"It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things." - Unknown
What's Going On with AQIP This Year?
We are now in the final year of our seven year reaccreditation cycle. This is the year when AQIP reviews our progress, including our participation in strategy Forums, our Systems Portfolio, our current and past Action Projects, the findings of the Quality Checkup visit, and a Quality Update document which was submitted earlier this semester. By next September we will be informed of our status and whether we have been reaccredited for another seven years.Systems Portfolio Revision
Every four years, AQIP requires us to submit an updated Systems Portfolio. The Strategic Planning Team has just kicked off this project with the formulation of category review teams. The nine AQIP categories (and the overview section) will be individually reviewed and revised, and then the whole document assembled and submitted. Don't be surprised if you are asked to serve on a Category Review Team. Please welcome it as an honor - it means you are perceived as a person with knowledge and experience vital to that area of the institution's operations. We will be working on this project all year long, with the revised Portfolio to be submitted in September of 2010. One exciting difference is that our new Portfolio will be fully web-based.
Something to Celebrate
Learning to take smaller bites
Remember when we first started with AQIP? Those huge, save-the-world kinds of projects that we undertook that took three years to complete? Those days are gone. We've learned to take smaller bites and to formulate clearly defined projects with a shorter time frame for completion. We are happy to announce that in the last year we completed four AQIP projects and are ready to undertake new ones. More importantly, the results of these projects are noticeable. We have integrated AQIP with Strategic Planning, we have a formal program development process in place, we have completed the preliminary phase of the revision of our AQIP Systems Portfolio, and have launched an entirely new website. Further details are below. Another bonus: smaller projects mean more frequent celebrations!
Completion of four AQIP Action Projects in 2008-09
In 2008-09, the Strategic Planning Team witnessed an explosion of action projects designed to improve the quality of education at MCC. No less than 23 projects were formulated. As of September, 2009, seven had been completed, two retired, and fourteen others were still active. Only four of those 23 projects were designated as official AQIP projects. Those four are listed in the next column. (continued in next column)
A...QUiP of the Month:"To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time." - Leonard Bernstein
(continued from previous column)
1. Integration of AQIP and Strategic Planning through use of an action project framing document.
After our recognition at the 2008 Strategy Forum that MCC is already an institution committed to continuous improvement and that it already had a structure set up to support it (the Strategic Planning Team), we were able to merge two separate teams into one. The AQIP Steering Team was folded into SPT and our AQIP Action Projects are no longer held or managed separately from our other quality improvement projects. This simplification has greatly reduced confusion and increased efficiency. The process has been much aided by the adoption of an action project framing document. AQIP has commended us for this project, noting that "[MCC] has institutionalized the process for continuous change through its Strategic Planning Team. The development of a document to track and monitor the implementation of action projects is a very important aspect of institutionalizing continuous quality improvements across the institution. We commend MCC for seeking assessment, quality-driven change, and the careful use of time and resources."
All of MCC's Continuous Improvement Action Projects can be viewed on the website. http://www.morgancc.edu/about-mcc/accreditationaqip/action-projects
2. Creation of a Formal Program Development Process
The purpose of this project is clearly conveyed in its title. As Betty McKie, Vice President of Instruction explains, "In the Fall of 2008, a process was devised that moves ideas for programs and courses through a series of steps and ensures that appropriate consideration is given to the viability of implementing those that fit the college's mission and strategic plan." In Spring 2009, the process was implemented with several pilot projects. These projects allowed us to make changes as needed in order to ensure the most efficient practices are being used. AQIP notes in its review that "This is an important Action Project that reflects AQIP Categories (1) Helping Students Learn, (2) Understanding Students' and Other Stakeholders' Needs, (6) Supporting Institutional Operations, (8) Planning Continuous Improvement, and (9) Building Collaborative Relationships." The AQIP review also notes, "It is apparent that the institution understands the import of utilizing a process for determining the feasibility of adopting new programs and courses. With this process in place, the institution is in a better position to meet the needs of its students."
3. Updating the Systems Portfolio to align with the AQIP 2008 Category Revisions
In 2008, AQIP issued a revision to its Systems Portfolio guidelines, which will be binding on us when we undertake our next Portfolio revision. Though this revision is not due until September, 2010, as a proactive step, the Writing Team began the process of converting our Portfolio over to it. In essence, we've implemented the structural changes to the Portfolio; what are left are the content changes. The results of this work will be felt by anyone involved in this year's Portfolio revision project: there should be fewer blood, sweat and tears.
No feedback from AQIP on this project at this time.
4. Website Enhancement
This is by far the most visible of last year's projects. The results can be seen when we go online: the development of our new website (and the hiring of its developer, Webmaster Terri Eades).
No feedback from AQIP on this project at this time.