November 16, 2012

Northwood University Completes AQIP Strategy Forum

In 2003, in an effort to more fully incorporate accreditation efforts into our strategic initiatives and our commitment to organizational performance excellence, Northwood University joined the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). We are pleased to report that today we are wrapping-up our third AQIP Strategy Forum, held November 14-16, 2012 in Chicago, and are well-positioned to move forward on executing key University initiatives.

The Strategy Forum, as described by the HLC, is an “innovative element” in the AQIP accreditation process “that brings together teams from diverse colleges and universities…to generate and test new improvement strategies in a creative, supportive environment.” The Forum constitutes a community of AQIP colleges and universities which learn and refine best practices through active engagement with one another.

As a business university, AQIP is a natural fit for Northwood since we strive to model the best practices from all industries including higher education. One outgrowth of participation is the creation of the Northwood University Quality Improvement Program (NUQIP) the aim of which is integrate AQIP into how we do business. Key discoveries from our AQIP participation to date include:

  • AQIP/NUQIP is the way we do thingsit is much more than a program, compliance process, or “accreditation hoop” through which to jump.
  • Activities for advancing AQIP/NUQIP are transferred to the One Northwood concept and our Vision and Mission, as many do not recognize AQIP/NUQIP as an accrediting method but rather as our improvement philosophy.
  • AQIP/NUQIP causes us to:
    • Have higher expectations of ourselves to be the best we can be.
    • Benchmark employee and individual performance.
    • Push toward global excellence as part of our Vision, Mission, and Strategic Priorities.

Building on this success, the focus of this year’s Forum was two-fold:

  1. Strategies for Action: Further development of our Strategic Enrollment Management initiative.
  2. Creating the Climate for Continuous Learning:
    • Strengthening our continuous improvement culture.
    • Ensuring we model best practices of continuous learning organizations. 

Northwood’s cross-functional team—consisting of Kathy Vertin, trustee; Emily Mass, Director of Admissions, Northwood Florida; Mark Martin, System Financial Aid Director; Mick Thomas, Director of Institutional Effectiveness; Kevin Fegan, President, Northwood Texas; Brian Sandusky, VP Enrollment Management; Kristin Stehouwer, EVP/COO/CAO; and me—worked very hard over the past few weeks to advance our strategic enrollment management plan. The Strategy Forum enabled us to build on our progress to date, and will direct and guide our work going forward in this vitally important area.

We look forward to sharing this output with you in the days and weeks ahead and even more to working with everyone to implement it as we grow Northwood University to new heights.

Have a great weekend!

Keith A. Pretty, J.D.
President and CEO
Northwood University
4000 Whiting Drive
Midland, MI 48640