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Quality Enhancement Plan

MCU’s QEP: Creative and Innovative Complex Problem Solving

For over a decade, service posture statements and defense professionals have declared that future military leaders must prepare for an uncertain, complex environment in which wicked problems reign, resources dwindle, and unintended consequences dominate decision matrices. A strong grasp of history, refined analytical capacity, and an appreciation of doctrine are key to succeeding in this environment, but are insufficient on their own. The Center will focus on developing three concrete skill sets among MCU students: creativity and innovation to enable complex problem solving. Each is critical to the 21st century warfighter as both our adversaries and our operating environment grow more complex. Creativity is defined as the “production of novelty.” It encompasses developing an effective and unexpected departure from the familiar. Innovation is the process of using creativity to produce solution to recognized (and not yet recognized) problems. Complex problem solving is defined as solving multi-variant, dynamically interactive problems in situations of ambiguity. This QEP has identified three primary program goals:

  1. improve students’ creative and innovative complex problem solving skills;
  2. prepare civilian and military faculty successfully to create learning environments that enable creativity, innovation, and complex problem solving; and,
  3. create mechanisms to integrate student research and learning opportunities across MCU and with larger USMC and DOD planning and development initiatives.

By developing an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish and by honing students’ capacity for creativity, innovation, and complex problem solving, MCU will enhance student learning, fully meet the mission and vision of the university, and position students to be more competent leaders and decision makers in the challenging times ahead.

About the QEP

The SACS Handbook on Institutions Seeking Reaffirmation notes:


The QEP describes a carefully designed course of action that addresses a well-defined and focused topic or issue related to enhancing student learning and/or the environment supporting student learning and accomplishing the mission of the institution. The QEP should be embedded within the institution’s ongoing integrated institution-wide planning and evaluation process and may very well evolve from this existing process or from other processes related to the institution’s internal reaffirmation review. As one of the two required elements of the reaffirmation process, the QEP allows the MCU community to think critically about how we can better educate our students and then implement a concrete action plan to do so. The QEP extends to all students at MCU, including those located across the globe at our different SNCO Academies and enrolled in our CDET programs. It is an important opportunity to evaluate and improve how we prepare our students to face an increasingly complex, austere, and demanding environments. As such, its development will serve as a core mission of the MCU Faculty and Staff during AY 13-14 and AY 14-15.


SACS identifies “Core Requirements” (binding requirements that must be met to qualify the university for reaffirmation) and “Comprehensive Standards” (requirements focused specifically on the operations of the university). These Core Requirements and Comprehensive Standards identify the specific standards by which SACS will evaluate our reaffirmation. The Core Requirement governing the QEP is CR 2.12:

The institution has developed an acceptable Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that includes an institutional process for identifying key issues emerging from institutional assessment and focuses on learning outcomes and/or the environment supporting student learning and accomplishing the mission of the institution. (Quality Enhancement Plan)

The Comprehensive Standard governing the QEP is CS 3.3.2:

The institution has developed a Quality Enhancement Plan that (1) demonstrates institutional capability for the initiation, implementation, and completion of the QEP; (2) includes broad-based involvement of institutional constituencies in the development and proposed implementation of the QEP; and (3) identifies goals and a plan to assess their achievement. (Quality Enhancement Plan)