Legacy Award

Legacy Award

On July 26, 1991, 16 community colleges joined together to form the Continuous Quality Improvement Network. Over the many years that CQIN has been operating as a premier networking and learning organization, numerous people have made extraordinary contributions to our success and the success of their own colleges. In other words, they have handed down a legacy that will be a part of our and their history forever. In view of this fact, the CQIN Executive Committee approved the establishment of the CQIN Legacy Award to honor the individual whose contributions to CQIN and his or her organization have been so significant as to stand out from the others. Each year the committee will determine if the award is warranted and, if so, it will be presented at the Summer Institute.


2016 – Dr. Daniel Phelan, Jackson College, MI

Dan Phelan Wins CQIN Legacy Award

In 2016, Dr. Daniel Phelan earned CQIN’s Legacy Award for his extraordinary contributions to CQIN’s success as well as the success of Jackson College, where he has served as President since 2001. Dr. Phelan is Chairman of the Board of Directors for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and serves on the AACC Advocacy Advisory Group (AAG), as well as AACC’s Finance Committee and joint Executive Committee with the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT). He is also Chair-Elect of the Higher Education Research and Development Institute (HERDI) and Chair-Elect of the Jackson County Enterprise Group. Additionally, Phelan serves on the Board for the Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE), the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK), and he is a founding Board member for the international organization, US-Brasil Connect (USBC). Phelan is Past-Chair of the Michigan Community College Association (MCCA) Board of Directors. He also served on the American Association of Community College’s (AACC) 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges, co-chairing a team charged with redefining the community college role and mission.

Phelan was a member of CQIN’s Executive Committee for eight years, from 2007–2014. During this time, he served as president (2009–2010), treasurer (2013–2014), and mentor to new member CEOs and new staff members. Continuous innovation, quality, service and vision for an improved future of student success have continued to define Phelan’s contribution to the community college movement.

Phelan is a regular national presenter and an author of numerous professional articles, monographs, and essays which have appeared in various books and publications including New Directions in the Community College, the Community College Journal of Research and Practice, the Journal of Applied Research in the Community College and the Community College Journal. His new book, Unrelenting Change, Innovation, and Risk: Forging the Next Generation of Community Colleges was published in early 2016 by Rowman and Littlefield. Phelan’s discipline is business administration and higher education administration. He holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Iowa State University, an M.B.A. from St. Ambrose University, and both a B.A. in Business Administration and an A.A. degree in Liberal Arts from Mount St. Clare College.

Phelan has been widely honored for his work in higher education and community service, including the the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) CEO of the Year Award for the Central Region, the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) National Honor Society’s Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction, the Iowa State University Alumni Award, and the Boy Scouts of America’s Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award for the Great Sauk Trail Council. Now, Phelan can add CQIN’s Legacy Award to his long list of achievements.

2012 – Dr. Jackie Claunch, first recipient of the CQIN Legacy Award

Dr. Jacqueline “Jackie” Claunch served as Northwest Vista College president for 16 years, from 1998-2014. During this time, the College grew from a handful of students to a nationally recognized institution of over 16,000 students who pursue academic and technical degree programs.

Dr. Claunch believes in creating opportunities for success. Through her leadership, she strived to build and sustain a collaborative and student-centered college where learning is celebrated, innovation is encouraged and diverse perspectives are valued. Dr. Claunch is passionate about academic excellence, quality service and environmental conservation, permeating in the classrooms, programs and Northwest Vista College culture.

Most recently, Northwest Vista College was recognized for best practice in leadership and customer focus by the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, managed by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology. Northwest Vista College was also recognized by Quality Texas Foundation with the Texas Award for Performance Excellence (TAPE).

The college is a national leader in developmental education, having received Advanced Level Certification for the Advocacy Center by the National Association for Developmental Education. The center has been named exemplary by the National Council of Teachers of English. Other awards include a Student Retention Initiative Award by the MetLife Foundation as well as the Master Naturalist Award for Preservation from the Alamo Area Chapter of the Master Naturalists.

In addition to the 2012 Continuous Quality Improvement Network Legacy Award, Dr. Claunch also received the the 2009 Women’s Leadership Award for Public Service by the San Antonio Business Journal as well as an award for outstanding achievements in education by La Prensa, San Antonio’s only bilingual newspaper.

Prior to joining Northwest Vista College, Dr. Claunch served for 23 years in leadership positions at Richland College in Dallas. She holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Trinity University, an M.A. in Mathematics and Computer Science from Texas A&I University, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of North Texas.

Dr. Claunch believes that an effective learning environment must be warm, open, creative, diverse, innovative, inclusive and most of all — joyful.