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Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP)
The Ohio AQIP Coalition hosted the HLC's Eric Martin at the annual October get-together at Columbus State. Flanking Eric is, left, Bruce Massis, Columbus State Accreditation Liaison Officer and, right, AQIP Faculty Fellow Dr. David Tom.
Academic Quality Improvement Program - AQIP
In 2006, Columbus State began participating in a new HLC Accreditation program, the Academic Quality Improvement Program, or AQIP. This annual program replaces the traditional ten-year review cycle and is based on the principles of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Program.
AQIP requires colleges and universities to complete a minimum of three measurable quality improvement projects each year. Peer reviewers, assigned by AQIP, evaluate the work and provide timely feedback.
The Revised AQIP Pathway Categories (2014) provide a framework that institutions can use to examine their key processes and allow institutions to analyze, understand, and explore opportunities for improvement. The use of the categories is fundamental to the development of the institution's Systems Portfolio.
Category One: Helping Students Learn focuses on the design, deployment, and effectiveness of teaching-learning processes (and on the processes required to support them) that underlie the institution's credit and non-credit programs and courses.
Category Two: Meeting Student and Other Key Stakeholder Needs addresses the key processes (separate from instructional programs and internal support services) through which the institution serves its external stakeholders in support of its mission.
Category Three: Valuing Employees explores the institution's commitment to the hiring, development, and evaluation of faculty, staff, and administrators.
Category Four: Planning and Leading focuses on how the institution achieves its mission and lives its vision through direction setting, goal development, strategic actions, threat mitigation, and capitalizing on opportunities.
Category Five: Knowledge Management and Resource Stewardship addresses management of the fiscal, physical, technological, and information infrastructures designed to provide an environment in which learning can thrive.
Category 6: Quality Overview focuses on the Continuous Quality Improvement culture and infrastructure of the institution. This category gives the institution a chance to reflect on all its quality improvement initiatives, how they are integrated, and how they contribute to improvement of the institution..
Other components of AQIP include:
- Strategy Forum - this regional meeting brings together teams from diverse colleges and universities for three days to generate and test new improvement strategies in a creative, supportive environment.
- Action Projects– a minimum of three substantive and measurable quality improvement undertakings per year.
- Systems Portfolio – a comprehensive report about the institution documenting school efforts in each of the nine AQIP categories.
- Systems Appraisal - an evaluation of the Systems Portfolio performed by AQIP reviewers every four years. This is an opportunity for an institution to receive expert feedback on its strengths and opportunities for improvement.
- Quality Check-up – a visit by a team of trained evaluators to affirm the accuracy of the institution's Systems Portfolio; progress of Action Projects and the school's overall compliance with accreditation expectations.
Continuous Quality Improvement - CQI
Many factors go into this effort including the adoption of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), an organizational framework based upon the guidelines of the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Awards program, and adapted by the Higher Learning Commission in their Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP).
While AQIP deals with accreditation-specific tasks, CQI provides a broad context for other process improvement work going on at the school. The CQI Steering Committee lends support to faculty, staff, and students on AQIP/acc matters. Now in their third year, the Columbus State Quality Awards recognize faculty, staff and project teams for their CQI efforts.