Quality in Education... Why Not?


Spanbauer, Stanley J.; Tyler, Carol R.   (1990, ASQC)   Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton, WI

Annual Quality Congress, San Francisco, CA    Vol. 44    No. 0
QICID: 9525    May 1990    pp. 654-659
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Article Abstract

In 1985, like many other community colleges across the nation, Fox Valley Technical College was approached by a local business and asked to provide training in quality and productivity. Like many other colleges, FVTC accepted that challenge, but unlike other colleges, FVTC went one step further. If business and industry were looking to quality and productivity principles to improve themselves, couldn't an educational institution do the same? Yes!

FVTC began to practice what it preached almost immediately. As staff members began the research necessary to prepare for teaching quality theory in area companies, they also began the search for an approach to applying the same theory at FVTC.

Four years later, FVTC finds itself well into full implementation of a comprehensive quality improvement process. While we began with Crosby's 14-step model, we soon developed a model of our own. FVTC's process includes the following: a 16-step model, extensive quality training for all FVTG staff, an overhaul of several internal programs and systems, a comprehensive employee-centered reorganization, and 65 problem-solving teams.

We have learned a lot. One of our more interesting findings has been that the challenges we face in internal implementation are very much like those of our business and industry counterparts. We aren't very different after all. We have learned that the process is a lifetime commitment, a cultural revolution. We have learned that we were right in our original assumption: educational products and services can be improved through the application of quality theory.

It has been exciting, painful, controversial, challenging, sometimes funny, and well worth the effort. FVTC is interested in reaching out to other educators who are also beginning to discover the potential of quality in education in an effort to strengthen fragmented efforts among educators and to improve our services to our individual and corporate customers.


Quality management (QM)

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