Academic Quality Improvement Program

AQIP is HCC's path to maintaining accreditation.

AQIP stands for the Academic Quality Improvement Program, which is an accreditation process developed by the Higher Learning Commission. It consists of a continuous process of examining institutional practices and working together to identify needed improvements.

Higher Learning Commission

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. To view Heartland Community College's entry in the HLC Affiliated Institution Directory, see HLC Affiliated Institutions: Heartland Community College.

The HLC uses five standards to determine whether an institution can earn accreditation or reaffirmation of accreditation:

  1. Mission
  2. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct
  3. Teaching and Learning: Quality Resources and Support
  4. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement
  5. Resources, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness

Check out the HLC website to learn more.

AQIP Pathway

AQIP is an accreditation process developed by the Higher Learning Commission.

It consists of a continuous process of examining institutional practices and working together to identify needed improvements. A minimum of three Action Projects are always active, with at least one focusing on the core function of the College: Helping Students Learn.

Prior to our acceptance into AQIP, Heartland Community College engaged in the Program to Evaluate and Advance Quality (PEAQ) accreditation guidelines and processes. These processes involved self-studies and on-site visits by Consultant-Evaluators. Excerpts from past self studies conducted by Heartland Community College are available under History: Self-Studies.

Six AQIP Categories

We utilize the AQIP Pathway Categories to analyze, understand and explore opportunities where we can improve. These categories include:

  1. Helping Students Learn: focuses on the design, deployment and effectiveness of teaching-learning processes
  2. Meeting Student and Other Key Stakeholder Needs: addresses processes that serve our external partners
  3. Valuing Employees: examines our commitment to current and future employees
  4. Planning and Leading: focuses on how we achieve our mission and live up to our vision
  5. Knowledge Management and Resource Stewardship: addresses management of the infrastructures designed to provide a thriving learning environment
  6. Quality Overview -Continuous Quality Improvement: gives us a chance to reflect on all our quality improvement initiatives
AQIP Eight-Year Cycle of Improvement

Following this cycle gives us the opportunity to submit project updates to the Higher Learning Commission and document progress made.

Every year: Action Projects

Every year, AQIP requires us to commit to three Action Projects. Each Fall, we provide Action Project updates to AQIP and we receive written feedback from a team of reviewers.

Year three and year seven: Systems Portfolio

In years three and seven, we submit our Systems Portfolio describing our key institutional processes, results and improvements across the six AQIP categories. We then receive written, actionable feedback to shape new strategies and create specific Action Projects.

Year eight: Comprehensive quality review and reaffirmation of accreditation

In year eight, we receive a comprehensive quality review of our Action Projects and Systems Portfolios and a formal decision reaffirming our accreditation.

Why we use AQIP
Ever since the College's founding in 1990, HCC has embraced continuous improvement, teamwork and practical actions. By its nature, the AQIP process offers a forward-looking approach both to accreditation and to institutional quality improvement. AQIP's focus on this helps to make the accreditation process more meaningful to our entire College community.

Contact AQIP Coordinating Committee

Scott Rager

Phone: 309-268-8585

Sarah Diel-Hunt

Phone: 309-268-8593