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Action Plan

The description of how goals and objectives are to be achieved.

Action Project (AQIP)

A collaborative enterprise, planned to improve performance and demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement.  AQIP requires institutions to be working on three to four projects at all times. At least on project must relate directly to Helping Students Learn.

Actions Steps

The list of items (tasks) that must be accomplished to achieve the overall objective.


Academic Quality Improvement Program. An accreditation path with the Higher Learning Commission structured around quality principles and a cycle of action projects, validation and compliance review.


Academic Quality and University Improvement Steering Committee


Gathering comparative information from high performing organizations.


Continuous Improvement


Continuous Quality Improvement


Combining the efforts of two or more organizations, departments, or individuals to create synergies which would not be possible through individual efforts.


Anyone whose interests are served by an organization, or who is the target of the services of an organization.

Culture (organizational)

A common set of values, beliefs, attitudes, perceptions and accepted behaviors shared by individuals within an organization.

Data-Driven Decision-Making (DDDM)

Using contextually relevant and accurate data to assist in making informed decisions related to both planning and implementation.


The extent to which a system or process is utilized throughout an institution.


Concrete, factual evidence in the form of narrative or numerical guide.


A specified end state, not typically measurable but supported by one or more objectives.


Higher Learning Commission


The resources that are used to make the project or process happen (people, equipment and data).


Major or most important; critical to achieving your intended outcome.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

A measure of how well an organization is doing in a particular area. A KPI could measure financial performance or customer satisfaction.


The criteria, metric or means to which a comparison is made.


An organizationís purpose.


Specific targets to support goals.

Outcomes (Institutional)

The results actually achieved by a system or process, regardless of its objective or targets, and independent of the wishes or expectations of those involved.


An organized group of related activities that together create a result that is of value to stakeholders.

Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA)

A four-step process for quality improvement. Also called the plan-do-study-act (PDSA).


The "outputs" of activities, directly measurable and within the control and influence of the project or process. Examples: Student learning and graduation, student/customer satisfaction, financial/budget numbers, employee feedback, quality service, resolution of problems/complaints.


An acronym for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results Oriented, and Time-limited.


Any person or group with a vested interest in the outcome of a project or plan.


A broadly-defined proposal aimed at creating a desired future. Beginning with the desired-end and then working backwards to the current state.


Methodical, well-ordered, and repeatable.

Systems Portfolio

Required documentation to provide HLC with information and data regarding critical systems and evidence to support accreditation.


An identified numerical point or range.


University Quality Improvement Project

Values statement

A narrative description that outlines an organizationís beliefs and guiding principles.

Vision statement

A concise, compelling, and conceptual narrative description of a future state. Used to help keep the organization focused.


  • Principles and Categories for Improving Academic Quality. AQIP, Higher Learning Commission. 2010
  • Quality Glossary. ASQ (American Society for Quality). http://asq.org/glossary/
  • 2013-2014 Education Criteria for Performance Excellence. Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. http://www.baldrigeforeducation.org/