Launched in July 1999 with a generous grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Academic Quality Improvement Program infuses the principles and benefits of continuous improvement into the culture of colleges and universities by providing an alternative process through which an already-accredited institution can maintain its regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. With AQIP, an institution demonstrates it meets accreditation standards and expectations through sequences of events that align with those ongoing activities that characterize organizations striving to improve their performance. AQIP’s Principles of High Performance Organizations—Focus, Involvement, Leadership, Learning, People, Collaboration, Agility, Foresight, Information, and Integrity—are critical for organizations seeking to achieve a systematic approach to continuous quality improvement.
To ensure institutions are focused on key processes and continuous improvement activities that help them achieve their goals, AQIP provides a framework which includes nine key categories. Each AQIP category focuses on a related group of key processes and encourages institutions to analyze and explore opportunities for improving these processes and understanding the interrelationships among them. The nine categories include:
- Helping Students Learn
- Accomplishing Other Distinctive Objectives
- Understanding Students’ and Other Stakeholders’ Needs
- Valuing People
- Leading and Communicating
- Supporting Institutional Operations
- Measuring Effectiveness
- Planning Continuous Improvement
- Building Collaborative Relationships
Based on the AQIP categories, institutions identify Action Projects. The selection of Action Projects is designed to be the kickoff for a continuous series of projects, the successfully completed projects accumulating into a visible record of the institution’s quality improvement activities over time. For an overview of Southwestern College’s active and/or completed action projects, visit the AQIP Action Project Directory. Professional Studies maintains at least one active Action Project at all times.
For more information about AQIP (e.g., Strategy Forums, Systems Portfolios, Systems Appraisals), visit the Higher Learning Commission AQIP website.