Quality Enhancement Plan
From the Office of Dr. Mary S. Spangler, Chancellor
What is the QEP?
May 16, 2011, Vol. 1, #1
March 2011) and to develop our QEP. Our Compliance
Report is currently under review by an Off-Site
Section 2.12 of the Core Requirements for reaffirmation
Committee that likely will ask for more information and
of accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of
clarification in a follow-up Focused Report.
the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
(SACS) requires the development by HCC of a Quality
Enhancement Plan (QEP) for 2012-2017.
How was the QEP developed and selected?
The QEP, submitted four to six weeks in advance of
the on-site review by the Commission (scheduled for
In conjunction with the Compliance Report, a
early November 2011), is a document developed by
sub-committee, co-chaired by President Fena Garza
the institution that
of HCC-Southwest College and Executive Dean
(1) includes a process identifying key issues
emerging from institutional assessment,
(2) focuses on learning outcomes and/or the
Butch Herod of HCC-Northwest College, led efforts
to develop a QEP topic. The committee created a
web-based “Suggestion Box” for any HCC faculty,
environment supporting student learning and
staff, administrator, student, or community member
accomplishing the mission of the institution,
to submit proposed topics. The Co-Chairs also held
(3) demonstrates institutional capability for the
forums at the District with the Board and senior
initiation, implementation, and completion
administrators and at all of the Colleges to generate
of the QEP,
discussion, answer questions, and encourage
(4) includes broad-based involvement of
institutional constituencies in the development
participation. These activities resulted in the
submission of over 400 topic suggestions!
and proposed implementation of the QEP, and
(5) identifies goals and a plan to assess
During Fall 2010, the QEP Development Committee
narrowed the topics to the top five categories. At the
beginning of the Spring 2011 semester, faculty were
The SACS Liaison Charles Cook and SACS Director
invited to submit applications to write “white papers”
Judy Cantwell worked with the SACS Steering
of 8-10 pages on one of the topics, detailing goals and
Committee and several sub-committees over the past
plans of action. Almost 50 applications were received,
year to complete our Compliance Report (submitted in
from which 8 faculty were selected in late January 2011.
They submitted white papers covering the five topics
in early April 2011, and an evaluation team composed
of HCC faculty and administrators selected one topic,
presenting it to the Steering Committee for final approval.
What will be the focus of the QEP?
Currently, HCC INSPIRE has three broad goals and
several related strategies for the collaboration of
What is HCC’s QEP topic?
1. Increase student access to STEM-related
academic learning skills resources,
The winning topic is HCC INSPIRE: Innovative
STEM Program Initiatives to Reform Education,
submitted by author and newly-appointed QEP
Director Tineke Berends, Professor of Biology from
HCC-Northwest College. The overall goal of HCC
INSPIRE is to “lay the foundation for system-wide,
data-driven reform of HCC STEM (Science/Technology/
opportunities, and support.
a. Creation of an online academic learning skills
clearinghouse of best practices
b. Implementation of general academic learning
skills workshops for students
c. Integration of student peer-led learning and
d. Support for system-wide student science clubs
e. Creation and implementation of a STEMfocused, CSI-style, freshman success course
Engineering/Math) education, utilizing teaching and
student support strategies proven to encourage critical
thinking, higher-level scientific reasoning, and STEM
student recruitment, retention, and success.”
2. Prepare increasing numbers of HCC faculty for
innovative teaching strategies, to include
a. Inquiry-Based Projects
b. Conceptually-Oriented Tasks
What are the next steps?
Dr. Berends will be engaged in writing the full QEP
from now until early August, at which point it will be
submitted to SACS along with the Focused Report.
c. Collaborative Learning and Learning
d. Use of Technology
3. Identify the elements required for HCC Model
Courses and create one or more STEM model
Dr. Berends will spend the summer in additional
research and consultation with experts around
the country to develop a 60-80 page plan that will
“flesh out” all the related details, including budgets,
timelines, and evaluation components. She remains
open to your suggestions and assistance in completion
of this very important task for our college. The On-Site
Committee will then evaluate both documents during
its visit in early November 2011.
courses, impacting the following areas:
a. Developmental math
b. College level math
c. College level science
d. College level science and engineering-related
Who else should be acknowledged for
Thanks to the Board of Trustees for their involvement
in providing suggestions for the QEP and interest in
receiving the on-going reports on the topic selection.
At the May 2011 Board Committee on Academic
Affairs/Student Services, they received a report on the
substance of HCC INSPIRE and forwarded it to the
Committee of the Whole.
Congratulations to Tineke Berends, and thanks to all of
you—Charles Cook, Judy Cantwell, Fena Garza, Butch
Herod—who have contributed to our reaffirmation
efforts thus far as we move forward in providing ever
greater opportunities for students to achieve academic
success in their lives and careers.
