Trustees talk about educational Quality Enhancement Plan

David Broyles Staff Reporter

September 10, 2013

DOBSON — Surry Community College President Dr. David Shockley briefed the Board of Trustees Monday afternoon about a crucial Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) which is the second step toward continued accreditation of the school.

English instructor Jon Thomas and Vice President of Curriculum Programs Dr. Jami Woods were presenters for the QEP overview. Formerly, the QEP’s focus was critical thinking. Thomas said the new focus, which was determined by feedback from faculty, students, businesses and stakeholders in the school, would be on written communication.

“Writing standards will be the thing we really key in on,” said Thomas. “Writing is one of the best ways a student retains a concept. Writing is thinking.”

He told the board the top four objectives for staff and students would be clarity, accuracy, depth and organizational skills. He said his 11-member team meets every two weeks and the faculty must write better to get students to improve as well.

He told the board the college’s mission is to “promote personal growth and community development to a diverse population through excellence in teaching, learning and service.”

Components of the plan include an Interdisciplinary Advance Team (IAT) and the Academic Support Center- Writing Lab. Thomas said the IAT will determine what is a practical way to bring writing skills into classrooms across the curriculum while writing in an academic discipline specific manner.

“Our writing lab is one of the best kept secrets on campus until about mid semester when students find out they are in trouble,” Thomas said. “Now that the entire second floor of the library is taken up by the lab we will be better able to handle demand. We have streamlined the tutoring process as well and we can use distance learning capabilities to help students.”

Thomas said QEP approach will emphasize rewriting, producing multiple drafts of papers instead of handing in a rough draft, teaching the difference between revision and editing while using both and finally publication. He said students are virtually being published constantly because of new technologies.

“The correlation between reading and writing is almost symbiotic,” said Thomas. “Writing both digitally and hand written is important. Thought the medium changes the language (and rules) we communicate with never does.”

Shockley told the board an additional $77,000 had been set aside for the QEP and the report lists the costs for the first year at a total of $99,134.09. The plan also included yearly costs for the five-year effort.

“This is an institutional dissertation for us. It will be reviewed in five years,” said Shockley. “This becomes who we are. We aren’t doing this just for a check mark because this came from the grassroots up.”

In other action, the annual Surry Community College Foundation announced its annual fundraising drive for staff, faculty, stakeholders and students is themed “Focusing on Fifty,” a reference to the college’s 50th anniversary on Jan. 9. The annual effort is a way to raise money for an unrestricted educational enrichment fund.

Foundation spokeswoman Marion Venable said this represents a new direction other colleges have followed which is different from traditionally focusing just on scholarships. She said this is another way the school can become more well rounded to better serve the needs of students and faculty.

Reach David Broyles at or 336-719-1952.