Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP)

Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP)Launched in July 1999 with a generous grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Academic Quality Improvement Program infuses the principles and benefits of continuous improvement into the culture of colleges and universities by providing an alternative process through which an already-accredited institution can maintain its accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. With AQIP, an institution demonstrates it meets accreditation standards and expectations through sequences of events that align with those ongoing activities that characterize organizations striving to improve their performance. In the spirit of continuous improvement that characterizes the AQIP model, HLC leadership recently reviewed all AQIP elements and, in 2014, redesigned the AQIP Categories, Systems Portfolio, and Strategy Forum; as well as revising the AQIP timeline to align with an eight-year reaffirmation cycle.

Major elements and requirements of the AQIP program include:

  • Action Projects - Each institution must develop a minimum of three Action Projects focused on promoting student learning and responding to opportunities for improving problems or challenges. Action Projects are always aligned with one of six AQIP Categories. The institution reports to AQIP annually on progress or completion of Action Projects and new Action Projects are developed to replace completed projects.
    Current Action Projects at Aims Community College include:
    • Designing Systems to Measure Effectiveness
    • Determining the Needs of Underserved Students
    • Transforming Early Alert to Enhance Student Success
    • Creating a Seamless and Intentional Career Engagement Continuum
  • Systems Portfolio (submitted every four years) This one-hundred page public document describes and analyzes fundamental institutional systems centered around six AQIP categories.
  • Systems Appraisal (also every four years) Submission of the Systems Portfolio initiates an appraisal conducted by a panel of trained reviewers. Through both independent and consensus review processes, feedback represents the teams shared views of institutional strengths and opportunities for improvement.
  • Strategy Forum - a few months after receipt of the Systems Appraisal, AQIP institutions send teams to participate in a Strategy Forum, at which the team receives guidance on development of new Action Projects and participate in peer review of initiatives for continuous improvement.
  • Comprehensive Quality Review (every eight years) Conducted one year prior to reaffirmation of accreditation, this two-day visit is conducted by a trained two-person team. The purpose of this visit is to assure accreditation issues have been addressed, spot-check accuracy of the Systems Portfolio and affirm the institutions commitment to quality improvement. Aims will finish out the old seven-year cycle with a CQR in the fall of 2017.  The college will then move into the new eight-year cycle of reaffirmation of accreditation.
    AQIP Quality Checkup Visit Report 2009
  • Reaffirmation of Accreditation - Following the Comprehensive Quality Review, an AQIP Pathway Review Panel of Reaffirmation will review the College’s record of activity and determine whether the institution meets HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation and have complied with Federal Regulations.  
    Reaffirmation of Accreditation, April 26, 2011