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Accreditation - AQIP

Central Community College was approved as an AQIP school in the summer of 2002 by NCA/ Higher Learning Commission and has been working continuously improving the processes in the institution.
  • Accreditation

    Accreditation is the process of being validated as a viable post-secondary instructional institution as defined by the US. Department of Education via the regional accreditation agency (Higher Learning Commission (NCA). Central Community College was approved as an AQIP school in the summer of 2002 by NCA/ Higher Learning Commission and has been working continuously improving the processes in the institution.

    Central Community College has participated in (AQIP) as its primary means of accreditation since 2002. AQIP provides an alternative evaluation process for Colleges already accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (NCA) and is based on continuous quality improvement vs. methods used in past accreditation models. In 2012 the Higher Learning Commission (NCA) integrated the (Pathway) model to all accreditation methods and at that time AQIP was renamed the AQIP Pathway. CCC has completed one full seven year reaffirmation cycle (as of January 2009). The College is scheduled to publish its third Systems Portfolio in October of 2013, followed by attending its sixth Strategy Forum in early 2014.


    The Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) provides an alternative evaluation process for organizations already accredited by the Commission. AQIP is structured around quality improvement principles and processes and involves a structured set of goal-setting, networking, and accountability activities. AQIP uses direct, cost-effective processes including AQIP’s Strategy Forums, Systems Appraisals, and various other services.

    AQIP’s Principles of High Performance Organizations describe the characteristics participating colleges and universities strive to embed within their culture. Research and experience indicate that these principles—Focus, Involvement, Leadership, Learning, People, Collaboration, Agility, Foresight, Information, and Integrity—permeate organizations that have achieved a systematic approach to continuous quality improvement.

    Why AQIP?

    • AQIP infuses the principles and benefits of continuous improvement into the culture of colleges and universities in order to assure and advance the quality of higher education.
    • AQIP allows an organization to demonstrate that it meets The Higher Learning Commission’s Criteria for Accreditation and other expectations through processes that align with the ongoing activities that characterize organizations striving continuously to improve their performance. 

    AQIP Principles

    AQIP’s principles of High Performance Organizations underlie all of AQIP’s elements, activities and procedures. They represent the values that participating colleges, universities, and AQIP itself strive to embody.

    • A mission and vision that focus on serving students’ and other stakeholders’ needs. 
    • Leaders and leadership systems that support a quality culture. 
    • Respect for people and willingness to invest in them. 
    • Agility, flexibility, and responsiveness to changing needs and conditions. 
    • Fact-based information-gathering and thinking to support analysis and decision-making. 
    • Broad-based faculty, staff, and administrative involvement. 
    • A learning-centered environment. 
    • Collaboration and a shared institutional focus. 
    • Planning for innovation and improvement.
    • Integrity and responsible institutional citizenship.


    Accreditation Process

    As AQIP is based on a ongoing quality improvement process the College is required to work on and report progress made on three or more quality improvement projects each year. Feedback from external review of these projects aids the College in planning it’s future improvement activities and supports ongoing improvement efforts. Every 4 years all AQIP institutions conduct a detailed evaluation of its internal processes and systems and from this evaluation it generates a Systems Portfolio. This portfolio is externally reviewed by representatives of the Higher Learning Commission and a summative report is generated (Systems Appraisal). The appraisal also provides valuable feedback that also guides the College improvement efforts. Additionally, around six months to a year after the appraisal is sent to the college the institution sends a contingency of employees to a Strategy Forum to get feedback on its major improvement activities. The feedback at the Strategy Forum is provided by representatives of other AQIP institutions attending the forum. All of the actions described above come together to form the primary activities in support of Central Community College’s accrediting process in AQIP.

    If you would like to see more information or recent documents relating to each of these activities please click on the corresponding step below.   

  • Reaffirmation of Accreditation is the summative review ending each seven year period of participation in AQIP. An AQIP Reaffirmation Panel examines each organization’s current Systems Portfolio and its last six years of Action Projects, Systems Appraisals, and other interactions with AQIP and the Commission, including reports of the Quality Checkup as well as any additional organizationally requested or Commission-sponsored visits. The Panel documents where it finds satisfactory evidence of compliance with each of the Criteria for Accreditation. In exceptional cases in which the evidence is incomplete, the Panel seeks and obtains additional facts or verification, ultimately recommending to the Commission’s Institutional Actions Council whether the institution meets the Criteria for Accreditation and whether it should permitted to continue participating in AQIP. Specific procedures dictate immediate action if the evidence available fails to confirm that an institution meets all of the Commission’s accreditation requirements.

