Office of Institutional Effectiveness

AQIP Action Projects

How Action Projects Function in AQIP
Action Projects were never envisioned as part of a "cycle" — a closed loop, in which an institution attended a Strategy Forum, chose three projects, completed them, and then put quality improvement efforts into hibernation until its next Strategy Forum. The first Strategy Forum and the selection of Action Projects was designed to be the kickoff for a continuous series of projects, and successfully completed projects, accumulating into a visible record of the institution's quality improvement activities.
For AQIP, the knowledge that institutions are working on a series of concrete improvement projects provides minimal evidence that quality improvement is alive at the institution. For that reason, AQIP asks institutions to always have underway, and share with AQIP at least three Action Projects. If an institution completes a project, AQIP assumes it will begin a new one, using the knowledge and skills gained from its earlier projects to select, shape, and scope the replacements.
The logic Behind Action Projects (Threefold

1. Means of focusing institutions joining AQIP and working on three or four projects to devote their efforts to quality improvement; force institutions to develop the superstructure(s) necessary to organize and oversee a quality initiative; make institutions engage faculty and staff in selection of projects, and empower employees by using them on project teams; open an avenue for peer interaction, feedback, and review beginning with the first Strategy Forum.
2. Second, Action Projects provide institutions a finite and concrete place to begin their quality improvement efforts, without the extended deliberation and delay that often comes with larger strategic planning activities in higher education. For many institutions, action is the antidote to continued stagnation, and the specific choice of project is less critical than the communication of a shared sense of activity, movement, and purpose. A demonstration of shared efforts will change things for the better, and is an important result of these first projects.
3. Third, in the design of Action Projects, the institution would have time to gather data for Systems Portfolio, working towards an institutionally-understood summary of current processes and performance, and the benchmark for future improvement efforts. The concrete activity of the projects, and the fruit they bear, quickly serves to balance what might otherwise seem a long-term, rather theoretical, but essential activity with a deferred payoff, creating the Systems Portfolio. For institutions to join AQIP and spend the first three years solely gathering data and producing a portfolio has little likelihood of becoming an appealing accreditation program.
NWACC Action Projects
Action Project # (2013-Present) – Identifying NWACC Students’ Preferred Communication Methods
Through use of focus groups, student surveys and research of best practices at similar institutions, we hope to determine which method(s) of communication students prefer the college utilize to maximize the dissemination of college information to current NWACC students.
Action Project # (2013-Present) – Business Development Kaizen Continuous improvement
The Corporate Learning Business Development unit has expanded its staff to 5 full time employees who are engaged with developing and delivering contracted training solutions for business and government entities throughout the NWACC service area. Their workload has more than doubled within a very short time frame. This project will help them to become more efficient, reduce needless duplication of effort, identify business gaps, and increase the turnaround time on contracted services.
Action Project #5158 (2012-Present) – Student Loan Default Management
Develop and implement a default management plan as recommended by the Department of Education. A default management plan will outline how the college proposes to assist student borrowers with financial literacy, wise borrowing, and successful repayment of student loans. It’s apparent that student success is closely tied to repayment. 
Application, Annual Update, Update Feedback
Action Project #5338 (2012-2013) – Strategically Aligning K-12 Programming & Recruitment
This project will develop a seamless alignment of efforts in High School Relation, Admissions and Faculty for providing academic choice and college transition programs to K-12 students and parents. This goal would be accomplished through formal collaborations and planning between the offices that provide outreach services and faculty on campus. 
Application, Annual Update, Update Feedback, and Closing Outcomes
Action Project #5337 (2012-2013) – College & University Articulation Agreements & Memorandums of Understanding
The project will review the processes the college uses to enter in articulation agreements and MOU’s for inefficiencies. The project will then recommend changes to current processes with the goal of having one unified process for all departments when entering in articulation agreements and MOU’s.
Application, Annual Update, Update Feedback, and Closing Outcomes
Action Project #4680 (2011-2012) – Student Course Evaluation Technology System
This Action Project will investigate and implement a comprehensive method of managing student course evaluations through improved technology.
Application, Annual Update, Update Feedback, and Closing Outcomes
Action Project #4679 (2011-2012) – Defining & Addressing Institutional Data Needs
The project will communicate to all divisions and departments regarding what data is currently available through the Office of Institutional Research , add additional data needed by the divisions and departments, and then design and develop a centralized institutional data warehouse.
Application, Annual Update, Update Feedback, and Closing Outcomes
Action Project #4302 (2011-2012) – Valuing People
The project will deliver specific measures of valuing people and will focus on creating measures in three categories 1) Evaluation Processes, 2) Recognition Processes, and 3) Development Processes.  These measures will be measurable, documentable, and provide data used for the continued improvement of valuing people project. A group that includes various constituents from across the campus will be involved in the planning process.
Application, Annual Update, Update Feedback, and Closing Outcomes
Action Project #3855 (2010-2011) – Streamline Personnel Recruitment, Hiring, & Retention Practices & Procedures
The goal of this action project is to develop and implement more efficient and effective personnel recruitment, and hiring procedures in order to identify and secure the best possible faculty and staff. Additionally, this project is intended to improve employee orientation, training, and assimilation activities to facilitate optimal employee retention and success. The project will streamline processes and systems, clarify roles and responsibilities of administrators, associate deans, department chairs, faculty committees, and develop systematic training plans for all staff involved in the personnel recruitment and hiring process.
Application, Annual Update, Update Feedback, and Closing Outcomes
Action Project #3138 (2010-2011) – Enrollment Services Pilot
The Action Projects goal is to create a cross-trained staff to manage all aspects of student registration to increase access to educational opportunities for the community.
Application, Annual Update, Update Feedback, and Closing Outcomes
Action Project #3136 (2010-2011) – Software Supplemental Instruction for Developmental Reading & Writing
Supply students in developmental reading and writing courses supplemental instruction to be available in the Writing Center. Since Act 971 has required these students to pass an exit exam, the supplemental instruction would be geared toward helping students pass the exit exam. Writing Center personnel would monitor student progress and report to reading and writing faculty.
Application, Annual Update, Update Feedback, and Closing Outcomes
Action Project #3155 (2010-2011) – Energy Conservation for NWACC Campus
Phase I: Achieved by identifying and analyzing campus non-efficient consumption practices.
Phase II: Conserve energy by implementing energy efficient practices on campus.
Action Project #2123 (2007-2010) – Institute an Effective & Efficient Student Advising Model
Develop and implement and effective advising model that helps students meet their individual life and educational goals.
Application, Annual Update, Update Feedback, and Closing Outcomes
Action Project #2122 (2007-2010) – Improve Communication & Leadership Processes for Greater Collaboration & Effectiveness
Implement processes that make communication, leadership, and decision-making collaborative and transparent across the college.
Application, Annual Update, Update Feedback, and Closing Outcomes
Action Project #2119 (2007-2010) – Support Good Teaching & Learning
The project will build on the concept of the Learning College, which places learning first and provides educational experiences for learners anyway, anyplace, anytime. The action project will also facilitate advancement of learning outcomes assessment, faculty development, faculty evaluation, and the implementation of Learning College values.
Application, Annual Update, Update Feedback, and Closing Outcomes
NWACC Action Project Forms

Action Project Application Form

Action Project Annual Update Form

Action Project Quarterly Update Form

Action Project Final Report Form (Closeout)

Steps in the Life of an AQIP Project 

For questions/comments on this content, please contact:  Shauna Sterling  (479-619-3136) 


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