students to benefit from collaborative learning

Bills Boiler House 3

students attending brevard college will be the beneficiaries of a new, comprehensive focus on collaborative learning as an improvement upon the college’s robust commitment to experiential education.  the focus of collaborative learning is the mainstay of the college’s quality enhancement plan (qep) that is currently underway as part of its accreditation with the southern association of colleges and schools commission on colleges (sascoc).

the qep is a key requirement for the accreditation process with sascoc which occurs every ten years to assure educational quality and continually improve the effectiveness of member institutions.  brevard college is currently in the re-affirmation process of its sascoc accreditation and is moving forward in its execution of a dynamic quality enhancement plan.

the qep will provide a transformational vehicle for the college and in turn the student experience both in and out of the classroom through the concept of collaborative learning as a further improvement to the experiential education experience already in place at brevard college. 

“for the last 18 months, the brevard college faculty and staff engaged in conversations about how we could improve experiential education across campus,” said dr. scott sheffield, brevard college vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty.  “the consensus was that we should focus on improving faculty, staff, and student understanding of collaborative learning as it is an essential part of experiential education in many settings, both inside and outside the classroom.”

examples of collaborative learning will include intensive learning experiences such as the Wilderness Leadership & experiential education major’s immersion trips, the annual new student experience of Creek Week and the Learning in Community program.  collaborative learning initiatives will extend into bc’s athletics department with projects ranging an improved academic study hall program to new experiences for student-athletes within the team environment.  these experiences will prepare the bc students to be more effective collaborators during both their college experience and in their post-graduate careers.  

“focusing on collaborative learning over the next five years as a part of our quality enhancement plan for sacscoc will transform the way we do teaching and learning at brevard college and enhance, in a very unique way, the already outstanding educational experience we give our students,” added dr. sheffield. “brevard college students will be better prepared to live and work in a 21st century world that will require them to work collaboratively with others for the benefit of all.”

the college’s qep steering committee, representing a broad spectrum of campus has provided leadership to begin the transformation of bringing collaborative learning into reality.  sheffield, dr. debbie d’anna (vice president for student success), dr. jennifer kafsky (chair of experiential education division), myranda nash (director of athletics), brandon smith (associate dean of academic affairs for student success) and dr. josh wilkey (director of institutional effectiveness) comprise the committee.

sascoc recently held a “virtual” on-site visit to brevard college and is currently providing feedback to the steering committee.  next up for brevard college in the qep process will be a rollout of the collaborative learning qep in the fall of 2021 followed by ongoing assessment to allow for continual improvement.  as the collaborative learning qep continues to evolve, the bc students will continue to benefit from these transformational improvements upon the already existing cornerstone of experiential education.

“the qep of collaborative learning will invite us as a campus community to deepen our experiential mission,” summarized dr. wilkey.  “this renewed focus will make it even more meaningful for our students to engage in experiential education for the years to come.”