The Director
Why Writing?

[ A B O U T ]


Summer 2005: In order to be accredited as a four-year school by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur GA. 30033, (404) 679-4500, institutions must gain approval on Core Requirement #12, which is the development of an institution-wide Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). A QEP’s objective is to improve the quality of student learning at an institution. The first stage of the QEP process, then, is to identify a QEP topic.

In June, Keiser College began its QEP topic identification process by sending itsQEP Committee Chair and several QEP Committee members to each of its thirteen campuses to discuss reaffirmation requirements with faculty, staff, and administration. The following month, faculty focus groups were established on each campus to identify potential QEP topics. These faculty gathered
information from various community members at their campuses and developed lists of potential QEP topics.

When the faculty focus groups completed their assignments, they submitted their potential QEP topic lists to the QEP Committee Chair and the Department of Institutional Research, Planning, and Assessment (IRPA). The Committee Chair and IRPA reviewed the lists and created a “Top 10” list of potential QEP topics, ranking the topics based on a frequency scale.

IRPA then conducted a college-wide online survey of faculty, staff, and administrators, listing the ten potential topics and asking participants to choose the one topic they would like to see as the focus of the Quality Enhancement Plan. IRPA ranked ordered the results again, identifying the top five topics as potential QEP projects. The following table shows a breakdown of survey results.

Keiser College QEP Topic Selection Survey Results

Keiser College QEP Topic Selection Survey Results



Number of Votes

Percentage of Total Vote

Faculty Development in Instructional Methods



Instructional Design: Using Technology Innovatively in the Classroom



Math Curriculum Enhancement



English Language Curriculum Enhancement (Written)



English Language Curriculum Enhancement (Verbal/Speech)



Faculty Training in English as a Second Language



Writing Across the Curriculum



Student Success Skills



Student Services learning Center: Soft Skills Development



Faculty Mentoring Program







Upon reviewing the results, IRPA combined the English Language Curriculum Enhancement (Written) and Writing Across the Curriculum topics given the close relation of their subject matter. The survey results also showed that, as separate topics, these two were tied for fifth, each garnering 34 votes, so each was already defined as a top five topic.

The survey data showed the top five vote getters: Student Success Skills; Instructional Design: Using Technology Innovatively in the Classroom; Writing Across the Curriculum: Enhancing Student Learning and Written Communication Skills (combined); Faculty Development in Instructional Methods; and Student Services learning Center: Soft Skills Development.

Fall 2005: These five topics were then turned into white papers by QEP subcommittees, which were comprised of several instructors with a resource person for research and support. These faculty subcommittees then conducted in-depth research on their topics, which resulted in the creation of “white papers.” These subcommittees presented their white papers at the 2005 Annual Faculty Convocation in October.

  • White Paper #1: Student Success Skills. This paper suggested that students receive training in note-taking and other classroom success skills.
  • White Paper #2: Using Instructional Technology to Improve Student Learning Outcomes. Faculty felt this topic could help students use technology effectively in classrooms and that technology would provide instructors with resources to improve instructional delivery.
  • White Paper #3: Improving Students’ Critical Thinking Skills through Innovative Teaching Methods. This paper suggested that faculty focus on helping students develop their critical-thinking abilities and problem-solving capacities and apply them in “real world” situations.
  • White Paper #4: Maximizing the Employability of Keiser College Students. This topic focused on teaching students necessary job-type skills of the modern work world.
  • White Paper #5: Writing Across the Curriculum: Enhancing Student Learning and Written Communication Skills. This was the initial conceptualization of this white paper. However, it was revised to reflect the essence of what the faculty thought students should know and be able to do, which was to improve writing skills.

A post-convocation faculty online survey administered by IRPA showed that faculty were most interested in implementing White Paper #5. These survey results indicated that faculty believed improving student writing skills would have the most significant impact on student learning. Thus, White Paper #5 evolved into the Keiser Writes program, which is a value-added learning experience designed to increase students’ opportunities for academic, professional, and personal success. A part of this value-added experience would be the development of a college-wide writing center.

Spring–Winter 2006: In order to determine a current level of student writing, the College collected data from a series of writing assignments issued in three of its core courses, English Composition, American Literature, and Psychology. Instructors of these courses collected these assignments and assessed them using a standard rubric designed by Keiser College faculty and administrators. This project was initiated in May and data was collected through December.

In July 2006, the College hired a Director of the Writing Program to develop the College’s writing center, which would operate in both onsite and online formats. The rationale for offering onsite, at Ft. Lauderdale, and online writing assistance was that (a) the main campus of the College offers the most programs and contains the most diverse student population, which reflects a representative sample of the entire College’s student population; and (b) an online environment makes writing services available to the entire student population, regardless of location.

Fall 2006: During this period, the Director of the Writing Program worked closely with faculty and the Office of Academic Affairs in developing what would now be called The Writing Studio at Keiser University. (Keiser College officially became Keiser University in November 2006.) It was the hope of all involved that the term “Studio” would imply a more creative, artistic, productive environment where all writers are welcome to work on their craft. In October, physical space on the 6th floor of the Fort Lauderdale campus was dedicated to housing the onsite Writing Studio. The Keiser Writes website was also introduced.

By the end of October, a SACS Onsite Committee had visited numerous Keiser College campuses, including Ft. Lauderdale, and approved Keiser Writes as the College’s QEP. Construction of the Writing Studio began soon thereafter.