Strategy for institutional improvement : application of Baldrige criteria at a selected community college
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The quality of American colleges and universities is coming under intense scrutiny. The annual media rankings, new institutional effectiveness measures required by regional accreditation association, policy requirements of state, regional and national higher education association, declarations of elected officials, apprehension of business and community leaders, policy papers issued by centers for the study of higher education point toward intensified concern for the quality of higher education in the nation. The national interest in collegiate quality opened a wide range of issues on the definition, the measurement, and development of quality. The study reviewed literature relating to the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. In addition, it addressed a case study of a selected community college experience in utilizing the Baldrige model as a tool of total quality management. The research answered three questions related to: (1) the strengths of Central Texas Community College as they relate to the seven quality categories of Baldrige; (2) Central Texas Community College’s cumulative quality index as measured by the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award scoring system; and (3) specific applications result from the Central Texas Community College Baldrige selfassessment. The investigation was a qualitative research study with grounded theory serving as the primary mode of data analysis. When appropriate, quantitative data analysis was utilized. The study assessed the usefulness of the Baldrige Criteria as a tool for institutional self-assessment and for improving organizational performance practices and capabilities. Findings showed that the results of a Baldrige assessment lend themselves to action. As a result of the self-assessment the institution not only produced a roadmap for continuous improvement, but also validated key performance areas, and set in motion a process of discovery and improvement.