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Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP)

The AQIP Pathway

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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.


In 2006, Columbus State began participating in a new HLC Accreditation program, the Academic Quality Improvement Program, or AQIP. This eight-year accreditation pathway is based on the quality improvement principles of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Program.

The Systems Portfolio is a key element of AQIP. This 125-page report focuses on institutional improvement processes. Revised in 2014, the six Portfolio categories provide a detailed framework that institutions can use to chart their quality progress and explore new opportunities for improvement.

  • 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 explains 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 details the management of the fiscal, physical, technological, and information infrastructures designed to provide an environment in which learning can thrive.
  • Category 6: Quality Overview covers the culture and infrastructure of the institution. This category gives the institution a chance to reflect on improvement initiatives, how they are integrated, and how they contribute to improvement of the institution..                                              

Strat For 2015


Columbus State joined nineteen other colleges and universities at a recent Strategy Forum session.  Attending were, from left, Carmen Daniels, Allysen Todd, Kelly Weir, Jennifer Anderson, Bruce Massis, President Harrison, David Tom, and Diane Walleser.


 Other AQIP Components

  • 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 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

Our success is measured not only by the high quality of our staff and facilities but in a commitment to setting Columbus State standards above the norm.

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. One example is the Columbus State Quality Awards which recognize faculty, staff and project teams for their CQI efforts.