Quality finds a new home

Fort Hays State University has accepted the responsibility of managing the Kansas Center for Performance Excellence, which originated in 1995 as the Kansas Award for Excellence Foundation, the state's affiliate of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program.

Since April 1, FHSU has managed the non-profit Kansas Center for Performance Excellence under an agreement with the KCPE Board of Directors. Dr. Chris Crawford, FHSU's assistant provost for quality management, is serving as the director.

For the last eight years, KCPE has been managed by American Informatics, a Topeka-based management consulting organization. Dr. John Shoemaker, president of the company, served as the director of KCPE, and Tina Shoemaker served as the associate director. Both will remain with the Center as senior consultants in addition to their other consulting activities.

"We are very pleased that Fort Hays State University has assumed the management of KCPE," John Shoemaker said. "This will provide the Center with the financial stability and management continuity that will enable it to continue to support economic development in Kansas for many years to come."

Crawford said the mission of the organization is to promote performance excellence through training and consulting services in addition to the Kansas Award for Excellence recognition program.

"The major function of KCPE is to evaluate quality improvement in businesses and institutions according to the Baldrige criteria," Crawford said. "FHSU has supported this effort previously by providing examiners and submitting applications. The university as a whole, and individual departments and programs within the university, have received KCPE recognition."

Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, was instrumental in bringing KCPE to the Hays campus. "FHSU is highly vested in continuous quality improvement and has long supported the Baldrige philosophy, even to the extent of tying it into our accreditation model," he said.

In 2000, FHSU became a charter member of an innovative accreditation program, called the Academic Quality Improvement Project. Launched by FHSU's accrediting agency, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, AQIP replaces the traditional accreditation system with a new approach that identifies areas for improvement and sets measurable goals on a continuing basis.

"Entering this partnership is a logical step," the president said. "We look forward to working with the KCPE board members, and I'm especially pleased that John and Tina Shoemaker will remain part of the team in their new roles as senior consultants."

The president also thanked Gov. Kathleen Sebelius for providing $15,000 through the Department of Commerce to help with the transition.

Gene Meyer, president and CEO of Lawrence Memorial Hospital and chair of the KCPE board, joined President Hammond in thanking the governor and the Shoemakers. "The commitment of the Shoemakers has allowed Kansas business and education institutions to improve their respective organizations," he said. "This is vital in order for our growth to continue. We appreciate the support and leadership of Dr. Hammond and FHSU in working collaboratively with KCPE to continue this important activity for Kansas."

An office for KCPE will soon be established on the FHSU campus. Crawford, the new KCPE director, said he also planned to hire an assistant director in the near future.
The most visible KCPE activity continues to be the Kansas Award for Excellence recognition program. Since its inception in 1995, several hundred organizations have submitted applications at one of four levels: Self-Assessment, Certificate of Commitment, Certificate of Progress, and the Kansas Excellence Award. The Kansas Team Quality Award Program was added in 2001 to recognize teams for their accomplishments in achieving project goals and objectives.

"The KCPE's forward-thinking strategy is to facilitate the application process, to make it understandable and to enable high-quality reviews of all the applications," Crawford said. "We will support the quality management process for the service, manufacturing, education, health care and government sectors in Kansas."

In addition to the awards program, KCPE provides a variety of education and training opportunities for organizations interested in performance improvement. These include on-site and public seminars in addition to an annual conference that features presenters from world-class organizations.

Over the years, KCPE has developed a number of services designed to help award applicants address issues identified in their feedback reports. These services include facilitated assessments, workshops, and, most recently, the Consultant Referral Network. KCPE's Consultant Referral Network helps Kansas-based consultants market products and services to organizations in Kansas and to organizations in other participating states.

FHSU's primary mission is to serve the educational needs of Kansans in a 64-county service area of western and north-central Kansas, as designated by the Kansas Board of Regents. However, KCPE becomes part of a family of organizations and services by FHSU that extend beyond its service area to the entire state. They include:

* FHSU serves as the administrator of the Kansas Small Business Development Center network, which is a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Kansas Department of Commerce, with eight regional centers and two outreach centers throughout the state.
* The Docking Institute of Public Affairs, a dynamic public policy research institute located at FHSU, assists governmental and non-profit leaders with research, strategic planning, grants, economic development consulting, public administration training and public affairs programming. Since its founding in 1980, the Docking Institute has worked with hundreds of organizations throughout Kansas and beyond, assisting them in charting future success.
* With leadership from Gov. Sebelius and in partnership with the owner-operators of the 148 McDonald's restaurants in Kansas, the Kansas Youth Leadership Academy was established to educate the state's future leaders in seminars and camps at various sites throughout the state. The KYLA is based at FHSU's Center for Civic Leadership.

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Office of University Relations   |  600 Park Street   |  Hays, KS  67601-4099
(785) 628-4206   |   Fax (785) 628-4152
Kent Steward, Director   |  ksteward@fhsu.edu  |  Kurt Beyers, Assistant Director   |  kbeyers@fhsu.edu