CQIN History

It Began with a Meeting and a Mission

The Continuous Quality Improvement Network (CQIN) began with discussions at a meeting in Los Angeles on July 26, 1991, held in conjunction with a symposium on Total Quality Management in Higher Education. Meeting attendees included: Clyde LeTarte of Jackson Community College, Marvin Lane of Lamar Community College, Stan Spanbauer of Fox Valley Technical College, Dick Calkins of Grand Rapids Community College, Richard DeCosmo of Delaware County Community College, Peter Kessinger of Honolulu, and Kevin Words of Australia.

Founding Members

This initial meeting of presidents resulted in a decision that the new “Community College Continuous Quality Improvement Network” would be modeled after the League for Innovation in the Community College. Potential members were discussed and it was decided that 13 members should be invited to join initially.

At this meeting of presidents, agreement was reached on the broad outline for the organization and structure of the Network. A description of the Network which resulted from the discussion at this meeting included the following information:


The purpose of the Network would be to have an honest and open sharing of information – the “pluses and minuses” among community college presidents who have committed to implementation of Total Quality Management principles, practices, and tools as a way of continuously improving their institutions.

Quality Advisors Network

A parallel group composed of senior TQM practitioners – called advisors – from each member institution would be formed to meet separately on a regular basis. The purpose of the Quality Advisors Network would be to allow those individuals responsible for implementation strategies to share ideas, approaches, and tools with each other. The Quality Advisors would meet at the same time as the presidents. Each member president would designate someone to participate in the Quality Advisors Network.

AACJC Relationship

CQIN would have no formal relationship with AACJC, but the members would be active in “spreading the word” through the AACJC organization and its activities.

Schedule of Meetings

The Network would meet three times per year. Two meetings would be held in conjunction with each of the AACJC and ACCT national conventions, and one meeting would be at a Network member campus. Occasional joint meetings would be held if international chapters were formed.

Network Activities

A major activity would be open dialogue among presidents. The Network would consider creating task forces – such as one on assessment. TQM seminars would be sponsored with revenues and expenses shared among members. Materials would be developed cooperatively and shared at cost. Each Network meeting would involve two to three hours of professional development. Activities would be driven by member interest and capacities.

Clyde LeTarte, president of Jackson Community College, would serve as Interim Chair. Stan Spanbauer, president of Fox Valley Technical College, agreed to host the next meeting and draft by-laws for the Network.

In August and September of 1991, letters of invitation to join CQIN were sent to the CEOs of the following institutions: Brazosport College, Dallas County Community College District, Delaware County Community College, Eastern Iowa Community College, El Camino College, Fox Valley Technical College, Grand Rapids Community College, Harford Community College, Hawkeye Institute of Technology, Houston Community College, Jackson Community College, Lakeshore Technical College, Lamar Community College, Rio Salado Community College, and Northcentral Technical College.

Original Members