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Narrow Focus Provides Widespread Benefits

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Business & Mgmt

Published on February 2, 2009

Author: siddharth4mba

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Narrow Focus Provides Widespread Benefits
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MALCOLM BALDRIGE NATIONAL QUALITY AWARD Narrow Focus Provides Widespread Benefits by Valerie Funk, editorial assistant ter’s and doctoral programs—decided to make a K enneth W. Monfort College of Business move toward program quality improvement. At (MCB) started out as one of five colleges this point, the leadership and faculty chose to build within the University of Northern excellence in one program rather than mediocrity Colorado (UNC). It was established in 1968 with a in many. primary mission to provide graduate and under- While other universities and business programs graduate business education. By 1984, the college’s looked for growth in the assortment of degree pro- 50-person faculty and more than 2,000 students— grams and put more emphasis on graduate pro- already enrolled in various undergraduate, mas- grams, the college’s business administrators and faculty chose the opposite approach. A vision was In 50 Words cast for becoming Colorado’s best undergraduate Or Less business program—a goal it was agreed would not be possible without making undergraduate business • The Monfort College of Business (MCB) moved toward education the college’s exclusive mission. The col- lege then eliminated all graduate programs, includ- improvement by focusing solely on its undergraduate ing a doctorate degree program and Colorado’s business program. largest MBA program. From then on, business students enrolled by • MCB applied the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality declaring business as a major and choosing from six emphasis areas: accounting, computer informa- Award criteria because it was consistent with MCB’s tion systems, finance, management, marketing or accreditation and drove continuous improvement. general business. These efforts first paid off when the college • MCB is the only business school to have won the earned accredited status from the Assn. to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) Baldrige award. International. UNC became the first public univer- sity in Colorado to be accredited by AACSB in I AUGUST 2005 I www.asq.org 40

ONE ON ONE: Smaller class sizes enhance hands-on learning. both business administration and accounting. In and made it to consensus stage. In 2004, MCB ap- 1999, in conjunction with a $10.5 million commit- plied for and received the award on its second try. ment from the Kenneth W. Monfort family, the col- A Uniform Commitment lege’s name was changed to MCB. In 2000, MCB was recognized by the Colorado Commission on MCB began by defining its mission and values Higher Education as a Program of Excellence—an (see Figure 1, p. 42), which come from its primary award given to programs demonstrating wide- focus on pursuing excellence in undergraduate-only spread excellence and a readiness to take the next business education. MCB remains one of five under- step toward national prominence. graduate-only programs nationally to hold AACSB In 2002, faculty and staff came to the consensus accreditations in business and accounting. they needed to make a long-term or stretch goal MCB’s commitment to a program strategy is toward quality without taking away from their underlined with its high touch, wide tech and pro- mission. The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality fessional depth criteria. High touch means more Award criteria fit because they were consistent faculty and student interaction due to smaller class with MCB’s accreditation and represented driving sizes. Wide tech refers to an investment in the lat- continuous improvement. Also, since no business est technology for students to use in their classes program had ever won the award, striving for it because MCB promotes sending graduates out into definitely qualified as a stretch goal. the workforce with the knowledge they need to MCB first applied for the Baldrige award in 2003 make a seamless transition. I AUGUST 2005 I 41 QUALITY PROGRESS

