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Understanding AQIP (Academic Quality Improvement Project). Some slides and/or information have been borrowed with permission from their originators: 1. JoAnn Simser Office of the Chancellor, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities 2. Higher Learning Commission (HLC). PEAQ & AQIP.

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understanding aqip academic quality improvement project

Understanding AQIP(Academic Quality Improvement Project)

Some slides and/or information have been borrowed with permission from their originators:

1. JoAnn Simser Office of the Chancellor,

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities

2. Higher Learning Commission (HLC)



The HLC offers two programs

for achieving continued accreditation.


Program to Evaluate & Advance Quality

aqip or peaq an institutional choice
Reasons for AQIP


Culture for change

Strategic planning initiatives

Alignment with Accrediting Bodies

Credibility outside education

Involvement with quality initiatives

Leadership in Education

Reasons for PEAQ

Initial accreditation

(less than 2 cycles)



Traditional credibility


Lack of buy-in

Financial resources

Governance change

Leadership change


AQIP or PEAQ?An Institutional Choice

Preparing for the Future

Student Learning & Effective Teaching

Mission &






Acquisition, Discovery, & Application of Knowledge





10 Principles of High

Performance Oraganizations +

9 AQIP Categories:

aqip continuous improvement process
AQIP Continuous Improvement Process
  • Focuses on Results – Not procedures or organizational structure
  • Goal Oriented – Encourages flexible approaches
  • Common Vision – Fosters understanding and communications
  • Aligns all Resources – Supports innovation & diversity
step 1 explore the aqip option
Step #1 Explore the AQIP Option
  • Learn about AQIP, continuous improvement, and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award
  • Visit www.aqip.org
  • Talk to (or email) an AQIP staff person
  • Talk to (or email) an AQIP institution
  • Hold campus discussions about AQIP
step 2 the application process
Step #2 The Application Process
  • Hold a phone conference with Steve Spangehl
  • Conduct an organizational self-assessment
    • AQIP has two instruments (Vital Focus and AQIP Examiner)
  • Complete a formal application
after joining aqip
After Joining AQIP

Attend a Strategy Forum within one year of acceptance.

  • Choose three or four Actions Projects to complete
  • Learn how to prepare a Systems Portfolio (due 4 yrs. after admission)
  • The cycle repeats itself every 4 years

How WeDriveImprovement

How We Do Things

The Results We Get

The Systems Portfolio is a 75-100 page public document describing fundamental institutional processes and systems.


It covers the nine AQIP Categories and provides evidence that the institution continues to meet the HLC’s five Criteria for Accreditation


Created once over the first four years with AQIP, it is continually updated to reflect changes in the institution's systems and processes.

systems appraisal

Performed every four years by trained and experienced reviewers knowledgeable about quality improvement.

  • Provides confirmation of strengths and guidance on improvement opportunities.

Systems Appraisal


Separate independent and consensus review stages ensure feedback that represents the team’s shared view of institutional strengths and improvement opportunities



The blind review process focuses institutional attention on the feedback itself — rather than the reviewers

The appraisal panel includes representation from outside

higher education, enhancing the review’s credibility.

The valuable professional feedback report includes:
  • Summary rubrics (for public information)
  • Confidential, detailed, actionable comments and explanations (for institutional benefit and improvement)
quality checkup site visit

Quality Checkup Site Visit

  • Two or more evaluators for two or more days on campus
  • Evaluators read Systems Appraisal Feedback Report , HLC’s internal Organizational Profile, and an institution report to AQIP
  • Normally occurs in the three year period prior to an organization’s scheduled Reaffirmation of Accreditation (every 7 years).
quality checkup visit goals

Affirm accuracy of online Systems Portfolio and verify information in the portfolio

Review with leaders Action Projects and strategies to capitalize on strengths and opportunities for improvement

Assure organization’s continued quality improvement commitment

Confirm compliance with accreditation expectations and provide counsel on issues that require immediate attention

Review and update the relationship between the institution and the Commission

Quality Checkup Visit Goals