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Panther PACE

Pathways for Academic Communities and Engagement

What is a QEP?

A Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is a five-year plan to enhance student learning and/or success. The QEP is rooted in the institution's ongoing comprehensive planning and evaluation process and is an essential component of the College's reaffirmation of accreditation through SACSCOC.

Palm Beach State's QEP Panther PACE: Pathways for Academic Communities and Engagement enhances student success through increased student engagement and employee professional development. Panther PACE will:

  • Create Academic Community-based events to connect students to College resources, faculty, staff, and fellow students
  • Provide employee professional development in Student Development Theory

Cover of Panther PACE

About Panther PACE

The focus of Panther PACE is to connect students to College resources, faculty and staff, and fellow students using Academic Community (AC) events to increase student engagement, resulting in higher levels of retention. Each Pathway will have an Academic Community, and events will be created intentionally across student lifecycle to connect students to their Academic Community, ensure students explore the possibilities that exist within their pathway, and support students based on where they are in their degree progress to give them what they need to be successful then and to prepare for their next step.  Additionally, faculty and staff involved in Panther PACE will create workshops that focus on Student Development Theory to invest in the College’s best resource – faculty and staff – to ensure they have opportunities to learn more about how they can support students.

Professional Development opportunities on Student Development Theory will be offered through Professional Learning Groups (PLGs) by Academic Community so faculty and staff across the College with the connection by pathway can come together to learn with each other and grow.  Through participation, PLG members will support each other in exploring Student Development Theory, creating assignments or interventions that apply principles of the theories, and discuss outcomes of the implementation of those ideas.  Membership will offer a supportive network of colleagues with wide ranging perspectives and experiences that help each member grow as they engage in discussions about the student experience through the lens provided by Student Development Theory.  Workshops on Student Development Theory will also be offered to supplement PLG learning and provide development opportunities for those that cannot regularly attend a PLG. 

With the goal of increasing student success through intentional engagement by Academic Community, Panther PACE will result in:

  • increased student engagement
  • increased retention for engaged students
  • increased faculty and staff application of Student Development Theory in student interactions

Panther PACE plays a key role in furthering the mission of Palm Beach State to engage students and provide student-centered learning experiences that transform lives.

2021-2022 Pilot Year Updates

  • In October 2021, the College created an 8th pathway to support students as they explore majors.  As a result, the college created the Deciding Academic Community to support students in this journey.

  • The QEP Team, IRE, and Student Activities reviewed past activity data to define a baseline level of "engagement" and create QEP dashboards to easily explore data.  The analysis showed an overall fall to fall retention rate of 53.25% for all students, but the retention rate jumps to 73.65% retention rate for students who attended at least one activity during the academic year.  However, approximately 70% of students reported not attending any college events within the first six weeks of the fall term.  Intentionally creating supportive activities by community and actively inviting them in to participate is crucial to foster college-going behaviors, especially to better target students that may feel disengaged.

  • Academic Communities are creating events to engage students in their pathway, and existing events are being categorized by pathway.  Events are visible in the College's calendar and Engage:

What's going on this year?

The Panther PACE team is partnering with IRE and multiple Panther Strong action teams to complete the following:

  • Support Academic Community leaders in the execution of QEP-related events. Parallel to this is supporting the Communities as they continue to mature and grow.  Activities include creating identity statements, supporting them in learning Engage and record-keeping tools, and providing student data by pathway so they can identify needs specific to their students.

  • Subject matter experts are working with the CTLE and other College professional development outlets to create workshops and other development opportunities around Student Development Theory.  The format and expectations of the Professional Learning Groups (PLGs) are also being finalized.



QEP Development

Panther PACE is the result of a multi-semester, collaborative effort

QEP topic selection started in our strategic planning process and involved input from students, faculty, staff, and community members.

Teams submitted initial proposals in alignment with PBSC's strategic planning process, which were reviewed by multiple teams and the Clusters, who suggested combining the top proposals together.

The QEP team hosted College-wide in-person and virtual forums, eight in total, where topics were reviewed, favored pieces were selected, and participants gave suggestions for how to combine.

The combined top two proposals, linked below, were released for a final vote, and the College community chose to focus on Student Experience and Support.  The QEP Team took this topic and the forum feedback and worked to create Panther PACE.

Critical thinking

From 2012-2017, Palm Beach State implemented its first QEP with a College-wide focus on critical thinking. Resources and virtual workshops developed for the QEP are available here.

Learn more about helping students develop and apply critical thinking skills with online and campus resources

Download the QEP Critical Thinking Guide

Professional Learning Groups offer participatory forums to investigate critical thinking as it applies to teaching, learning, and serving students.

The 2012-2017 summary, full QEP document, and reports may be viewed here.


QEP Contact Info

Erin E. Sullivan, QEP Manager

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