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UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL MISSOURI
Implementation Guidelines of
Central’s Quality Improvement Program for Non Academic Units
This document is intended to help units/offices identify annual goals related to implementation of Central’s Quality Improvement Program or CQIP. CQIP is a model designed to focus the energies and efforts of all campus offices on meeting and exceeding the expectations of the people, offices and entities they serve. The intent is to develop a culture of quality at Central aimed at improving organizational practices, capabilities, and results with a focus on student learning and development. Dedicated to providing ever improving educational value to our students, the university accomplishes its goal not only through providing improved instruction in the classroom but by improving all educational and operational processes.
Unit goals can arise from a variety of sources: institutional priorities set by the president, the unit’s vice president, the Strategic Plan, and the unit itself (See Strategic Planning Process in Framework for the Future.). The following is a description of a general process to be used by offices to identify, implement and evaluate progress towards implementation of the goals of Central’s Quality Improvement Program only. The results of actions taken towards implementation of CQIP will be presented in the office’s annual report, along with results related to goals derived from other sources like institutional priorities, the unit’s vice president, etc. (See Annual Report for Support Service Units.).
Goal A: Determine What Your Office Should Be Doing – Core Functions.
1. Definition and Validation of Core Functions
The term “core functions” refers to the explicit programs and services routinely offered by your unit. Quality would be indicated by delivering your unit’s programs and services in an exceptional manner. For example, core functions for the Office of Assessment and Testing Services (OATS) include such things as test registration, test administration and score reporting. Documentation that these processes were done exceptionally well would constitute evidence of quality. Since student learning is the primary focus of University of Central Missouri’s mission, each unit should examine its operations to see how it contributes directly or indirectly to student learning and or student development. The degree to which support services units contribute to student learning and development will vary considerably from unit to unit, but all of us, by providing quality service to students, parents, and each other, contribute to an environment that is conducive to learning.Steps to Follow to Define Core Functions
a. Have your unit's staff collaboratively identify the major or main set of customers for your programs and services. Customers are the groups, organizations or individuals who use or receive your unit’s products and services. With whom do you interact the most? On campus? Off campus? Check with similar offices at other universities to see if they serve different customers that you might be missing and wish to add. You might also find you are serving customers whose needs could be better addressed by a different office. Are two offices providing the same service to the same customers?
b. Once your customers have been defined, ask them to generate a list of expectations both in terms of what they expect from your office in the way of service and functions and at what level (quality)?
c. After you collect the list of customer expectations, have your staff review and evaluate their expectations and use them to shape and define your set of core functions. Group these into five or six core functions at most.
d. Have your set of core functions reviewed and approved by your vice president.
e. *SWOT Analysis . Establish a procedure to periodically review your unit’s internal strengths and weaknesses. In other words, what conditions in your office (e.g., number and qualifications of staff, unit budget) would you consider a strength or a weakness with respect to your office’s ability to deliver its core functions in the future?
f. *SWOT Analysis . Establish a procedure whereby your office will regularly (e.g., every year, every two years) reevaluate who your customers are and what they expect from you. This environmental scan will help you identify any changes in program/services needs (core functions), as well as possible external threats and opportunities.
g. Document how you have used the information from discussions with your customers and staff to modify your core functions. If you make changes, keep a simple record of what you changed, when and why.
Goal B: Determine How Well You Are Delivering Your Core Functions.
1. Desired Outcomes for Each Core Function
Outcomes should show how the unit operationally defines its core function. For example, the Office of Admissions might establish improved processing of student applications as one of its outcomes for the core function (goal) of improved services for incoming students.
2. Assessment measures
Assessment measures should describe how the unit will determine and document progress toward attainment of each outcome for each core function. Assessment measures may include formal and informal, quantifiable and anecdotal means of performance evaluation For example, if the desired outcome is improved processing of student applications, the average time needed to process a student application (cycle time) and the number of errors per hundred applications could be assessment measures that allow the Office of Admissions to determine success towards its goal of improved services for incoming students.
3. Targets (Success Measures)
a. Establish targets for each assessment measure. These targets will allow you to determine whether or not your unit core function has been performed at a satisfactory level. Your customers will be very helpful in determining your targets. Are you on target, below target or above target? For example, a target for processing of a student application might be 24 hours from its receipt in the Office of Admission. You might also use national or regional data to determine these or if you have longitudinal data you collected yourself (baseline), use those data to define your targets. Perhaps you have had complaints about how long a certain process takes to complete. Use that information to determine a more satisfactory cycle time for the process in question. Are there regional or national benchmarks available? Regardless of your core functions, customer satisfaction must be one of your success measures (See ‘d’ below.).
b. Schedule a time and develop a process for reviewing your unit’s success measures on an annual basis. As you collect information, you may find your measures were too low or too high, or that you are in fact meeting them at a satisfactory level now. If the latter is the case, you may wish to establish a stretch goal in an attempt to do an even better job.
c. Develop a method to track or document progress by collecting data on your success measures(targets) over time to establish a baseline of expected performance. This longitudinal database will allow you to determine where your unit is relative to its desired position.
d. For many of your core functions, you will be measuring how fast you do something or how many things you complete it in a certain period of time as a way of measuring success. However, you will also need to develop and implement a process to measure overall customer satisfaction in the following areas as well: degree to which your customers were treated courteously and respectfully, promptness of staff to respond to customers and their requests; accuracy/appropriateness of information/service provided; and overall helpfulness of staff. You will need to decide how you will do this, how often, for which aspects of your operations will you assess customer satisfaction, and who will provide the customer feedback? Do not hesitate to contact Mike Grelle in the Office of Assessment and Testing Services if you would like help setting up this process. If you want to measure other aspects of customer satisfaction that fit your particular unit, please do so.
Goal C: Improving Your Core Functions.
a. Once your unit has established success measures and determined the gap between where you are and where you want to go, you will need to develop action plans to reach your targets or success measures. Be realistic and choose which core functions you will address first and which can wait.
See section III B ANNUAL REPORTS: INSTRUCTIONS/ DEFINITIONS FOR NON-ACADEMIC DEPARTMENTS/UNITS for guidelines regarding unit action plans. Include your unit’s action plans for implementation of CQIP in your annual report.
b. At the end of each year, your unit should analyze, interpret and evaluate the results of the implementation of your action plans to determine progress towards quality as defined by your unit’s success measures. Were appropriate levels of success obtained, and if not, why not?
c. If your unit’s targets were achieved, identify ‘stretch goals ’ for next cycle. If not, include new or modified action plan in next cycle to address problem.
d. Document how your unit has improved its programs and services (core functions).
* SWOT ANALYSIS
External Opportunities and Threats
External opportunities and external threats refer to economic, social, cultural, demographic, environmental, political, legal, governmental, technological, and competitive trends and events that could significantly benefit or harm an organization in the future. Opportunities and threats are largely beyond the control of a single organization—thus the word external.
A basic tenet of strategic management is that firms need to formulate strategies to take advantage of external opportunities and to avoid or reduce the impact of external threats.
Internal Strengths and Weaknesses
Internal strengths and internal weaknesses are an organization’s controllable activities that are performed especially well or poorly. Identifying and evaluating organizational strengths and weaknesses in the functional areas of a business is an essential strategic-management activity. Organizations strive to pursue strategies that capitalize on internal strengths and eliminate internal weaknesses.