Accreditation - AQIP

Central Community College was approved as an AQIP school in 2002 by the Higher Learning Commission.

Accreditation

The U.S. Department of Education defines accreditation as the process of being validated as a viable post-secondary instructional institution by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a regional accreditation agency.

The HLC approved Central Community College to participate in the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) in 2002. AQIP provides an alternative evaluation process for colleges already accredited by the HLC and is based on continuous quality improvement rather than methods used in past accreditation models.

AQIP

AQIP involves a structured set of goal-setting, networking and accountability activities. It uses direct, cost-effective processes including Strategy Forums, Systems Appraisals and various other services.

Why AQIP?

  • AQIP infuses the principles and benefits of continuous improvement into the culture of colleges and universities in order to assure and advance the quality of higher education.
  • AQIP allows an organization to demonstrate that it meets the HLC’s criteria for accreditation through processes that align with ongoing activities that characterize organizations striving continuously to improve their performance.

AQIP Principles

AQIP’s Principles of High Performance Organizations underlie all of its elements, activities and procedures. They represent the values that participating colleges, universities and AQIP itself strive to embody.

  • A mission and vision that focus on serving students’ and other stakeholders’ needs.
  • Leaders and leadership systems that support a quality culture.
  • Respect for people and willingness to invest in them.
  • Agility, flexibility and responsiveness to changing needs and conditions.
  • Fact-based information-gathering and thinking to support analysis and decision-making.
  • Broad-based faculty, staff and administrative involvement.
  • A learning-centered environment.
  • Collaboration and a shared institutional focus.
  • Planning for innovation and improvement.
  • Integrity and responsible institutional citizenship.

Source 

Accreditation Process

As AQIP is based on an ongoing quality improvement process, CCC is required to work on and report its progress on one quality improvement project  each year. Every four years all AQIP institutions conduct a detailed evaluation of their internal processes and generate a Systems Portfolio. This portfolio is externally reviewed by HLC representatives and a summary report (Systems Appraisal) provides valuable feedback that also guides CCC’s improvement efforts. Six months to a year later, the college sends a contingency of employees to a Strategy Forum to get feedback on its major improvement activities from representatives of other AQIP institutions at the forum. All of the actions described above come together to form the primary activities that support CCC’s accrediting process.

For more information about these activities, click on the corresponding step below.

Reaffirmation of Accreditation

This is the summary review that ends each seven-year period of participation in AQIP. An AQIP panel examines each organization’s Systems Portfolio and its last six years of Action Projects, Systems Appraisals and other interactions with AQIP and the HLC, including quality checkup reports and organizationally requested or HLC-sponsored visits. The panel documents any satisfactory evidence of compliance with the accreditation criteria, or if the evidence is incomplete, seeks and obtains additional  verification and then recommends to the HLC whether the institution can continue participating in AQIP or must face immediate action because it is failing to meet accreditation requirements.

View the Reaffirmation of Accreditation Report

Systems Portfolio

During the first four years of participation, an organization assembles a Systems Portfolio with broad faculty and staff involvement. This document is essential for the Systems Appraisal that AQIP conducts three years after the organization is accepted into AQIP. The portfolio consists of an organizational overview that details each of the major systems the organization will use to accomplish its mission and objectives. The organization answers questions that deal with analysis, processes, results and improvement. The overview presents a capsule picture that helps readers understand the organization’s key strengths and ambitions as well as the challenges and conflicts it faces.

The Systems Portfolio gives CCC an opportunity to explore and document how its current processes and systems work. The portfolio is also the focal point in planning for continuous quality improvement within the college. Please select the overview or category you are searching for.

2013 Systems Portfolio

Full Report
Index and Overview
1. Helping Students Learn
2. Accomplishing Other Distinctive Objectives
3. Understanding Students and Other Stakeholders' Needs
4. Valuing People
5. Leading and Communicating
6. Supporting Institutional Operations
7. Measuring Effectiveness
8. Planning Continuous Improvement
9. Building Collaborative Relationships

2009 Systems Portfolio

Overview
1. Helping Students Learn
2. Accomplishing Other Distinctive Objectives
3. Understanding Students and Other Stakeholders' Needs
4. Valuing People
5. Leading and Communicating
6. Supporting Institutional Operations
7. Measuring Effectiveness
8. Planning Continuous Improvement
9. Building Collaborative Relationships

2005 Systems Portfolio

Overview
1. Helping Students Learn
2. Accomplishing Other Distinctive Objectives
3. Understanding Students and Other Stakeholders’ Needs
4. Valuing People
5. Leading and Communicating
6. Supporting Institutional Operations
7. Measuring Effectiveness
8. Planning Continuous Improvement
9. Building Collaborative Relationships

Systems Appraisal

The Systems Appraisal complements the work embodied in Continuous Quality Improvement Projects (formerly called Action Projects) by asking the organization to examine its overall systems for maintaining quality. Following standardized evaluation procedures, the appraisal produces a consensus report that assesses the maturity, strengths and opportunities for improvement in each of the nine AQIP categories. In addition, the appraisal provides an executive summary that may serve as a concise report of the organization’s progress in its quality journey.

The Systems Appraisal provides a comprehensive examination of CCC conducted by a trained team composed primarily of higher education peer reviewers. In order to provide fresh and objective insights and perspectives, the team also included reviewers from outside higher education.

2006 Executive Summary
2006 Full Report
2010 Executive Summary
2010 Full Report
2014 Executive Summary
2014 Full Report

Strategy Forum

The Strategy Forum is a supportive, facilitated peer review process to help an organization select, examine and commit to a set of strategies and projects that will drive quality improvement. It also helps the organization address the AQIP categories that are most vital at the time.

Quality Check-Up Visit

During the seven-year cycle leading up to reaffirmation of accreditation, AQIP requires a site visit conducted by two or more trained evaluators who spend at least two days on campus. They determine whether the institution continues to meet the HLC’s accreditation criteria and is using quality management principles and building a culture of continuous improvement as AQIP participation requires. The quality checkup team produces a summary report that identifies those areas where the institution is in compliance with accreditation criteria as well as those that require additional clarification before accreditation is reaffirmed.

For more information, please open the report PDF file.
Quality Checkup Report

Continuous Quality Improvement Projects

These projects are short term in nature, generally six months to a year, and give CCC the opportunity to work on targeted quality improvement projects that strengthen its commitment to continuous improvement; educate and motivate faculty, staff and administrators; and improve systems and processes that lead to achieving organizational goals. At least one out of three or four projects relate directly to helping students learn. These projects used to be referred to as Action Projects but the name was revised after the 2007 Strategy Forum.

As part of the college’s overall quality improvement effort, each project is tied to an existing quality campaign and supports CCC’s mission and long-term objectives. All projects – current and completed – are entered into a searchable directory accessible here:

AQIP Action Project Directory