Managing the introduction of quality improvement at Point Park University

Paul Hennigan, University of Pennsylvania


Quality in American higher education has become a greater concern since the 1980s. This was driven largely by several reports commissioned by the federal government that called into question the effectiveness of higher education. As costs rose and studies showed that students were graduating from college less prepared to enter the workforce, the federal government began to question why it was providing substantial support for the enterprise through grants and guaranteed student loans. The response from higher education was to step up the self-appraisal efforts developed by the academy to keep government regulators out. All six regional accrediting agencies and many discipline related accrediting agencies began to place a greater emphasis on creating student learning objectives and methods to measure the learning outcomes. There was also a greater emphasis on measuring all aspects of institutional effectiveness. The systematic process of measuring performance to improve outcomes is consistent with a quality framework. By producing this data, institutions can demonstrate levels of quality. In those areas determined to be low quality, institutions are encouraged to develop interventions that will improve the quality of the learning or service processes. There are institutions throughout the country that are beginning to focus on the quality mandate from their accrediting agency. Those institutions without a quality framework in place have ten years or less to get one in place. The Total Quality Management (TQM) and Learning Outcomes Assessment frameworks are presented. Most important though, before implementing a quality framework, is an understanding of the culture of the organization. A framework and methodology is presented for conducting a qualitative culture assessment. The findings from a qualitative culture assessment at an institution are presented along with recommendations for addressing the findings.

Subject Area

Higher education|School administration

Recommended Citation

Hennigan, Paul, "Managing the introduction of quality improvement at Point Park University" (2005). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3168026.