NDSCS is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) through the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) pathway. The AQIP pathway is focused on quality assurance and institutional improvement, but with an added emphasis on helping institutions achieve continuous quality improvement. The AQIP pathway follows an eight-year cycle.

On April 25, 26 and 27, 2016 NDSCS will host a Comprehensive Quality Review (CQR). During the CQR, peer reviewers determine if accreditation criterion are being met through reviewing required aspects of the reaffirmation process (Systems Portfolio, CQR Quality Highlights Report, etc.), institutional documents and policies, and through meeting with College employees and students.

For more information, please review the required documents submitted for the CQR visit:

2016 Comprehensive Quality Review Highlights Report
CQR Quality Highlights report is intended to be brief and manageable, providing broad descriptions and highlights since NDSCS submitted its AQIP Systems Portfolio.
November 2013

2016 NDSCS CQR Overview
Find out more information and answers to FAQs regarding the upcoming CQR visit.

2016 NDSCS Federal Compliance Packet
In preparation for the CQR visit Spring 2016 NDSCS prepared and submitted this Federal Compliance Packet.

The CQR serves to:

  • Provide evidence that NDSCS is meeting the Criteria for Accreditation.
  • Facilitate NDSCS’s continuing quality improvement commitment.
  • Identify actions taken to minimize identified Strategic Issues.
  • Review how Action Projects are integrated into NDSCS’s overall performance improvement strategies.
  • Review distance and/or correspondence education delivery.

NDSCS Systems Portfolio with Next Steps
This document contains the 2013 NDSCS AQIP Systems Portfolio (submitted 11/13). NOTE: on Page 133 responses and ‘next steps’ focusing on the section that received ‘O’ or ‘OO’ in the System Appraisal Feedback are in the document.

NDSCS Strategic Goals & Action Projects
This document contains NDSCS Strategic Plan 2013-2016 and current Action Projects.

AQIP Strategy Team

The AQIP Strategy Team is responsible for coordinating strategic planning, action planning, including development of targets, and identifying areas for improvement. The team is also responsible for the leadership of the quality infrastructure for the College.


  • Barbara Bang – Dean, Technologies & Services
  • Clinton Gilbertson – TAACCCT Project Manager
  • Dennis Gladen – Vice President for Administrative Affairs
  • Melissa Johnson – Executive Director, Student & Residential Life
  • Patty Kline – Dean of College Outreach
  • Ken Kompelien – Dean, Arts, Science & Business
  • John Kroshus – Associate Professor
  • Harvey Link – Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Patricia Schrom – Dean of Extended Learning
  • Dr. John Richman (Administrative Liaison) – President
  • Dr. Jane Vangsness Frisch (Accreditation Liaison Officer) – Vice President for Student Affairs

AQIP Guiding Values

  • Focus - A mission and vision driven by students' and other stakeholders expectations.
  • Involvement - Broad-based faculty, staff and administrative involvement.
  • Leadership - Leaders and leadership systems that support a quality culture.
  • Learning - A learning-centered environment.
  • People - Respect for and willingness to invest in people (faculty, staff and administrators).
  • Collaboration - Collaboration and a shared institutional focus.
  • Agility - Agility, flexibility, and responsiveness to changing needs and conditions.
  • Foresight - Planning for innovation and improvement.
  • Information - Fact-based evidence-gathering and thinking to support analysis and decision-making.
  • Integrity - Integrity and responsible institutional citizenship.

AQIP Categories

The six AQIP Pathway Categories provide a framework that institutions can use to examine their key processes and allow institutions to analyze, understand and explore opportunities for improvement. The use of the categories is fundamental to the development of NDSCS Systems Portfolio.

Category One: Helping Students Learn focuses on the design, deployment and effectiveness of teaching-learning processes (and on the processes required to support them) that underlie the institution’s credit and non-credit programs and courses.

Category Two: Meeting Student and Other Key Stakeholder Needs addresses the key processes (separate from instructional programs and internal support services) through which the institution serves its external stakeholders in support of its mission.