Thank you to the “white paper” authors for their work:
Saler Axel, Suanna Davis, Charlotte Hamilton, Judy
Hayman, Janis Innis, Douglas Rowlett, and Lifang Tien.
Thank you to the QEP Development Committee
members for their efforts: Alan Ainsworth, John Boxie,
Tenecia Brown, Willie Caldwell, David Diehl, Arnold
Goldberg, David Joost, Beverly Joseph, Stephen Levey,
Mike McCormick, Martha Oburn, Norma Perez, Cheryl
Peters, Elizabeth Scherer, and Mary Alice Wills.
Future editions of the QEP UPDATE will be prepared
by the QEP Director and the Office of the Vice
Chancellor for Instruction.
Innovative Science Program Initiatives to Reform Education
From the HCC QEP Office
Vol. 1, #2
Introducing the QEP
HCC INSPIRE: Innovative Science Program
Initiatives to Reform Education:
Changing the way we teach based upon how our
students learn, beginning with the sciences
HCC INSPIRE will improve student learning in the
sciences by providing real-world, active and collaborative
learning opportunities. We define real-world, active and
collaborative learning as students engaging with each
other and with faculty in a mutual search for in-depth
understanding, meaning or solutions in the context of
real-world situations relevant to everyday life and career.
The sciences were chosen as the starting point for
the QEP because of the growing national need for
improvements in science education. Over time, HCC
INSPIRE-driven strategies and infrastructure will
allow extensive scaling up of real-world, active and
collaborative learning across all disciplines. Students
engaged in this type of learning will gain skills identified
as important for 21st century learning: critical thinking,
information literacy, communication, personal and social
responsibility, teamwork and quantitative reasoning.
QEP Q & A: What is a QEP and why
is it important?
What is a QEP?
QEP stands for Quality Enhancement Plan. As part of its
reaffirmation process, HCC is required by our accrediting
agency (SACSCOC) to develop a comprehensive, 5-year
QEP that will improve student learning, engagement and
What is SACSCOC?
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is the regional
accrediting body for institutions of higher learning in most
of the southern United States and Latin America. HCC
is accredited by SACSCOC to award 2-year Associates’
and Applied Associates’ degrees. Reaffirmation of
accreditation occurs every ten years.
Why is accreditation important?
Accreditation by one of the regional accrediting bodies
like SACSCOC ensures that HCC maintains its high
educational standards and international reputation. In
addition, accreditation means that HCC and its students
will have access to federal grant funding, including
student financial aid, and students’ credits from HCC may
be transferred to other accredited institutions.
What is unique about the QEP?
The QEP is unique in that it is a faculty-driven effort
with district-wide, broad-based involvement from all
stakeholders: students, staff, faculty, administration, the
HCC Board of Trustees, and the community.
How was the QEP developed?
HCC’s QEP is the result of:
• District and college-level forums
• Over 400 online topic suggestions by staff,
administrators, faculty and students
• Eight white papers
• District-wide roundtable discussion
• District-wide faculty and student surveys
10/14/11 9:54 AM
Read the QEP online
The QEP has its own web pages on the SACS web pages
online at hccs.edu/qep. On this site you can learn more
about the process HCC used to create the QEP and read
the entire QEP document. You may also read the online at
The QEP Director is Dr. Tineke Berends. After a postdoctoral fellowship at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center,
she joined Houston Community College as a biology
instructor at the Northwest College in 1995. Read
more of Dr. Berends’ biography on the QEP web pages
Key elements of HCC INSPIRE
• Improving Student Learning: Enhancing existing
biology, chemistry and physics courses with
substantial problem-based learning modules and
concurrent development of online, module-supporting
learning object collections.
• Improving Student Engagement: Increasing
STEM student access to extra-curricular learning
opportunities through district-wide expansion and
sponsoring of science clubs.
• Improving Student Success: Developing more student
learning communities involving science courses and a
science-based Freshman Success Course.
SACS is coming
A SACSCOC reaffirmation team will be visiting the HCC
campuses on November 7 – 10, 2011. You may be asked
to answer questions and provide feedback about the QEP
This issue of the QEP newsletter is designed to give you
the kind of information about HCC’s QEP that you might
be expected to know.
Dr. Tineke Berends, HCC QEP Director
For more information, questions or feedback, please contact:
Dr. A. Tineke Berends, QEP Director at 713.718.5875 or email@example.com or
Judy Cantwell, HCC Accreditation Compliance Director at 713.718.7032 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
10/14/11 9:54 AM
FROM THE HCC QEP OFFICE
August 2012, Vol. 2, #1
QEP Off to a Good Start
Development Teams Will Pilot Their Modules
during the Fall Semester
An Associate to the Director and a Secretary
are added to QEP Personnel
Seven HCC science faculty members spent Summer I
designing and creating problem-based learning
modules to be utilized in Biology 1406, Chemistry
1411 and Physics 1401 courses during 2013-2014.
