Project Plan



The Higher Learning Commission defines a Systems Portfolio as a concise description of an organization’s fundamental systems for getting its work done and its goals accomplished.  The Portfolio is organized around the nine AQIP criteria and addresses sets of questions for each system or group of processes that align with each of the criteria.  For each criterion, the questions ask the college to describe:


  • the context for the system under examination,
  • the key processes the organization uses to accomplish its goals,
  • the performance results the organization is obtaining with its current processes, and
  • how the organization uses its results data to identify targets for improvement and enhance the system and organization’s operations.


Sinclair is required to submit an updated Systems Portfolio to NCA every four years as part of our continued accreditation and participation in AQIP.  NCA will review our Portfolio to evaluate organizational performance, to determine our commitment to systematic continuous improvement, and to provide focused feedback on opportunities for improvement.


This project focuses on the initial development of Sinclair’s System Portfolio and the establishment of processes by which the results of the AQIP Action Projects, as well as the ongoing work of the institution, will be linked, captured, and reflected in annual updates.




The nine AQIP criteria addressed in the Systems Portfolio represent the key focus and priorities of higher education.  This project will address how we tie the ongoing work of the college to measurable progress in each of these documented areas.  It is anticipated that the linkages established between this project and our ongoing work will result in better alignment of Sinclair’s projects; committees; resource allocation; planning and budgeting activities; as well as divisional departmental, and individual performance planning. 


The Systems Portfolio also reflects the emphasis of the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education and the Economy which requires Ohio public colleges and universities to document improvements in productivity and efficiency that enhance student access to and progress in higher education.   As the Portfolio evolves, it will be closely linked to institutional effectiveness and key performance indicators. 





Objective Description



Document processes and relationships to criterion as a basis for constructing the AQIP Systems Portfolio.

1.1.    Documentation requirements are defined.

1.2.    Key Processes identified, validated and aligned with criteria.

1.3.    Process owners and stakeholders are identified and tasked with process mapping.


Develop the AQIP Systems Portfolio.

2.1.    Process owners complete and submit documentation related to their systems.

2.2.    Development of context, process, results and improvement for each criterion.  Development of overview.  Processes embedded in appropriate criteria.

2.3.    Individual and team work is integrated into a single document that represents an accurate and concise description of the organization's fundamental systems for getting its work done and goals accomplished.

2.4.    Criterion context is compared against overview context and NCA 5 criteria.


Identify, track, and document AQIP Action Project progress and impacts related to System Portfolio updates.

3.1.    AQIP Action Project objectives are tied to specific, identified sections of the Systems Portfolio.


Develop linkages between College processes and initiatives and the Systems Portfolio as a means of aligning the work of the institution and ensuring that changes are accurately reflected in Portfolio updates.

4.1.    Develop processes to capture changes resulting from this work for Portfolio updates.

4.2.    Establish processes to identify, map, and capture results related to new initiatives’ linkages to and impact on AQIP criteria.


Build College awareness and inclusion of the AQIP’s general philosophy, the Systems Portfolio and its role in continuous improvement at the institution.

5.1      Build communication strategies associated with the Systems Portfolio.

5.2      The Systems Portfolio linkage to ongoing College operations is embedded in processes integral to the operation of the College.

5.3      On-going management and submission of the AQIP Systems Portfolio is operationalized.


Identify any major process issues or opportunities uncovered while building the Portfolio.

6.1     Processes and rationale are documented and communicated.

6.2     Relay process opportunities for improvement to institutional leadership.





Milestone Description




Identify existing processes and matrix initiatives that effect AQIP criteria.  Identify process/initiative/criteria owners and communication strategies.

Review AQIP criteria and related Systems Portfolio questions.  Train Portfolio team re: what makes a good portfolio/overview through systems appraisal rubric exposure.  Identify and validate key processes and matrix initiatives.  Develop institutional communication strategies.  Develop tools and training for mapping processes.  Align and validate key processes/matrix initiatives with criteria.  Develop documentation guidelines.  Identify individuals and teams to answer Portfolio questions (including AQIP Action Project teams)



Mapping of processes and drafting of overview

Train participants in how to map processes and create process documentation.  Complete process mapping and documentation.  Align processes with criteria.  Identify teams to address each criterion.  Draft overview.




Document context, processes, results, and improvements for each AQIP criterion

Pilot two criterion teams.  Teams develop text and graphics to answer their assigned questions, embedding processes within each criteria as appropriate.  Teams identify any major process issues or opportunities.  Team looks at criterion context in relationship to overview draft and 5 NCA criteria, documenting inconsistencies or concerns.  AQIP Systems Portfolio Team Leader coordinates information collection and evaluation of pilot process, making needed refinements for other criterion teams..



Remaining criterion teams address their areas

Teams respond fully to their criterion.  Findings compared to overview draft and 5 NCA criteria.  Recommendations for areas of concern to Systems Portfolio Team. 



Initial draft of portfolio complete.

The work of the various teams is integrated into a single document.  The document is reviewed, revised and approved.



Have internal/external systems appraisal evaluators provide recommendations for strengthening the documentation.




Creation of anticipated final document

Revise and adjust as necessary based on feedback and updating of measures.



Embed AQIP into ongoing College operations

Identify and develop appropriate linkages to existing College processes and assessments of institutional effectiveness.  Finalize updating processes/resources for the future.



Submit Systems Portfolio to NCA for review and appraisal

A Systems Portfolio, reflective of the ongoing work of the institution and AQIP Action Project teams is submitted to NCA for review and appraisal.  Appraisal feedback is addressed in next Portfolio cycle.



Team Composition


Team Leader                 Doug Easterling

Team Sponsor                Jeanne Jacobs

Team Members              Sue Merrell

                                    Nancy Thibeault

                                    Helen Grove

                                    Joan Patten

                                    Ned Young

Project Management       Dave Landom

AQIP Coordinator           Tom Huguley