State Quality Council Honors GRCC

December 8, 2003
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GRAND RAPIDS — Call it kind of an early Christmas present.

Faculty and staff learned late last month that the Michigan Quality Council had conferred its Honor Roll award upon Grand Rapids Community College.

The council said that the honor is an intermediate step in GRCC’s pursuit of the council’s highest honor, the Michigan Quality Leadership Award.

The council is a decade-old program founded by Michigan business leaders to develop and promote best practices defined by the criteria established in the Baldridge National Quality Award.

The council announced the honor in a banquet Nov. 20 in Dearborn. GRCC’s president, Juan Olivarez, relayed the news to employees the following week during an all-college learning day program.

According to the council, the 89-year-old college received the award based on the findings of a team of its examiners who visited the campus for five days in September.

Members of the team, according to the council, conducted both planned and spontaneous interviews with employees in all GRCC departments. The interview questions ranged widely from topics such as academic programs to funding for student services.

The visit also entailed an audit of the college’s written policies and procedures, and measured information elicited in the interviews against the provisions in the formal documents.

According to a council news release, GRCC began its pursuit of the quality leadership award in 2000 and, previously had progressed through the award program’s primary “lighthouse” and secondary “navigator” levels of recognition.

The release said the council defines honor roll status, which GRCC now has attained, as “a respect achievement and a stepping stone which represents significant accomplishments toward earning the top award, the Michigan Quality Leadership Award.”

The council also said that the award goes “to organizations that have made significant progress in improving quality and operations performance to meet and exceed customers’ needs and expectations.”

In making his own announcement of the honor roll award, Olivarez told faculty and staff members, “I am very proud that we have achieved this level in our quality journey so quickly.

“I know this exciting news is the result of the hard work, collaboration and willingness to work together of every GRCC employee,” he added.

According to Donna Kragt, director of GRCC’s Institutional Research and Planning Department, the inspectors’ visit has an impact upon the staff.

“We learn a lot just preparing for the visits,” she said, “and then we learn more from their feedback following the visit.”

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