The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that UAB developed as part of its SACS reaccreditation in 2005 is a comprehensive, effective program that integrates academic instruction with instruction in diversity, respect for others, responsible dialogue, and ethical behavior. Beginning with a shared vision for a UAB graduate, the QEP reminds the campus community that all units must function synergistically to fulfill our mission to prepare students for life, not just a career. UAB holds itself accountable for introducing, reinforcing, practicing, and assessing three competencies targeted for initial enhancement: writing, quantitative literacy, and ethics and civic responsibility. Thus, UAB undertakes to integrate academic instruction and cumulative experience in personal and social responsibility throughout students’ undergraduate years.
Academic affairs and student affairs have collaboratively implemented a two-part freshman year experience that introduces the thinking, learning, dialoguing, and decision-making that are expected of university students. The UAB discussion book initiative and freshman learning communities comprise this gateway experience. Becoming an engaged, responsible student in class and on campus is a first step towards becoming a responsible citizen of the state, nation, and international community. Cumulative instruction and progressively challenging experiences in personal and social responsibility will be integrated into mid-level courses in every major. Finally, every major is developing a capstone experience that synthesizes what seniors have learned and helps prepare them for professional, personal, and civic responsibilities.