ERIC Identifier: ED406962
Publication Date: 1997-00-00
Author: Freed, Jann E. - And Others
Clearinghouse on Higher Education Washington DC.| BBB32577 _ George Washington
Univ. Washington DC. Graduate School of Education and Human Development.
A Culture for Academic Excellence: Implementing the Quality
Principles in Higher Education. ERIC Digest.
In the context of higher education, striving for high quality is not a new
strategy. Institutions have always held academic excellence and high quality as
the highest goals. Achieving these goals was easier in a time of abundant
resources and favorable demographics. The environment has changed. Institutions
are facing decreasing enrollments and revenues while costs and competition for
students are increasing.
The purpose of this report is to review the principles for improving quality
in higher education institutions. For this report, we are referring to the
conceptual framework of the quality movement as the "quality principles."
Individually the principles discussed are not new and unique, but implemented as
a total system approach they are a new philosophical way of thinking about how
institutions operate. The significance of this report is that it examines the
effect of the principles when they are used holistically. Only when they are
implemented as a system do they create a culture for academic excellence in
higher education institutions.
WHAT IS MEANT BY THE QUALITY PRINCIPLES?
principles is a management approach for making higher education institutions
more effective, in addition to creating an improved place to obtain a degree and
a more enjoyable workplace. The principles were conceptualized and documented by
authorities such as W. Edwards Deming, Joseph M. Juran, and Philip Crosby and
they have been widely implemented in corporate America under the name of total
quality management (TQM). The literature is abundant with articles indicating
that the quality principles are proven ways of improving the effectiveness and
efficiency of organizations. Numerous companies across a variety of industries
have benefitted from implementing the quality principles.
WHAT ARE THE QUALITY PRINCIPLES?
In reviewing the quality
improvement literature, eight quality principles emerged. And each is discussed
at length in this report. Leadership is needed early in the quality journey to
create a quality culture and it is vital later in the journey to support the
quality improvement efforts. Because leadership is such a critical principle, it
is listed twice when the principles are identified, but discussed only once as
the eight principle. "The quality principles" are:
* vision, mission, and outcomes driven
* systems dependent
* leadership: creating a quality culture
* systematic individual development
* decisions based on fact
* delegation of decision making
* planning for change
* leadership: supporting a quality culture
For the purposes of this report, "the quality principles are a personal
philosophy and an organizational culture that utilizes scientific outcomes
measurement, systematic management techniques, and collaboration to achieve the
mission of the institution". Essentially, the quality principles change the
culture of higher education institutions.
WHAT MAKES THE QUALITY PRINCIPLES DIFFERENT?
advocated in this report are interrelated and interdependent. They need to be
implemented as a system drive by the vision and mission of the institution. The
mission evolves and changes as stakeholder expectations are included in defining
the direction of the institution. The power of the principles comes from the
synergy of the whole system, fundamentally linking the mission to measurable
HOW CAN THE QUALITY PRINCIPLES WORK IN HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS?
The purpose of this report is to explain how the quality
principles work in the context of higher education. The quality principles are
essentially compatible with the values of higher education, but often the
culture must change to support the principles. Most institutions have missions,
but most are not accustomed to measuring the outcomes of their processes.
Traditionally, constituencies within higher education institutions act
independently rather than interdependently. Leaders are usually not trained in
the tools and techniques used to improve systems and processes. Developing
management skills and knowledge is not the norm in higher education.
Professional development is more often discipline and person specific instead of
developing members who can collectively improve institutional processes.
Although data is collected for a variety of purposes in directing higher
education institutions, the quality principles emphasize systematically
collecting data before making academic and administrative decisions. Committees
in academe are common, but actually collaborating and working as teams is not.
For the culture to change, members need to shift their thinking about how
work is done. When the paradigm shifts, members begin to ask different questions
in search of new answers to the same old problems. They embrace change as a
positive value in the culture since continuous improvement is based on
continuous change. People are trained to feel comfortable with change and not
fear becoming involved in improvement efforts. Planning for change is an
attitude to be cultivated by the leaders in the institution. Leaders are
essential in creating a quality culture and they play a significant role in
assuring that the necessary resources are available to support quality
initiatives. When the quality principles are implemented holistically, a culture
for academic excellence is created.
American Association for Higher Education. 1994.
25 Snapshots of a Movement: Profiles of Campuses Implementing CQI. Washington,
Chaffee, Ellen Earle, and Lawrence A. Sherr. 1992. Quality: Transforming
Postsecondary Education. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 3. Washington,
D.C.: Association for the Study of Higher Education.
Cornesky, Robert, Sam McCool, Larry Byrnes, and Robert Weber. 1991.
Implementing Total Quality Management in Higher Education. Madison, Wisc.: Magna
Crosby, Philip B. 1979. Quality Is Free. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Deming, W. Edwards. 1986. Out of the Crisis. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT, Center
for Advanced Engineering Study.
Freed, Jann E., Marie Klugman, and Jonathan D. Fife. 1994. "Total Quality
Management on Campus: Implementation, Experiences, and Observations." Paper
presented at an annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher
Education, November 13, Tucson, Arizona. 24 pp.
Juran, Joseph M. 1988. Juran on Planning for Quality. New York: Free Press.
Ruben, Brent D., ed. 1995. Quality in Higher Education. New Brunswick, N.J.:
Seymour, Daniel T. 1992. On Q: Causing Quality in Higher Education. Phoenix,
Ariz.: ACE/Oryx Press.
Seymour, Daniel T., ed. 1996. High Performing Colleges: The Malcolm Baldrige
National Quality Award as a Framework for Improving Higher Education. Maryville,
Mo.: Prescott Publishing Co.
Sherr, Lawrence A., and Deborah J. Teeter. 1991. Total Quality Management in
Higher Education. New Directions for Higher Education No. 71. San Francisco:
This ERIC digest is based on a full-length report in the ASHE-ERIC Higher
Education Report series Volume 25, No. 1, A Culture for Academic Excellence:
Implementing the Quality Principles in Higher Education by Jann E. Freed, Marie
R. Klugman and Jonathan D. Fife.