MALCOLM BALDRIGE NATIONAL QUALITY AWARD Finally, professional depth emphasizes hiring pates in a telephone program. The framework ends instructors with extensive professional business experi- with graduates entering the workforce. ence or an educational background that includes hav- The senior leaders of MCB include the dean, asso- ing earned a doctorate in the specific area they teach. ciate and assistant deans, and administrative council The leadership system is built around a frame- (ADMC). The ADMC includes the dean, the associate work of systematic decision making, organizational and assistant deans and the chairs of five academic collaboration and uniform commitment to a mission departments. The ADMC provides administrative that adheres to a student centered process frame- guidance and serves as MCB’s primary unit for its work (see Figure 2). The framework begins in the mission, vision and values review while also formu- recruitment stage with events such as preview and lating and implementing MCB’s strategic plan. junior days that prospective students attend on cam- Faculty committees provide a network of com- pus, while MCB itself visits high schools and partici- munication between the faculty and its leadership, as displayed in Table 1. They also hold the power to make decisions on behalf of the whole faculty. Formal communication with students is provided Mission, Vision and Values FIGURE 1 by the leadership through websites, mailings and weekly student list serves. Maintaining High Quality Monfort College of Business (MCB) mission Our mission is to deliver excellent undergraduate business The ADMC serves as MCB’s primary strategic programs that prepare students for successful careers planning group and works with the dean to coordi- and responsible leadership in business. nate the strategic planning process. As shown in MCB’s vision Figure 3 (p. 44), MCB uses information from inter- Our vision is to build a reputation of excellence in nal and external sources, which serve as the basis Colorado and beyond for preparing future for plan development. From the data collected, business leaders and professionals. short- and long-term goals are created to be consis- MCB’s values tent with MCB’s mission, vision and values. These Each MCB value statement is held within an overall goals are reviewed every June to realign priorities framework focused on the pursuit of excellence; a philosophy of continuous improvement guides for plan implementation. employee behavior. These include instructional, To ensure MCB’s processes lead to continuous scholarship and service values. improvement, large amounts of data are collected from many sources. MCB participates in assess- ments through Educational Benchmarking Inc. (EBI), an independent commercial provider of busi- ness school data. EBI’s national benchmarking stud- Monfort College of Business FIGURE 2 ies provide specific measures of how the program (MCB) Student Centered compares to itself over previous years, as well as to Process Framework national and selected peer comparative data. EBI provides an overall administrative benchmarking study in which it reports data on spending patterns, Program reputation faculty hours and productivity. Student and faculty surveys and class specific feedback is also imple- Faculty Staff mented into MCB’s strategic planning process. Employers Recruits MCB’s key strategic objectives include building New Students Alumni and maintaining high quality students, faculty and Facilities Financial technology financial resources and a reputation in the market- resources Curriculum/ place that is consistent with program excellence extra-curricular (see Table 2, p. 45). activities These objectives are long-term; however, within I AUGUST 2005 I www.asq.org 42

Monfort College of Business (MCB) Cross Functional Team Structure TABLE 1 Group Purpose and structure • Serves as MCB’s primary mission review group; revises, sets and deploys values, as well as short- and long- term strategic direction. • Establishes performance measures and expectations, as well as action item recommendations. Administrative council chaired by dean • Reviews organizational performance on key measures; initiates improvement based change. • Provides administrative guidance on budgets, schedules and current initiatives. • Composed of department chairs and deans. • Advises dean on matters related to curriculum, library resources and facilities. • Annually evaluates all survey information for curriculum relevant issues. Curriculum committee • Initiates and recommends changes in business core, business minor and universitywide nonbusiness chaired by faculty repre- program requirements. sentative. • Reviews proposed changes in business emphasis areas/minors (including new or deleted courses), approves all syllabi for business core courses and special topics and provides leadership in curriculum planning. • Includes executive professor as member. • Advises dean and faculty on MCB policies related to faculty qualifications, development, performance, Faculty affairs committee resources, proposals, awards/merit pay and appeals not covered by other processes. chaired by faculty repre- • Annually evaluates all survey information for faculty relevant issues. sentative. • Selects faculty for teaching awards, summer grants and other faculty recognitions/awards. • Provides leadership in faculty development process reviews. • Advises dean and faculty on MCB policies related to admission, student continuation and disciplinary policies, and student appeals. Student affairs committee • Annually evaluates all survey information for student relevant issues. chaired by faculty repre- • Identifies student scholarship recipients. sentative. • Monitors student recognitions/awards. • Includes student representative for MCB student representative council (SRC). • Student elected group of officers serving as the student government. • Advises dean on MCB policies that affect students (placement, communications, enrollment management, SRC chaired by student technology, business program student fees). representative. • Selects professor of the year; plans and hosts awards picnic. • Serves as MCB link to the University of Northern Colorado-SRC. • Serves in an advisory capacity to the dean. • Annually evaluates all survey information for technology relevant issues. Technology committee chaired by technology • Provides MCB communications network information to disseminate regarding technology. director • Functions as MCB technology planning group. • Anticipates the technology working environment for graduates. Resources Remain 100% Focused MCB’s strategic plan, they act as larger categories for a variety of short-term goals within the key per- Since the late 1990s, MCB has targeted undergrad- formance indicators (KPI) control structure. A one- uate students primarily from Colorado interested in and five-year timetable is set for reaching the focusing on only undergraduate business programs. short-term goals. Currently, 86.7% of MCB students come from I AUGUST 2005 I 43 QUALITY PROGRESS

