The Quality Enhancement Plan

Florida Atlantic University sought reaffirmation of accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools: Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) in 2013. The reaffirmation process of the  included a component that was designed to enhance student learning and further the mission of the university. FAU's Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Distinction through Discovery aims to improve student learning by expanding a culture of undergraduate research and inquiry across all disciplines at the university.  

FAU’s definition of research focuses on inquiry. FAU faculty and students recognize inquiry to be a process and/or a product which centers on asking questions or solving problems and which encompasses intellectual traits that transcend subject matter divisions. Examples of such processes common to the disciplines included questioning existing ideas, identifying approaches to unstructured problems, thinking creatively, exploring new ideas and examining the processes by which knowledge is discovered.

FAU’s Distinction through Discovery Goals

  1. Establish an undergraduate curriculum which provides students the intellectual skills necessary to successfully engage in undergraduate research and inquiry.
  2. Expand student co-curricular opportunities for undergraduate research and inquiry.  
  3. Increase support and recognition for faculty and students who engage in undergraduate research and inquiry.   
  4. Enrich and strengthen an institutional climate that supports undergraduate research and inquiry.

FAU received zero recommendations from the onsite SACSCOC visitation team in February 2013.  Such a report is achieved by very few colleges and universities undergoing similar reviews.


Distinction through Discovery: A plan in action

The Office of Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (OURI) has been established to implement this plan and we are already making great strides at expanding our research and inquiry culture here at FAU in collaboration with all colleges and programs. 

OURI is guided and advised by a series of committees comprised of over 70 faculty, staff, students, and alumni representing all colleges and campuses at FAU.  These dedicated committee members establish and guide the vision and mission of OURI in support of FAU's undergraduate research and inquiry initiative. The committees include:

  1. Curricula Committee:  leads efforts at expanding opportunities for faculty to integrate undergraduate research into the curriculum through our Curriculum Grants Program.  
  2. Co-Curricula Committee:  leads efforts of providing more opportunities for students to engage in research outside of the classroom primarily through the   Undergraduate Research Grants Program, Undergraduate Research Symposium, and Florida Atlantic Undergraduate Research Journal.  
  3. Communications Committee:  leads the efforts of supporting, rewarding, and recognizing faculty and students engaged in research and inquiry.   
  4. Assessment Committee:  leads the efforts of evaluating gains in student learning and faculty participation of the Distinction through Discovery initiative, as well as ensuring the continuous improvement of our program.
  5. Faculty Professional Development Committee: leads efforts in offering professional development opportunities for faculty in areas of research pedagogies, curricular revision, and best practices of integrating research into the curriculum.
  6. Executive Committee:  comprised of the chairs of the sub committees provides overall guidance to OURI on our QEP implementation and evaluation.

These committees meet individually two times per semester and all committee members participate in an annual Distinction through Discovery Summer Retreat.  

For further information about the undergraduate research initiative and the QEP please contact Dr. Donna Chamely-Wiik, QEP director.

 Last Modified 11/14/16