dean’s report and make recommendations to the Provost. The Provost assesses the dean's action plan, along with the Vice President’s report, and makes budgetary, planning, and performance assessments against the dean’s action plan. The Office of the Vice President for Planning and Programs prepares and submits a summary report to the Florida Board of Governors in accordance with state guidelines.
Both the Graduate Policy Committee and the Office of the Vice President for Planning and Programs conduct follow up inquires on recommendations emerging from the QER process two years after the initial reports are issued.