Howard Community College Wins National Award

The United States Department of Commerce last week named Howard Community College (HCC) a winner of the 2019 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in the category of education. Baldrige is the nation’s only presidential award for performance excellence, recognizing organizations and businesses that demonstrate a perpetual drive for innovative solutions to complex challenges, visionary leadership, and operational excellence.

HCC’s growth rate for the attainment of associate degrees and certificates has consistently outperformed its local and national comparators by more than 200%. Compared against the baseline year of fall 2002, HCC’s full-time-equivalent student growth rate increased from under 40% in 2003 to 340% in 2018, whereas state, national and best peer rates are close to just 100%.

“The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award honors HCC’s shared commitment to continuous quality improvement,” said Dr. Kate Hetherington, president of HCC. “This commitment has resulted in the college making great strides in closing the achievement gap, increasing completion, and preparing students for the workforce. The Baldrige award is only possible because of the hard work by faculty, staff, and trustees who are dedicated to the college’s mission of providing pathways to success.”

According to a press release:

“With an emphasis on efficiency and best practices, the Baldrige public-private partnership generates $1 billion per year in economic impact for the U.S. economy,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The Baldrige Award embodies the competitive spirit and commitment to excellence that fuels our economic resurgence and drives our country forward.”

“It is an honor to serve an organization that is always striving to excel,” said Feli Solà-Carter, chair of the Howard Community College Board of Trustees. “The Baldrige Excellence Framework helps guide our quality journey, and it positions HCC for success today and into the future.”

To achieve performance excellence, Howard Community College (HCC) has systematically focused on increasing completion among all its students. HCC increased its graduation rate by 168% within two years of entry, from the 2008 to the 2017 entering cohorts of first-time-to-college students. HCC also tripled the graduation rates for first-time-to-college Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino students within two years of entry.

The attainment of degrees and job placement are another indicator of student success. HCC’s growth rate of more than 100 percent for associate degrees awarded for over 10 years consistently outperforms its peers. Additionally, 100 percent of graduates in the areas of nursing, radiologic technology, dental hygiene, medical laboratory technician, diagnostic medical sonography, emergency medical services, and physical therapy assistant found employment after graduating.

Monitored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency within the U. S. Department of Commerce, the Baldrige program provides a framework and standards through which to measure organizational success. Howard Community College has followed the Baldrige framework in its quest for performance excellence since 2005.

Last year, the college was recognized for its “role-model practices” in leadership (category 1). In 2017, the Baldrige Program honored the college for its best practices in the categories of customers and operations. HCC previously received the US Senate Productivity Award for 2007, Maryland’s most prestigious award for organizational performance excellence.

HCC will receive its Baldrige Award during a ceremony in March at the Baldrige Program’s Quest for Excellence conference.

More information about the Baldrige Award and the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program is available here.