MALCOLM BALDRIGE NATIONAL QUALITY AWARD Colorado, and more than 80% remain in Colorado activities are assessed through surveys of faculty after graduation. MCB is the only AACSB accredited advisors and the student representative council. business program in the area to have selected this In response to enrolled students’ needs, each has key role on which to focus 100% of its resources. his or her own faculty advisor who is there to dis- MCB has positioned itself as a value leader by cuss anything the student wishes. Students with restricting tuition increases, placing the college sig- less than 46 hours accumulated within a program nificantly lower than its competitors. As shown in must meet with their advisors for registration per- Table 3 (p. 46), MCB uses many methods to listen mission. Students are also encouraged to join pro- and learn about students’ and stakeholders’ needs. fessional organizations that exist for each emphasis. Primary methods used to measure student and Efforts are made to build relationships between stakeholder satisfaction are exit studies and faculty, parents and the college. The college communicates student, alumni and employer surveys. Students with them through an annual newsletter that de- are also asked to provide evaluations at the end of tails information on MCB’s accomplishments, each course. EBI administers surveys to graduates upcoming events and programs. Formal occasions to measure overall satisfaction, and extracurricular are organized for students and their families to rec- Monfort College of Business (MCB) Strategic Management Process FIGURE 3 External input 1 MCB mission, values and vision • Employers and Colorado Comprehensive businesses. triennial revew Internal input • Alumni and donors. • Students, faculty and staff. • Colorado Commission on Higher • Current strategies. Education and government regulations. • Strengths/weaknesses. • Market analysis. 2 Situation • Student services. • Assn. to advance Collegiate Schools • University of Northern Colorado analysis of Business (UNC) administration. (Strengths, weaknesses, • Technology. opportunities, threats) • HR systems. • Competitive institutions. • Key performance indicator (KPI) • Business, economic, societal and supporting performance and employment trends. indicator results 3 Strategic objectives (late May) 4 Identification of short-term (annual) planning 5 Administrative council (ADMC) approves annual priorities, strategies and strategic goals (June). goals/strategies. 6 Strategy deployment: divide annual goals/strategies Implementation strategies • Development of supporting action plans, down to college committees, departments (September). including HR/financial resource needs. • UNC standing committees. 7 Apply UNC and foundation budget allotments to • Dean and dean's staff. • ADMC. support annual startegic objectives. 8 Committees, ADMC, department, faculty and staff work on priority action items in support of strategic objectives. 9 ADMC monitors results form strategies by measuring/adjusting KPIs (September, January, May). Control schedule (administrative review) 10 ADMC reviews strategic planning results; evaluates/improves • End of summer budget and enrollment the strategic planning process for following cycle (May). review, end of fall and end of spring semester reviews. I AUGUST 2005 I www.asq.org 44

