IN THIS SECTION
As a university focusing on business education, Northwood University is committed to continuous improvement, both in our global operations and the classroom.
LEAD Continuous Improvement Model
- Gain an understanding of current processes and performance levels
- Identify current trends and best practices
- Identify internal and external resources
- Engage appropriate stakeholders throughout the process with attention to:
- Operating unit representation
- Key internal and external stakeholders
- Individuals with unique expertise or perspective
- Adjust participants throughout process as appropriate
- Analyze situation using data: Identify root cause(s)
- Develop and prioritize possible solutions or courses of action
- Create action plans to ensure sustainable progress
- Include action plan for process control
- Articulate action plan to address potential roadblocks
- Specify timeframes and success measures (set targets and benchmarks)
- Launch action plan with clear ownership
- Monitor and analyze results using defined measurements
- Track performance against targets and benchmarks
- Identify reports, dashboard and scorecard monitoring
- Make adjustments as needed
- Loop back to Learn to evaluate
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—?”
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
Northwood University maintains a practice of regular annual reports and program reviews through its Curriculum and Program Review Process (CPRP), a key element of Northwood’s Academic Quality System. The faculty-led CPRP is the primary mechanism Northwood uses to ensure academic program quality for both undergraduate and graduate programs. The Director of Institutional Research coordinates and supports the CPRP across the university.
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.
Program Health & Quality Review and Annual Report Overview
Each program has a faculty Program Quality Leader (PQL), who is responsible for facilitating the program’s assessment plan, annual reports, and program reviews. Each academic year, PQLs complete an Annual Report, with sections to examine enrollment, student success, curriculum mapping, faculty composition and achievements, program goal setting, and assessment of student learning. Completion of the Annual Report provides agility for departments to make program improvements prior to the Program Review, which is scheduled every five years.
The Annual Report Process is designed to allow reports to flow into two different larger documents. First, each Annual Report collects data for each year to be included in the program review. Second, each program’s data is collected annually and combined to create the aggregated Program Health and Quality Review (PHQR), which compares programs on total and new student enrollment numbers, trends, tuition income, credit hour production, employment rates, number of graduates, and the input of respective Program Advisory Councils.
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.