Every AQIP institution sends eight people to a Strategy Forum every four years, cycled with the Systems Portfolio. The NMU Portfolio document was submitted in May 2010, we received the Systems Appraisal document in October 2010 and participated in the Forum in May 2011, giving us time to discuss the Appraisal. The Forum, an intensive three-day planning retreat held near Chicago, focused on two topics: a priority item identified in the Systems Appraisal as needing improvement and strategies to advance the quality culture.
AQIP facilitators guide the institutional teams through 15 structured exercises. Participating schools are groups together for individual and group exercises.
AQIP groups all functions of a university into nine categories, scoring each category using specific questions and answers in the Systems Portfolio. NMU chose to focus on Category 5: Leading and Communicating, basing it decision on appraisal comments, discussions and feedback from the President’s Cabinet, Academic Cabinet, Finance & Admin. The team submitted the Category Improvement Worksheet prior to the Forum. Forum exercises helped focus on issues, current state and strategies to reach a desired future state, and outlined an Action Project Charter.
Regardless of whether it goes by the “AQIP” brand name or the concept labels of “continuous improvement” or “quality improvement”, accredited institutions need a quality culture where goals to improve are the norm. Prior to the Strategy Forum AQIP expects teams to gather perceptions and reflect on the current state of its quality efforts. These documents were submitted to AQIP:
Forum exercises used these perceptions as the starting point for strategizing how to improve our quality culture.
The Forum is attended by top university administrators and representatives of the campus community related to the selected priority. NMU participants for 2011 were President Les Wong, Vice President and Provost Susan Koch, Vice President of Finance & Admin. Gavin Leach, Human Resource Director Ann Sherman, Communications & Marketing Director Cindy Paavola, Associate Provost Terry Seethoff, Associate Provost Bill Bernard, AQIP Coordinator Sandi Poindexter
The team drafted an Action Project on the subject of Leading and Communicating and solicits campus feedback by August 1, 2011. The draft will also be reviewed externally by another AQIP institution before being submitted to AQIP by August 31, 2011.