ognize high perfor- Strategic Objectives, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) TABLE 2 mance. And Goals for Strategic Objectives Quality Tools Key performance Bring Results Strategic objective Baseline 2003 Goal 2004 Five-year goal indicators MCB uses KPIs to 1. 23.5 1. 23.5 1. 24 1. Average new freshman ACT. track overall perfor- Build high quality 2. 3.23 2. 3.3 2. 3.5 2. Average transfer grade mance and guide daily student population. point average. (Fall 2003) (Fall 2004) (Fall 2008) operations. Each KPI is based on one- and five- ≥ 95% ≥ 95% Overall percentage of 96.2% Maintain high year measurable goals faculty academically and/or quality faculty. (Fall 2003) (Fall 2004) (Fall 2008) professionally qualified. that are reviewed annu- ally to assess progress 1. Available state funds. 1. $4.24 million 1. $4.28 million 1. $4.46 million Maintain adequate and focus on opportuni- financial resources. 2. Available private funds. 2. $846,000 2. $875,000 2. $1.0 million ties for improvement. The educational testing Develop market reputa- 12 25 50 Monfort College of Business service (ETS) is a field tion consistent with media coverage. (Fiscal year ‘02) (Fiscal year ‘03) (Fiscal year ‘07) achievement test in busi- program excellence. ness used as the national standard for benchmark- ing undergraduate busi- technology, MCB uses benchmark comparisons. ness programs. EBI and the ETS measures are MCB also uses correlation analysis to assess rela- considered highly reliable and externally valid mea- tionships between incoming student quality and sures of performance and satisfaction. These data exiting student performance. A formal analysis sources reflect the best practices in business adminis- was conducted by reallocating a portion of scholar- tration education. ship funds to the recruitment of higher quality An example of when KPIs proved useful was on high school graduates as first year freshman. Over the ETS test results of 2001-02 when, after steady the course of five years, the students recruited as a progress in learning results, there was a decline. The result of the reallocation of funds scored better on ADMC sought the cause. Assessments showed no learning outcome measures and, in effect, raised defects in course work or grades earned, but student the bar for their fellow students. surveys revealed faculty members had discounted When a problem is identified without a clear the importance of the test itself. reason to what caused it, MCB employs root cause Discussions between the dean and faculty ensued, analysis. For example, in 1999 student and faculty reiterating the importance of student test results. satisfaction fell below expectations in regard to Also, the dean met with each class for an ETS discus- technology support. After researching various sion on the accuracy of test results. Student perfor- issues and factors, the college created a new posi- mance improved immediately. tion—director of technology—who focuses exclu- Performance data is further used to make deci- sively on leading and managing technology within sions for student admission, retention and gradua- the program. The director is assisted by a team of tion requirements, curriculum revisions, faculty faculty who forward their concerns or recommen- and staff performance evaluation and technology dations for improvement in quality and consisten- assessment. cy. The director frequently performs his or her own MCB uses a variety of analysis tools to support analyses in to change, manage and improve stu- senior leaders’ review of organizational perfor- dent laboratory facilities. mance. Trend analysis helps assess progress in areas Real-time access to individual and aggregate such as student learning, retention, quality and sat- data and information is made available to faculty, isfaction, as well as faculty productivity and satis- staff, students and external groups through websites faction. To determine levels of progress in learning and available commercial and university reports. environments, faculty qualifications and quality of I AUGUST 2005 I 45 QUALITY PROGRESS