    View the Reaffirmation of Accreditation Report

    During the first four years of participation, an organization assembles a Systems Portfolio with broad faculty and staff involvement. This document is essential for the Systems Appraisal that AQIP conducts three years after the organization is accepted to participate in AQIP. The Systems Portfolio consists of an Organizational Overview and explicates each of the major systems employed to accomplish an organization’s mission and objectives. The organization answers specific questions for each of the nine AQIP Categories. For each system, the questions deal with context for analysis, processes, results, and improvement. The Organizational Overview presents a capsule picture that helps readers understand the organization’s key strengths and ambitions, as well as the challenges and conflicts it faces.

    The systems Portfolio is the opportunity for Central Community College to explore and document how its current processes and systems work.  The Systems Portfolio is also the focal point in planning for continuous quality improvement within the college. Please select the overview or category you are searching for.

    2013 Systems Portfolio

    Full Report
    Index & Overview
    1. Helping Students Learn
    2. Accomplishing Other Distinctive Objectives
    3. Understanding Students and Other Stakeholders' Needs
    4. Valuing People
    5. Leading and Communicating
    6. Supporting Institutional Operations
    7. Measuring Effectiveness
    8. Planning Continuous Improvement
    9. Building Collaborative Relationships

    2009 Systems Portfolio

    1. Helping Students Learn
    2. Accomplishing Other Distinctive Objectives
    3. Understanding Students and Other Stakeholders' Needs
    4. Valuing People
    5. Leading and Communicating
    6. Supporting Institutional Operations
    7. Measuring Effectiveness
    8. Planning Continuous Improvement
    9. Building Collaborative Relationships

    2005 Systems Portfolio

    1. Helping Students Learn
    2. Accomplishing Other Distinctive Objectives
    3. Understanding Students and Other Stakeholders’ Needs
    4. Valuing People
    5. Leading and Communicating
    6. Supporting Institutional Operations
    7. Measuring Effectiveness
    8. Planning Continuous Improvement
    9. Building Collaborative Relationships

    The Systems Appraisal complements the intensive work embodied in the Action Projects by asking the organization to take stock of its overall systems for maintaining quality. It also provides stimulus for future Action Projects. Following standardized evaluation procedures, the Systems Appraisal produces a consensus Appraisal Feedback Report for the institution. This report assesses the maturity of each of the nine systems to which the AQIP Categories refer, identifying strengths and opportunities for improvement within each. In addition, the Systems Appraisal provides an executive summary that may serve as a concise report of the organization’s progress in its quality journey. 

    The Systems Appraisal conducted by the Academic Quality Improvement Program of The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools provides a comprehensive examination of Central Community College conducted by a trained team composed primarily of higher education peer reviewers. In order to provide fresh and objective insights and perspectives the team also included reviewers from outside higher education.

    2006 Executive Summary
    2006 Full Report
    2010 Executive Summary
    2010 Full Report
    2014 Executive Summary
    2014 Full Report

    The Strategy Forum is a supportive, facilitated peer review process to help an organization select, critically examine, and commit to a set of Strategies and Action Projects that will drive quality improvement. The Strategy Forum helps the organization address the AQIP Categories that are most vital at the time.

    During the seven-year cycle leading up to Reaffirmation of Accreditation, AQIP requires a site visit to each institution conducted by two or more trained evaluators who will spend at least two days on campus. These visits are conducted by trained, experienced AQIP Reviewers to determine whether the institution continues to meet The Higher Learning Commission’s Criteria for Accreditation, and whether it is using quality management principles and building a culture of continuous improvement as participation in the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) requires. The team prepares for the visit by reviewing relevant organizational and AQIP file materials. Quality Checkup visits occur in the two-year period before an organization’s scheduled Reaffirmation of Accreditation. The Quality Checkup team produces a written report summarizing its findings, identifying those areas the team has verified and/or clarified, and addressing the institution’s compliance with the Criteria for Accreditation, noting any areas that require additional clarification before Reaffirmation of Accreditation.

    For more information, please open the report PDF file. 
    Quality Checkup Report

    The Continuous Quality Improvement Projects (Action Projects)  are designed as short term projects (6 months to 1 year) that give Central Community College the opportunity to work on specific targeted quality improvement projects.The projects strengthen an organization’s commitment to continuous improvement; educate and motivate faculty, staff, and administrators; and improve systems and processes that lead to success in achieving organizational goals.  At least one out of three or four projects the organization concentrate relates directly to Helping Students Learn.  These projects use to be referred to as action projects but the name was revised after the 2007 Strategy Forum.

    As part of the college’s overall quality improvement effort each of these projects are tied to one of the existing quality campaigns as well as supporting the mission and long term objectives of the college. All  Projects are entered into a Web-based database containing all current and successfully completed Projects undertaken by AQIP participants. The Directory can be searched by organization by following below link, by the AQIP Categories related to a project, or by keywords, and it provides details and a contact person at the organization doing the project. 

    AQIP Action Project Directory