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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Continuous Improvement Process (CIP)?

A systematic method of continuously improving processes to better meet and exceed stakeholder needs and expectations.

Why would an organization want to get involved in CIP?

CIP provides the philosophy, the steps, and the tools needed to launch the institution on a journey of achieving excellence and success while serving our students and external stakeholders. In short, CIP, when deployed effectively, will aid in taking our institution to the next level of success. CIP provides great return on investment. It will save time, money, and other resources, while involving people at every level of the organization in improving the processes to better meet student and stakeholder needs.

What is AQIP?

AQIP stands for Academic Quality Improvement Program. It is an innovative and effective alternative to the traditional re-accreditation process for the Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. AQIP is based on continuous improvement principles and values and focuses on 6 AQIP Categories:

  • Helping Students Learn
  • Meeting Student and Other Stakeholder Needs
  • Valuing Employees
  • Planning and Leading
  • Knowledge Management and Resource Stewardship
  • Quality Overview

What is the Continuous Improvement Process?

CIP is designed to focus small teams of the right people on a problem or an opportunity that we need to address anyway. CIP provides proven methods and tools that aid in getting the team and the whole institution to real and lasting solutions that ulitmately save time and effort while improving service to students and stakeholders.

Who oversees the Continuous Improvement Process Teams' work?

Institutions use different oversight methods to monitor teams’ progress. At Richland, the Institutional Effectiveness Group is comprised of representation for all major divisions and departments. One of the IEG’s charges is to lead and coordinate the CIP process.

How do teams learn what to do?

Training in the Continuous Improvement Process is critical for a team’s success. In an effort to connect the College’s increased emphasis on evidence-based decision-making, a current CIP Team is restructuring the training. When teams are formed, a facilitator meets with them to review the seven-step process and explain the project, completion dates, and other team requirements. Resources are also identified to assist in data collection and analysis, to address budgetary considerations, and to consider impact on human resources.

How many teams are working at one time?

Team formation is done formally by the Institutional Effectiveness group each fall. Teams are generally created to work on a component of an AQIP Action Project. However, divisions and service areas also use CIP when working on processes and challenges. No “magic number of teams exists; the decision is based on the recommendations of the Institutional Effectiveness Group.

What is the biggest mistake teams usually make?

The most common problems teams have are examining too large a process at one time and trying to address a problem that is not clearly defined. The Institutional Effectiveness Group helps by narrowing the project before identifying the team leader, sponsor, and members. In addition, regular reports to the IEG also help guide the teams so that they can complete their work in a reasonable but aggressive time frame. Teams need to use the quality tools as they are making decisions and consult resources in the institution in creating their recommendations.

What is the most rewarding part of CIP for the individual?

Being part of a team that succeeds in improving the institutions, even in a small way, is a motivator for doing more great work. Strengthening connections with other team members and learning about the institution are other benefits.