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Northwood University snags statewide recognition of excellence

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CEDAR HILL - Northwood University’s Texas campus has received an award for quality and exceptional performance from the Quality Texas Foundation, which helps universities, hospitals and other business entities improve performance.

In presenting Northwood with its Progress Level Award, the Foundation noted that North-wood "has a sound, balanced approach to organizational management and performance improvement."

The recognition also signifies the progress Northwood has made in establishing, deploying and improving its quality during the past several years.

There are four levels at which an organization may participate: Award, Progress, Commitment and Engagement, and this is the first time Northwood applied to the program.

Northwood’s Texas campus took part in the Progress level and is well positioned for an Award level application, said Northwood Professor Barb Vogler.

Professor Vogler has been heavily involved in the Texas Quality Awards for three years. Northwood’s participation in - and recognition by - the Quality Texas assessment process provides campus leaders with information to ensure the continued growth and success of Northwood’s campus, she said.

"This is most important because it recognizes Northwood’s commitment to quality improvement," Professor Vogler said. "It shows that we are among some of the top organizations in the state trying to maximize our potential and improve to the point of becoming world-class."

Northwood was recognized for its "quality" in eight areas, according to Quality Texas’ feedback report.

Senior leadership meets annually to develop a strategic operating plan that drives leadership decisions throughout the academic year; Northwood conducts "incubator days" three times a year for informational and problem-solving sessions; Northwood is focused on putting the customer first and its mission and code of ethics reinforce the development of future leaders through a business focused education.

Faculty are leaders in their fields; Northwood University utilizes its EXCEL program to encourage student participation in community service.

The program also provides networking opportunities for students.

Additionally, the report states that prospective students are provided personal admission counselors from initial contact through orientation.

This builds relationships to attract, satisfy and retain students; Mission, vision and values are deployed through the Provost and the Provost Council.

The Provost meets with the Board of Governors, which acts in an advisory capacity to ensure Northwood’s leadership practices are integrated and aligned at the national level.

Dr. Kevin Fegan, provost of Northwood’s Texas campus, said this is another significant step toward worldwide recognition as a leading business university.

"There’s only one level above what we received," said Dr. Fegan. "To get to this level right out of the gate is a big deal."

Dr. William Denney, chief executive officer of The Quality Texas Foundation, said this recognition by the Quality Texas Foundation is a clear indication of

Northwood University’s commitment to its students and community through its own operational improvement.

"Institutions of higher learning, like Northwood, who use the Baldrige Criteria, and participate in the Quality Texas feedback process, build sustainable organizations," said Dr. Denney. "I congratulate North-wood for being on this continuous improvement journey."

The Baldrige Criteria is a leadership system that represents the best known methods to improve and sustain an organization.

The criteria are reviewed and changed every two years based on studies of successful organizations and what

they do to ensure excellent performance.

Dr. Tara Peters, Northwood’s chairwoman of Management and a Quality Texas examiner, said called the annual conference "a great opportunity for networking and professional development."

"One of my favorite aspects of the conference is reconnecting with colleagues that I’ve worked on teams with or participated in examiner training sessions," Dr. Peters said. "It’s a nice way to recharge and find out how they’re progressing in the journey towards continuous improvement. I also enjoy the opportunity to attend the workshops to identify best practices and what’s working well in similar and diverse industries."

Professor Steve Brazill, who served on Northwood’s Quality Texas Committee and is the chairman of Northwood’s Automotive Marketing department, said this experience has given Northwood a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

"There are not that many colleges in the area that have gone through this kind of process and had this recognition, so it’s a fairly unique thing," Professor Brazill said.

"We’ve been recognized at a high level."

Professor Brazill said this award has a positive impact on Northwood’s students because the university has "clearly identified and articulated our goals."

"We improve our opportunities to achieve those goals. We will achieve them more consistently. All of our stakeholders will have a very clear understanding of what our goals are, and what they can expect from the organization. Then when we deliver on these goals and promises consistently, everyone wins."

Dr. Jane Konditi, Northwood’s academic dean, and Professor Vogler also have served as Quality Texas examiners. Examiners are trained to provide feedback

that helps applicants get to ever-higher levels of performance.

Northwood’s Quality Texas Committee consisted of Professor Steve Brazill, Heidi Davis, Kaethryn Duncan Adam Guerrero, Danielle Keith, Dr. Tara Peters, Professor Barb Vogler, Anna White and Roy Wilson.

The award was given at a luncheon, which was attended by Professor Steve Brazill, Kaethryn Duncan, Dr. Kevin Fegan, Dr. Jane Konditi, Dr. Tara Peters, Professor Barb Vogler, Anna White and Roy Wilson.

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