AQIP stands for Academic Quality Improvement Program. It is a project of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA), which is the organization that accredits institutions of higher education in this region. AQIP is modeled on the principles of Continuous Improvement (CI).
Traditional Accreditation Process
In the past, when Kirtland applied for re-accreditation, a group of individuals worked on committees and wrote a document describing the College. This process took about two years and resulted in a document (called a Self-Study) that was sent to the North Central Association (NCA). After reviewing the Self-Study, the NCA sent a team of surveyors to our campus for an on-site review. Kirtland Community College last underwent this process in 1998-1999 and was given the maximum ten-year reaccreditation at that time.
AQIP Accreditation Process
Several years ago, the Higher Learning Commission of NCA developed an alternative form of accreditation based on the principles of Continuous Improvement. This alternative accreditation is AQIP. In the AQIP version of accreditation, colleges identify three or four action projects that address areas that are problems or opportunities for improvement. The colleges work on those action projects and submit periodic reports to the HLC about their progress. This accreditation process works towards the specific areas that Kirtland identifies and want to improve – a more useful and practical process.
Continuous Improvement Principles
AQIP is modeled on the principles of Continuous Improvement (CI). CI incorporates a variety of ideas about how to make organizations better. Some of the important principles of Continuous Improvement philosophy in an education institution include:
- Everything we do should be focused on improving student learning – which includes classroom activities, but also all the other functions at the college that support students and staff in their work.
- Processes often involve people and departments throughout the college, so improvement efforts should include people who know that process best, and who work in different departments.
- Decisions should be made based on evidence – which means that we need to gather information about how well processes are working now, and what we should focus on to make them work even better.
Continuous improvement is already a part of Kirtland Community College!
Kirtland’s Vision Statement: We will continue to accomplish our mission in a changing environment, through constant evaluation of the relevance and quality of our offerings and services and by keeping a steady focus on our commitment to identify and provide whatever is most needed by our constituents, always striving for excellence and efficiency in everything we do.
Continuous Improvement principled projects we are currently involved with:
- TSB and TSPS
- Instructional Assessment of Student Outcome at the departmental level
- General Education Core Competency Project
- Writing Across the Curriculum
- Satisfaction Surveys