Three Biology faculty: Audrey Bush, Leena Sawant
and Pauline Ward; two Chemistry faculty; Paul
Clemens and Ammani Krishnaswamy; and two
Physics faculty: Aaron Marks and Yuriy Pinelis were
lead and supported by QEP Director Tineke Berends,
and her Associate Director, Jennifer O’Neil.
Instructional design advice was available from Terri
Bubb, an instructional designer with Teaching and
Jennifer O’Neil (pictured above) came on board during
t h e Spring 2 0 1 2 s e m e s te r f r o m t h e biology
faculty at Northwest College. One of her major
contributions was to assist in writing the final QEP
document. She also provided support for Camp
INSPIRE and the launch of the forum.
Earlier this year, Dr. Berends and Dr. O’Neil created
an online QEP Faculty Forum open to all faculty in
Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
advice concerning the modules were solicited via the
forum, and science faculty members were apprised of
the progress of the three teams through daily updates
posted on the forums’ wiki pages. The online sites
were also used as discussion forums for the faculty to
comment on questions concerning teaching methods,
textbook issues and other instructional matters of
Leona Sanders (pictured above) joined the QEP team
as Secretary to the QEP Director in July 2012. She
may be a familiar face to some in that she has been a
library assistant at the Northeast College for the past
Faculty Teams Produce Three Modules
will enable students to test their hypothesis and solve
the crime! New equipment for this lab exercise was
The QEP learning modules are designed to cover one recently purchased using QEP funds.
textbook chapter in the basic science courses. Topics
were chosen by faculty during roundtable discussions The Chemistry module covers stoichiometry. Students
led by the Program Coordinators in each discipline will act as quality control chemists in an automobile
during Camp INSPIRE.
The module developers factory and will examine the chemistry behind the
created unique case studies for each discipline that will proper deployment of airbags in car crashes. Students
teaching will form hypothesis and examine data before solving
strategies, address common student misconceptions the case.
and provide instructors with a toolbox of online and
offline learning objects that will enhance student The Biology module will address all aspects of cellular
Students will act as CSI interns
The Physics module will address the concept of
vectors, 2-D kinematics and projectile motion.
Students will act as ballistic specialists as they solve
the murder of a famous actor on a movie set. This
module will also include a laboratory exercise that
investigating a suspicious death.
You can read the daily blogs written by the module
developers during Summer I on the QEP faculty forum,
Scenes from Camp INSPIRE
January and May 2012
For more information, questions or feedback
Please contact QEP Director, Dr. A. Tineke Berends at 713-718-5875 or email@example.com
or Judy Cantwell, HCC Accreditation Compliance Director at 713-718-7032 or firstname.lastname@example.org
HOUSTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE
N ewsle t te r
QEP SCIENCE FACULTY FORUM UP AND RUNNING
With the help of the
Teaching and Learning
Resources group, the QEP
Science Faculty Forum has
been up and running since
summer 2012. Through
this forum, we hope to
usher in a new level of
collaboration among all
HCC science faculty. This
is the place where we can
come together to ask
questions, solicit how-to’s,
share resources, exchange
ideas, offer comments,
laugh at the latest
“Science Smile of the
Go to http://www.hccs.edu/portal/site/hccs > Online Courses > Eagle Online Login, >
Username: first.name.lastname >Password: machappy
Week”, find out what
happened at the latest
Camp INSPIRE event, or
find out about upcoming STEM events and opportunities. Most importantly, science
faculty will be able to help shape our QEP project as we go along. We are finding that
multiple brains really are better than one; together we CAN make a difference in how well
our students learn.
The QEP Science Faculty Forum is structured as an Eagle Online shell. So far, all known
HCC Biology, Chemistry and Physics faculty have been “enrolled”. To access the forum,
start on the HCC web page and click on “online courses”, followed by “Eagle Online
login”. First-time forum users should enter first.last name (same as HCC email login), and
Let’s get inspired
Volume 2, Issue 2
In this issue:
JANUARY 3, 2013
HCC INSPIRE FAQ
QEP Science Faculty Forum Up
QEP Active and Collaborative
Module News (BIOL 1406,
CHEM 1411 and PHYS 1401)
Camp INSPIRE NEWS
Does active learning work?
Find out by clicking on the video
link on the QEP Faculty Forum
(posted directly below the contact
information). For login
information, see above.
QEP ACTIVE AND COLLABORATIVE MODULE NEWS
(BIOL 1406, CHEM 1411 AND PHYS 1401)
e are happy to report that the new, realworld, active & collaborative modules developed over Summer I, 2012 have now been
piloted in 15 sections by our 8 hard-working
module developers. Each module was structured as an interTarget Course
rupted case study. In a typical case study, students take on the
role of someone responsible for solving a real-world problem
or crime. Students cannot solve the mystery unless they truly
understand the chapter material:
Real World Application
“A Bad Day for the Monkey”: Students must use projectile motion concepts and calculations to solve a fatal blow dart shooting on
an action movie set.
