AQIP (Academic Quality Improvement Project) is an alternative accreditation process. The primary goal of AQIP is to infuse the principles and benefits of continuous improvement into the culture of the college in order to assure and advance the quality of higher education. It differs from the retrospective approach that accreditation used in the past because it is forward-focused and requires a good institution to challenge itself to be better.
Accreditation has two primary purposes: quality assurance and institutional and program improvement. Accreditation by one of the regional accreditation agencies in the United States (we are part of the 19-state North Central region) is important because it signifies to students and the public that our courses and programs have been examined and meet qualitative standards to be considered higher education. Without accreditation, Lakeland credits would not transfer to other accredited colleges and universities nor would our students be eligible for most forms of state and federal financial aid.
The nine AQIP categories are: Helping students learn Accomplishing other distinctive objectives Understanding students' and other stakeholders' needs Valuing people Leading and communicating Supporting institutional operations Measuring effectiveness Planning continuous improvement Building collaborative relationships.
An action project is a specific quality improvement project that has been recommended as a priority by college stakeholders. Specific measures are determined to ensure attainment of goals. The duration of action projects is approximately 1-3 years.
The Systems Portfolio is assembled by an institution during its first four years of AQIP participation. The Systems Portfolio fully explains the major systems being used to accomplish Lakeland's mission and objectives. The nine AQIP Categories will be described in terms of context, processes, results, and improvement.
The completed Systems Portfolio is a public document that will be available to internal and external stakeholders through the Lakeland AQIP webpage or the Higher Learning Commission's AQIP site.