Higher Learning Research Communications

Digital Object Identifier





Objectives: This study outlines the journey of an online university to evaluate faculty performance standards, key performance indicators, and systems for quality assurance using an appreciative inquiry summit model. The study reveals the power of quality appreciation as an approach that elicits a shared vision for quality definitions and standards and serves as a historical marker in the higher education shift from data-driven faculty performance approaches to strengths-based, inclusive methods.

Method: The retrospective business case outlines one university’s 2018 Appreciative Inquiry Summit, 5D (define, discover, dream, design, destiny/deliver) approach, resulting deliverables, lessons learned, and conclusions.

Results: The summit and subsequent quality appreciation processes laid a foundation for inclusive leadership and inclusive teaching and learning. Quality appreciation was observed to be a third component to quality enhancement that had heretofore included quality control and quality assurance mechanisms. Quality appreciation, based on appreciative inquiry (AI) approaches, is a method for uncovering the positive core of an organization that results in ideal quality standards, definitions, and desires for ongoing quality creation.

Conclusions: This case provides a view of one university’s building upon data-driven methods for faculty performance evaluation. The use of appreciative inquiry to advance a quality appreciation agenda and human-centered approaches served as a stepping-stone toward a vision for inclusive, strengths-based quality enhancement.

Implication for Theory and/or Practice: Quality control mechanisms and systems for quality assurance are supported by quality appreciation. In this case, faculty quality appreciation is the integration of AI practices with ongoing evaluation and identification of faculty and classroom quality standards. Quality Appreciation leads to strengthened definitions of quality that are values-driven and founded in the heart and soul of the university’s teaching and learning.