Fort Hays State University as a whole, its library and three of its academic units received Commitment to Quality Awards from the Kansas Award for Excellence Foundation.
The university was among 34 Kansas businesses and organizations honored at the eighth annual Kansas Award for Excellence banquet Tuesday in Wichita.
The Commitment to Quality Award goes to organizations that have demonstrated a serious commitment to the use of quality principles. The award recognizes organizations that are in the early stages of applying the principles of the Baldrige National Quality Award. It is the first level of recognition under the statewide program. The university now is eligible to compete for the Performance in Quality Award, followed by the Kansas Excellence Award.
"This award demonstrates Fort Hays State University's interest and ongoing commitment to continuous process improvement and quality education," said Dr. Chris Crawford, FHSU's assistant to the provost for institutional effectiveness and assessment. "The award recognizes that our university has identified processes for improvement and has begun to implement those processes."
The university's Forsyth Library received the Commitment to Quality Award for its use of data from various surveys to align decision-making with the needs of its patrons; its commitment to innovation through the development of a digital library and enlargement of on-line resources; its partnerships with academic departments, other organizations, local communities and regional communities; its commitment to improving the work environment through professional development and increased opportunities for staff; and its utilization of the Academic Quality Improvement Program criteria as a framework for identifying goals and deploying solutions.
"I am honored to receive the Commitment to Quality Award as a representative of the Forsyth Library staff and the university," said John Ross, library director. "The award is a great compliment to the staff and a testimony to their work, knowledge and dedication to the needs of our patrons."
FHSU's Department of Educational Administration and Counseling, which includes graduate degree programs in educational administration and counseling, also received the Commitment to Quality Award. "I am pleased that the policies and procedures of the Department of Educational Administration and Counseling have met the award criteria for the Commitment to Quality Award by the Kansas Award for Excellence," said Dr. Jim Murphy, chair of the department. "This honor demonstrates the quality of department programs and procedures, and it challenges us to build upon our commitment to excellence."
Brian Kinnaird, director of another award-wining unit, the Justice Studies Program, said the FHSU departments that were recognized this year are those that are "pioneering" into the area of total quality management. "A university philosophy that embraces assessment and outcome measures as a cornerstone of effective operations can only be achieved by support from FHSU administration in addition to the hard work by individual departments," he said. "I see this very much as a piston working back and forth, (top-down, bottom-up)."
The university's Elementary Education Program also received the Commitment to Quality Award. "FHSU has a strong emphasis on establishing and maintaining good relations with collaborators in the field of education," said Dr. Debbie Mercer, assistant dean of professional services. "Specifically, agreements with community colleges enhance the flow of students to the university and support the unit's commitment to diversity. Numerous opportunities are available for faculty professional development, thus encouraging each faculty member to reach their maximum potential as a contributor and as an individual. The program also has a strong commitment to program review and assessment processes, continually striving to improve courses and experiences offered to students."
The Kansas Award for Excellence program annually recognizes organizations from across the state that have used the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Criteria for Performance Excellence. For more than 15 years, thousands of U.S. organizations have used the Baldrige Criteria to increase efficiency and improve the quality of their products and services.
The award program is managed by the Kansas Award for Excellence Foundation, a non-profit organization located in Topeka. The foundation is the Kansas affiliate of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Program, a division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.