Sherman Shares is a monthly publication of Sherman College.

  Sherman College Quality Enhancement Plan: Performance Enhancement Modules, Turning Knowledge into Performance
by Dean of Clinical Sciences and QEP Development Team Chairman Robert L. Irwin, D.C.


Dean of
Clinical Sciences
Robert L. Irwin, D.C.

Accreditation in the United States is a voluntary and self-regulatory mechanism of the higher education community. It plays a significant role in fostering public confidence in the educational enterprise, in maintaining standards, in enhancing institutional effectiveness, and in improving higher education.

(Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Handbook for Reaffirmation of Accreditation, 2nd ed., 2005, p. 1.)

Sherman College has embarked upon a very exciting project as part of the college’s focused activities in preparation for reaffirmation of accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Accreditation today, with federal calls for higher education accountability for student learning outcomes and consumer protection, depends upon the institution’s ability to demonstrate its commitment to student learning outcomes and continuous quality improvement.

In order to demonstrate these ideals, SACS requires its member institutions to submit a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) as part of the reaffirmation process. The QEP is a focused plan that describes a specific course of action with established performance objectives that the college will implement and measure progress toward in order to demonstrate improved student learning outcomes. The topic can be anything the college community considers essential to transform the learning environment.

In September 2005, the Institutional Effectiveness Committee solicited QEP topics from the various college constituency groups including college committees, department heads, faculty, faculty department heads, student government (leadership and class cohorts), individual students and administrators.

The committee reviewed and categorized ideas that would satisfy SACS’ QEP requirements. The committee then narrowed the viable ideas to three and appointed an ad-hoc discussion group consisting of faculty and students to further develop the ideas in order to present them to the Faculty Senate for final selection.

The discussion group completed its work, and in February 2006, the faculty chose the Performance Enhancement Modules as the QEP the college would pursue. Executive Vice President/Provost Myron Brown, D.C., then appointed the QEP Development Team and charged the team to development the plan according to SACS criteria.

Faculty team members include the following:

  • Sheldon Clayton, Ph.D. professor, basic sciences

  • Joseph Donofrio, D.C., associate professor, clinical sciences and chairman, technique department

  • Tim Guest D.C., associate professor, clinical sciences

  • Beth McDowell, D.C., assistant professor, clinical sciences and coordinator, Clinical Proficiency Examination

  • Reneé Prenitzer, D.C., assistant professor, clinical sciences

  • Claudia, Seay, D.C., associate professor, clinical sciences, lead faculty doctor and coordinator, Clinic Entrance Examination

  • Arlene Welch, D.C., instructor, clinical sciences

Student team members include the following:

  • Amilliah Kenya, 11th-quarter student

  • Landin Marzolf, 9th-quarter student

  • Mary Strange, 9th-quarter student

Administrative team members include the following:

  • Myron Brown, D.C., executive vice president/provost (ex-officio)

  • Robert Irwin, D.C., dean of clinical sciences (committee chairman)

  • Timothy Revels, vice president for business and finance

The QEP Development Team meets on a weekly basis, and its early focus has been the discussion of the wide-range of learning opportunities that could be available within performance enhancement module pedagogy.

Ultimately, the team expects to develop a comprehensive plan that will transform student learning and facilitate students’ application of acquired knowledge into competent performance that is critical to their success as students and their success as future doctors of chiropractic. Team members are researching best practices and storyboarding ideas that have been demonstrated to accomplish this type of learning objective.

Throughout the next year, the team plans keep the college community informed about QEP status through a dedicated Intranet page that includes information and meeting minutes accessible to campus stakeholders. The team will also post “QEP Bulletin” announcements in the café and submit periodic college newsletter feature articles.

The QEP will be completed and submitted to SACS in early February 2007. A SACS on-site review committee will visit the campus April 10-12, 2007, to review the plan, provide consultative feedback and recommend (to SACS) whether it is a satisfactory and relevant means by which the college will improve student learning.