(Developers: Aaron Marks and Yuriy Pinelis)
“Failure to Launch”: Students must use stoichiometry knowledge and skills to determine if a faulty airbag is to blame for a fatal car
(Developers: Paul Clemens and Ammani Krishnaswamy)
“Cellular Respiration: A CSI Investigation”: Students must use knowledge of cellular respiration pathways and cellular structure to
investigate a possible poisoning.
(Developers: Audrey Bush, Jennifer O’Neil, Leena Sawant
and Pauline Ward)
n an interrupted case study, the case is presented in distinct parts over the course of one or two class periods.
Each successive part involves disclosure of additional data
and/or clues, followed by discussion questions. The
latter are carefully designed to encourage critical thinking, actively draw out common misconceptions , and create a need for
further knowledge. Hence the case study parts may be
“interrupted” by chapter material presented as short lectures,
video or animation presentations, reading, and/or other student exercises. In fact, in addition to developing the case
study materials, QEP module developers also collected many
useful teaching resources for all to share.
ot surprisingly, first-time implementation proved
quite a challenge, and we look forward to learning more during each implementation round.
Departmental finals data is still being analyzed.
However, anecdotal evidence shows that active learning techniques did boost performance on instructor tests. Students
participating in the module experience definitely were engaged
and thinking critically. Several module piloters reported greater student-to-student interaction (both inside and outside of
class), and a much greater willingness on the part of students to
ask questions. Many students expressed appreciation for the
real-world application of seemingly abstract chapter concepts.
With its focus on metacognition, active learning also turns out
to be a great way to monitor student thinking in real time, and
to draw out major misconceptions that might otherwise have
gone undetected and uncorrected. On the instructor side,
time of course remains a big issue. However, most module
piloters found that incorporation of the case triggered a useful
focus on student reception and efficiency. Teaching with the
end in mind became very important: what is it we really want
our students to learn, and what is window dressing? It also
became clear that student-centered teaching techniques such as
leading productive group discussions takes some practice (then
again, how stellar were our very first lectures?). One of the
greatest benefits was the opportunity to share successes and
learn from each other. Based on the Fall 2012 piloter experiences, all case study materials were revised extensively.
These revised case study materials, along with interchangeable
data/clue sets and relevant teaching resources have been uploaded their own repository – a password-protected shell in
Eagle Online. All BIOL 1406, CHEM 1411 and PHYS 1401
instructors who have completed a QEP Module Workshop will
be “enrolled” for access during the next implementation round.
The first workshop is scheduled for January 10, 2013. Participants were nominated by QEP Module Developers, Chairs and
Program Coordinators and include FT and PT faculty from all
across the district. Additional workshops will be held on a semesterly basis. As the product and our skills improve, we hope
that all BIOL 1406, CHEM 1411 and PHYS 1401 will be able
to join our growing faculty learning community!
Camp inspire news
First of all, we’d like to extend a sincere thanks to all those who contributed to
our Camp INSPIRE events on January 11, May 15 and 16, and August 24, 2012.
It was great for everyone to get to know one another face to face, and your
input gave us valuable direction on how to proceed with the various QEP projects! Our 4th Camp INSPIRE on January 10, 2013 will be no less important
(http://imc09.hccs.edu/campinspire). This time, we will be looking for STEM
faculty input on two key topics: how to engage STEM students outside of
class, and how to prepare first year students for rigorous science course work.
For the former, we will want to brainstorm appropriate district-wide activities
for STEM club students. Already, several great, faculty-driven ideas are
emerging: science fair projects, the “It’s Just STEM” competition, lab skill certification, research “internships”, iGEM competitions, faculty-guided research
paper, PowerPoint or poster projects. For the latter, we will want to discuss
what we would like for our students to be able to do in terms of reading, processing, and studying scientific information before they enroll in science classes. Once these needs have been catalogued and prioritized, a team composed of science faculty and EDUC 1300 faculty will work together over the summer
to create appropriate “science learning modules” for implementation in “science-emphasis” EDUC 1300 sections.
“Being able to see that real-world tragedies can be explored w/what we learn in the classroom is pretty awesome” ~ HCC Student
“It really makes me feel like I learned something and could solve a problem on something that mattered rather than just seeing numbers
and not knowing their significance” ~ HCC Student
“The whole concept of “grams to moles, moles to moles, moles to grams” sunk in a heck of a lot better” ~ HCC Student
Teaching Science will
NEVER be the same!!!
For more information contact:
Dr. Tineke Berends
We are on the web