MALCOLM BALDRIGE NATIONAL QUALITY AWARD MCB’s data is coordinated, captured, reviewed and prove their own courses. Any changes made are maintained for quality management. reviewed by governance committees and finalized by the dean to ensure they represent quality im- Incentives and Recognition provement. Drive Performance A faculty department is made up of a faculty Each academic department has the ability to plan, chair, a core group of academically qualified faculty control and improve the discipline it is responsible and support from the administrative staff. A small for. Faculty members can design, deliver and im- group of executive professors and part-time adjuncts are placed appropriately within departments. Annual evaluations provide faculty with feedback Stakeholder—Methods for Listening regarding their past performance, as well as expecta- TABLE 3 And Learning tions for future performance and specific training and development needs. Student evaluations are a major Group Listening/learning methods source of feedback regarding teaching performance. These results directly impact merit pay for faculty. Prospective students • Preview-days sessions (10 events). and parents The faculty receives incentives for outstanding per- • Junior-days sessions (two events). formance in the form of merit pay, professional • High school visits to Monfort College of Business (MCB). development funds, recognition in MCB newsletters • Finley fellows offers/communication. and awards. • Individual student/parent visits to MCB. Courses Emphasize Hands-on • Faculty telephone program. Learning • MCB/University of Northern Colorado (UNC) admissions office partnership. The curriculum committee (CC) manages learn- ing centered processes by using the plan-do-check- Current students • Advising center/deans office availability. act process shown in Figure 4. The plan step is the • Open door practice. first one used when designing a new process; how- • Smaller classes (contact with professors). ever, the check step becomes the beginning point • High student/faculty interaction. when assessing an existing process. The CC fol- • Faculty advisors/advising center. lows an extensive review process for MCB’s cur- • MCB student survey (spring). riculum, with evaluation cycles ranging from • Educational Benchmarking Inc. (EBI) one-year progress reports to a five-year cycle for student satisfaction survey (spring). major program review. • MCB course evaluations (each semester). Specific educational delivery processes are used • MCB student representative council (monthly). as appropriate to the type and level of class. Higher • MCB Listens website. level courses are designed to provide hands-on learn- • MCB/college transition center partnership. ing in a small class environment, enhancing faculty and student interaction. An example of this type of Alumni/donors • EBI alumni surveys. course is MCB’s student and foundation fund (SAFF) • Annual newsletter feedback page. course, in which 12 to 15 students each semester • Development meetings with dean. manage a balanced portfolio of more than $1 million • MCB/UNC Foundation/alumni partnership. real dollars. The students are in charge of all buy and sell decisions. Since the beginning of the class in 1994, Employers • MCB dean’s leadership council interactions. the students have consistently outperformed the • MCB/UNC career services partnership. Standard & Poor’s 500 and other balanced fund port- • UNC career fairs and employer panels. folios. SAFF is one of the largest undergraduate stu- • Advisory board meetings feedback. dent managed funds in the country. • Employer survey (annual). Courses taught on special topics and delivered • Assn. to Advance Collegiate Schools of through MCB’s executive professor program are Business meetings/seminars. designed to capitalize on an instructional specialty, I AUGUST 2005 I www.asq.org 46

KEPNER HALL: Home of the Monfort College of Business—on the University of Northern Colorado campus. capability or a timely topic of interest. MCB’s man- agement of quality course, taught by a former vice president of Eastman Kodak, came in conjunction with the college’s implementation of the Baldrige framework and criteria. A future expansion of the course is planned to offer more emphasis on perfor- mance excellence and quality. MCB enforces its policy on students taking pre- requisites and offers a course numbering system that guides students through their degree program. The college also emphasizes incorporating new technology. Students are provided with the most only one subarea score below the 90th percentile. up-to-date advancements in preparation for enter- MCB has accomplished the following since incor- ing the workforce. porating the Baldrige criteria: The Business of Being the Best • MCB’s marketing students finished third in a 2003 student advertising competition. When MCB began applying the Baldrige princi- • In 2004, at the American Marketing Assn. col- ples in 2002, its overall ETS performance was in the legiate conference, MCB’s marketing students 76th percentile nationally, and its lowest subarea per- won four awards. formance was in the 57th percentile. In the year of • Also in 2004, MCB students completed a clean MCB’s second Baldrige application, overall learning sweep in the Denver American Marketing had improved to the 90th percentile, and the lowest Assn.’s class projects competition, earning the subarea score had improved to the 80th percentile. gold, silver and bronze awards for their projects After earning the Baldrige award in 2004, the in marketing research and direct marketing. faculty and students worked even harder to make In addition, MCB has benefitted from the notori- sure they didn’t experience a performance drop. ety of becoming the first business school to earn the As a result, they achieved their best performance Baldrige award. Student applications are up 20% ever for the 2004-05 year, attaining the highest over the previous year, and there is a significant overall ETS score at nearly the 95th percentile and increase in the traffic of employers recruiting MCB graduates. As Joe Alexander, dean of MCB recently said, PDCA Process Followed by MCB FIGURE 4 “Though we were already focused on one student market segment prior to Plan Committees develop beginning our integration of the formal and review key Baldrige principles, we continue to requirements. learn how to better apply the system, and we find our results are continuing Act the trend upwards.” Do Committees standardize New processes are processes that are High quality designed and meeting key requirements undergraduate implemented based and recommend business Please on results of improvement processes education. comment planning process. if needed. If you would like to comment on this article, please post your remarks on the Quality Progress Discussion Board at www.asq.org, or e-mail Check Committees review and them to editor@asq.org. analyze key performance indicators. I AUGUST 2005 I 47 QUALITY PROGRESS

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