Northwood University Quality Improvement Program (NUQIP)

As a university focusing on business education, Northwood University is committed to continuous improvement, both in our global operations and the classroom.

Northwood's LEAD Model


  • Gain an understanding of current processes
  • Identify outside resources for current trends and best practices
  • Identify root cause
  • Identify resources needed
  • Select appropriate and effective measurements
  • Identify benchmarks


  • Engage approrpriate people in learning process
  • Develop plans to ensure sustainable progress
  • Focused approach to monitor project advancement


  • Monitor and analyze results using identified measurements
  • Evaluate progress toward predetermined benchmarks
  • Make adjustments as needed
  • Provide measurable results
  • Provide data for decision making and action planning


  • Identify process ownership
  • Include action plan for process control
  • Launch action plan
  • Consistently track performance against benchmarks
  • Clearly identify reports, dashboard and scorecard monitoring
  • Articulate action plan to address problems and roadblocks

What is LEAD?

LEAD is Northwood’s continuous improvement model and a foundational element of our quality system, NUQIP. The acronym LEAD stands for Learn, Engage, Assess, and Deploy. Individuals across Northwood use the LEAD model to make decisions at multiple levels. This model is often illustrated as cyclical, however, the stages do not always have clear beginnings and ends. Because Northwood is an educational entity, learning is ingrained in all we do. Therefore, LEAD is not a set of distinct steps to take. It is a framework for meeting our challenges. LEAD is user-friendly and ideal for Northwood, because the model itself can be adapted to various tasks and decisions, such as selecting a measure, setting benchmarks, solving problems, and designing processes. It gives our organization a consistent method for addressing issues, concerns, and problems. It provides groups with a road-map, which takes the guesswork out of the perennial question: “How are we going to—?”

Academic Quality

Northwood University systematically reviews student outcome data including, enrollment data, graduation rates, employment data, and the results of student outcome through the Curriculum and Program Review Process and the Annual Program Reports.

Curriculum and Program Review Process Overview

The comprehensive Curriculum and Program Review Process (CPRP) was recognized as a strength in our prior 2011 Systems Portfolio and is integrated into the Northwood University Strategic Planning Process (NUSPP). The CPRP is the primary mechanism to ensure that NU’s program outcomes remain relevant and aligned with student, workplace, and societal needs. We use an integrated process including environmental scanning, career advancement, and advisory councils.

The University reviews programs on a five-year rotating cycle. Based on competitive information, environmental scanning and industry/advisory council input, the Academic Quality Council in conjunction with the Deans’ Council has the option to charter the program review sooner than the five-year cycle.

Annual Program Report Overview

Starting in the 2016-2017 academic year, Northwood University has added an Annual Program Report to supplement the Curriculum and Program Review Process. This report allows Program Quality Leaders (PQLs) to gather data and do some preliminary analysis on an annual basis. The items in the Annual Program Report map directly into the Program Review Process, and enable us to monitor our progress during the review cycle. The annual report will contain advisory council activities, assessment data, and analysis. If the results of the annual review process necessitate a complete analysis, it will trigger a program review in the next year.

Assessment System

The system is a continuous improvement cycle which addresses both student learning outcomes and the effectiveness of the system itself. Improvements to the assessment system are vital to support the institution’s strategic priorities and helps ensure the ongoing relevance, vitality, and financial strength of Northwood, serve our internal and external stakeholders’ current and emerging needs, and provide students with a world-class business education. The system is adapted from the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program and is represented graphically below:

Northwood University Assessment System