Category Three: Valuing Employees explores the institution’s commitment to the hiring, development and evaluation of faculty, staff and administrators.

Category Four: Planning and Leading focuses on how the institution achieves its mission and lives its vision through direction setting, goal development, strategic actions, threat mitigation and capitalizing on opportunities.

Category Five: Knowledge Management and Resource Stewardship addresses management of the fiscal, physical, technological and information infrastructures designed to provide an environment in which learning can thrive.

Category Six: Quality Overview focuses on the Continuous Quality Improvement culture and infrastructure of the institution. This category gives the institution a chance to reflect on all its quality improvement initiatives, how they are integrated and how they contribute to improvement of the institution.

Action Projects

The AQIP Pathway is on an eight-year cycle. During each year of the cycle, NDSCS maintains at least three action projects which are short-term projects that are identified through the strategic planning process. Current Action projects include:

Assessment of student learning across non‐academic areas

The purpose of this project is to improve the learning experience for students by augmenting and supporting classroom instruction. In some cases, departments will be formalizing processes into a written plan and in other departments it will cause changes in present processes. The project is designed to mirror the process in place for assessment of student learning within the academic program areas and general education. Each non‐academic support area will develop a plan with identified learning outcomes aligned with the five general institutional outcomes (communication, critical thinking, wellness, social and cultural diversity, and technology) measurements and benchmarks.

Outcome Measures

  • Plans developed in all identified areas
  • Plans implemented
  • Data collected and analyzed
  • Changes and improvements identified and implemented
Increase Completion/Graduation Rates of Students Taking Developmental Courses 

The goal is to increase completion/graduation rates of students taking developmental courses; this will be a longitudinal study tracking cohorts of students who test into development courses. Factors that contribute to success and factors that contribute to barriers will be identified. New processes will be implemented as needed and monitored to identify the factors that promote greatest student success. Changes will be made to the placement policy if needed.  

Outcome Measures

  • Cohorts identified
  • Formal tracking process is implemented
  • Factors contributing to student success and barriers to success are identified
  • Strategies determined and implemented
  • Persistence from semester to semester increases and leads to greater retention the following fall.
Strengthening relationships with K‐12 focused on the southeast region

Foster and implement stronger collaboration and cooperation between the college and K‐12 partners within the southeast region (SEEC) of North Dakota. A variety of strategies will be utilized to increase enrollment of the SEEC high school students enrolling at NDSCS-Wahpeton directly out of high school. Specific strategies will be developed to address relationships with principals, counselors and teachers, as well as students and parents.  

Outcome Measures

  • Increase the number of graduates placed in the workforce or transfer
  • Fewer changes of majors for incoming students
  • Track the need for remedial education
  • Larger numbers of student enrollment from the southeast region (capture rate)
  • More direct interaction between college staff and the K‐12 partners
  • NDSCS‐Wahpeton campus enrollment increases
  • Southeast region student success improvement: retention/graduation rates
  • Larger number of students reside on‐campus
Building Success @ Science: Identifying and establishing communication channels

To enhance student success, the College plans to work together to build an effective academic and non‐ academic program review process entitled ‘Building Success @ Science’. This action project will encompass the first phase of the process, establishing the leadership and communication channels to provide input and explain the Building Success @ Science initiative. This collaborative process will allow for various opportunities for input and involvement from all organizational areas. Due to the narrow focus it is anticipated to take one academic year (target completion: June 2016). Subsequent phases may include: establishing the review process and integration into current College practices, reviewing best practices, data collection and implementation.

Outcome Measures

  • College areas that will be represented identified. Due: July 2015
  • Number of nominations received. Due: September 30, 2015
  • Team established, number of meetings, leader of Building Success @ Science Leadership Team determined, regular reports to the AQIP Team regarding progress. Due: October 31, 2015
  • Recommendations regarding the communication plan, messages and/or channels developed and shared with AQIP team. Recommendations approved by Management Team and President. Due: April 15, 2016
  • Communication plan, messages and/or channels identified, awareness survey regarding initiative. Due: June 2016

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