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Reaccreditation Process Features Unique ‘Sustainability’ Plan

Posted on April 7th, 2010

EMU Quality Enhancement Plan

“A model for other colleges.”

That’s how the EMU Quality Enhancement Plan was described by a visiting reaffirmation team from Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges in early March.

“Peace with Creation: Environmental Sustainability from an Anabaptist Perspective” is the title of EMU’s Quality Enhancement Plan or “QEP.” The plan was evaluated during EMU’s once-every-10-year review. Some 800 schools are part of the SACS commission, and a QEP is required for each reaccreditation process.

Dr. Michael Johnson of the Commission commented enthusiastically about the QEP on behalf of the nine-person review team representing eight colleges and universities.

Creation care will be significantly integrated across EMU’s curriculum as part of the plan, strengthening (or complementing) EMU’s already strong commitment to sustainability in areas of energy use, recycling and facilities development.

The QEP seeks to unite the Anabaptist peace tradition with an interdisciplinary framework of principles for sustainability as set forth by Dr. Anthony Cortese of Second Nature, a nonprofit organization. These principles include:

  • The health of all current and future humans and other species;
  • The fairness, equity, stability and security of human cultures and social systems;
  • Economic opportunity for all current and future humans; and
  • Ecological diversity and integrity.

The focus is on undergraduate level learning around these themes. Learn more about sustainability at EMU

EMU focus is unique

“The EMU QEP focus…is a unique and precedent setting initiative,” wrote Dodd Galbreath, executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Practice at Lipscomb University and lead evaluator of the QEP.

The March 1-4 on-site reaccreditation visit, chaired by Dr. Mark Smith of Rhodes College, resulted in a strong affirmation of EMU’s undergraduate programs.

“This affirmation of what we do and how we operate is significant,” notes EMU Provost Fred Kniss, Ph.D. “Our QEP is a place where our core values as a university can intersect with a pressing issue for the global community.”

The Quality Enhancement Plan on sustainability will be implemented over the next five years. The first step in implementation is to include sustainability themes in several courses in EMU’s general education program, including all first-year writing and Bible and religion classes, and cross-cultural programs.

Details of the plan are available online at www.emu.edu/qep. A full copy of the visiting committee’s exit conference report is available on request by contacting BJ Miller, EMU Institutional Research at bjmiller@emu.edu or (540) 432-4304.

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