AQIP (Academic Quality Improvement Program)
In Spring 2010 an application was made to The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) for North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) to participate in the Academic Quality Improvement Program, thus replacing the traditional accreditation process.
AQIP is based on continuous quality improvement principles. Each institution must have at least three action projects underway at all times and at least one of the projects must be related to student learning.
As institutions work on their action projects, a systems portfolio must be developed and maintained online. Every year an annual report of progress is prepared for each action project and submitted to the HLC. Every four years the AQIP team attends a strategy forum and the institution’s systems portfolio is reviewed. Accreditation is reaffirmed every seven years if the institution provides adequate evidence that it has followed AQIP guidelines and has met expectations.
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 focuses on 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 addresses management of the fiscal, physical, technological, and information infrastructures designed to provide an environment in which learning can thrive.
Category Six: Quality Overview focuses on the Continuous Quality Improvement culture and infrastructure of the institution. This category gives the institution a chance to reflect on all its quality improvement initiatives, how they are integrated, and how they contribute to improvement of the institution.