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Institutional Research
Quality Improvement at the University of Missouri

What is quality improvement? Very simply put, QI "is a formal approach to the analysis of performance and systematic efforts to improve it."[1]

Some key concepts of quality improvement:
  • Most problems are located in processes, not in people. People are often working in systems that have not been engineered or well-designed, so they do their best to get the work done.
  • If you can improve processes, you can improve quality. If you can design a process to work effectively and efficiently, you will improve the quality of what is produced.
  • "Quality" is a relative term - it depends on the key processes (e.g., processing applications, providing data and analysis to customers) within a particular area.
  • Assessment and measurement is important - you need to be able to assess both how well your process is working as designed, and whether or not you are getting your desired outcomes.
  • Wide scale improvement efforts are really most effective when they become a part of the way every day work is done, not just the work of a few within the organization.
  • Quality improvement is a team effort. Complex problems require the input of many in order to come up with viable solutions.

At Mizzou, quality improvement projects take place in both administrative and academic units. The focus in administrative units typically focuses on streamlining current processes, or designing new processes that maximize current resources. Within academic units, the goal is to help improve processes that impact teaching, learning, research and service. This is done primarily through the program assessment process.

Quality Improvement provides the following services:

  • Lead process improvement projects
  • Develop survey instruments to assess stakeholder satisfaction and engagement
  • Assist with strategic planning processes
  • Use various improvement tools, such as process mapping, cause and effect diagrams

Example projects:

Accelerated Graduate Programs Process Design [PDF}
Missouri Residency Petition Re-Engineering [PDF}
Graduate School Admissions Optimization [PDF]
International Admissions Redesign [PDF]
Program Assessment [PDF]
Student Information Systems Request
Management [PDF]
Communication Improvement Effort
with Students and Parents [PDF]


For more information about Quality Improvement,
contact Julie Brandt at