What is the Academic Quality Improvement Program?

AQIP Portfolio 2013

Summary Portfolio Comparison

Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
230 S. LaSalle St
Suite 7-500
Chicago, IL 60604Phone: 800-621-7440
Fax: 312-263-7462
E-Mail: info@hlcommission.org
Web Site: http://www.ncahigherlearningcommission.org

The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools developed the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) in 1999 to provide colleges and universities with an alternative process for continuing accreditation.

Participating in AQIP

  • allows participating institutions to align their own continuous improvement initiatives and projects with required accreditation processes
  • provides evidence that participating institutions meet the standards for continuing accreditation through identifying Action Projects and Stretch Targets, working to achieve the Stretch Targets and reporting the results of their work
  • provides a variety of opportunities for collaboration among participating institutions
  • encourages participating institutions to help each other achieve goals and targets through the use of on-line colloquia, forums, workshops, and the exchange of experiences and expertise
  • replaces the traditional ten-year cycle of accreditation.  AQIP is distinct from traditional models of continuing accreditation
  • enables organizations to focus on systems and processes as the basis for excellence and also for continuous improvement

Why is AQIP important?

AQIP is designed to:

  • assist colleges and universities in excelling at fulfilling their respective missions, rather than just meeting minimum standards
  • use a continuous improvement model to meet its own mission and values to better serve its members

Who else is participating in AQIP?

Approximately 10% of all colleges and universities accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools are participating in AQIP. 

What is the AQIP process and timeline?

All institutions that want to participate in AQIP must:

  • send representatives to a workshop that fully explains AQIP
  • complete a campus-wide assessment using external feedback (such as a state quality award)
  • complete a formal application signed by the Chief Executive Officer
  • develop Action Projects that will help move the institution forward
  • create a cross-functional team to send to a Strategy Forum
  • present Action Projects to all Strategy Forum participants for critique and review
  • submit finalized Action Projects to the Higher Learning Commission of Colleges and Schools
  • update each Action Project yearly
  • complete a Systems Portfolio that accurately describes the organization’s mission, vision, values, strategic opportunities and challenges, processes and indicators of effectiveness

See a complete description of all these steps.

What are the current AQIP Projects?

  1. Increasing Course Completion
  2. Accelerate Completion of Developmental Math and Progression to Credit – Bearing Courses
  3. Engaged Metrics (formerly Alphameasures) Data and Dissemination

Project Leader and Contact Person

Cynthia Applin
Director of Research, Institutional Effectiveness and Public Services
(800) 995-5222 ext. 7578


What is my own organizational unit’s involvement in AQIP?

AQIP encompasses the entire college community.  Your organizational unit is involved in some way. Contact your organizational unit administrator for more specific information.

Who are the AQIP leaders for LCCC?

Academic Quality Improvement Program Coordinator
Cynthia Applin, Dean of Research, Institutional Effectiveness and Public Services  (capplin@lorainccc.edu)