2018 Baldrige Examiner Visit

Dear Alamo Colleges District Family,

In April 2018, we submitted our second application for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award as the Alamo Colleges District system (five colleges and District Support Operations combined). It is our responsibility now to be prepared for a Baldrige site visit during the first week of October 2018. The site visit involves a 3-4 day visit by a team of examiners. The purpose of the site visit will be to evaluate our organization and determine our eligibility for the 2018 Baldrige award. You are the most important contributor to performance excellence. Receiving a site visit is an extraordinary accomplishment and recognition of that commitment to excellence. Each Alamo Colleges District staff member should be proud of this success because our application is an attempt to tell our story of achievement.

It would be an honor to win the award. Baldrige award winners receive widespread recognition, and it would be wonderful for our world-class organization to be acknowledged for our hard work. However, the primary reason why we are applying is to make the Alamo Colleges District the best it can be, for all those we serve.  After the examiners visit us, they will prepare a detailed feedback report outlining our organizational strengths and opportunities for improvement.  It is this report that helps us recognize and focus on the areas and processes to improve.

Our mission, vision, and values are guiding principles that provide a focus for our work. By applying for the Baldrige award, we are testing ourselves to see how well we are living up to these principles.  We compare (benchmark) the Alamo Colleges District to the best organizations in order to reinforce our strengths and address our opportunities for improvement.

You may be involved in some part of the site visit. Baldrige examiners may ask to speak with you about your work and about Alamo Colleges District. This resource gives you an idea of what to expect during the site visit and how you can contribute. It shouldn’t be difficult. Be prepared to talk about how the Alamo Colleges District responds to student, family, community, and employee feedback; how we continuously improve; how you are empowered to solve problems; and your understanding of the district’s mission, vision, 6 values, 6 key strategic priorities, and 3 core competencies. If you are unsure of something, please ask your supervisor. 

Ultimately, Baldrige examiners are looking for organizations that can serve as role models and mentors to share our performance excellence strategies and practices with other organizations. I believe Alamo Colleges District is an outstanding role model. There are many things we can be proud to share with the examiners, and I am anxious to have you share our accomplishments, our successes, and the spirit of the Alamo Way. Relax, be confident, and proudly tell our story.

What is Baldrige?

The Baldrige Performance Excellence Program is a national public-private partnership run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Baldrige Program educates organizations in performance excellence management and administers the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award the nation's highest Presidential honor for performance excellence through innovation, improvement and visionary leadership.

The Baldrige Program's main focus areas are to help organizations achieve best-in-class levels of performance; identify and recognize role-model organizations; identify and share best management practices, principles, and strategies.

Why did we apply for the national Baldrige Award?
  • The Baldrige award process enables us to evaluate our entire organization through a team of trained third-party examiners.
  • We will receive a feedback report indicating the areas for us to continue to improve and accelerate our journey to excellence.
  • Use of the Baldrige Criteria correlates strongly with improved outcomes.

Our goal is to improve the Alamo Colleges District system by improving in all areas. We want to be the best we can be in meeting the needs of all our stakeholders. Consequently, we have assessed ourselves against the Baldrige Criteria as a way to obtain actionable feedback to accelerate our journey towards performance excellence.

Examiners will assess our entire organization. They will identify the strengths they find as well as our opportunities for improvement. They will also identify exemplary areas that we could share as "best practices" with other organizations of higher education in the nation.

Baldrige Feedback Report

All Baldrige award applicants receive detailed feedback from the Baldrige examiners.  Feedback Reports often contain comments on as many as 100 areas of strength and opportunity.  Surveys show that more than 90% of applicants use the received feedback in their strategic planning and decision making.

Our Journey Toward Excellence

In order to be eligible to apply for the Baldrige Award, organizations must earn the award at their respective state level. The Alamo Colleges District DSO submitted an application for the Texas Award for Performance Excellence (TAPE) – led by the Quality Texas Foundation – in October 2015, received a site visit in January 2016 and was awarded the 2016 TAPE later that year.

The award was the culmination of a nine-year journey and reflected the outstanding dedication of all DSO and college teams and the strong leadership of the Board of Trustees. TAPE recipients are selected based on the same performance criteria used at the national level for the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, which awards the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

As a state awardee, the district was then eligible to submit its application for the 2018 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in April 2018. Demonstrating the relevance and value of the Baldrige Excellence Framework to organizations of multiple sizes and sectors, a few awards are given annually across six industries (manufacturing, service, small business, education, health care, and nonprofit) representing every major region of the United States.

What do expect during the visit?

Each Baldrige site visit is tailored to the applicant’s organization. On Monday, October 1, 2018, the examiners will have an opening meeting with the PVC and a cross-section of the Alamo Colleges District workforce. At that meeting, The Chancellor will make a presentation describing who we are and how we work. That will be followed by an interview of the PVC. Later, there will be more focused interviews with teams of subject-matter experts in each of the seven Baldrige categories (below).

During these interviews, which will conclude on Wednesday afternoon or perhaps Thursday morning, the examiners will ask questions to “verify” the strengths and “clarify” the opportunities for improvement that they identified from reviewing our application. They will also conduct brief informal “walk-around” interviews where they will talk to employees at random in any of our locations. They will also make visual observations of the organization’s operations and culture.

Welcome the examiners and be excited about their questioning.  The only “right” answer is an honest answer!

Innovation Highlights


Alamo Colleges District advisors undergo extensive, rigorous training to receive their certification.

They strive to be current on employment trends and skills needed in the workplace and figuring out roadmaps tailored to the individual needs of each student.

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At the Alamo Colleges District, we dare our students to dream with a purpose and start their journey in one of our six new Institutes.

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4DX Franklin Covey - Time Matrix

How do we consistently put first things first to create the results we want in work and life?

It starts with understanding the return on your time and energy represented by the time matrix.

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Alamo Colleges District Highlight

We are not one college with many campuses. We are one district with five independently accredited colleges with a very unique challenge.

That challenge required a different culture and structure to achieve our purpose and vision.

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Here’s a list of other recent Alamo Colleges District Innovation Highlights:



Alamo Academies

Alamo Way Leadership Model





Alamo University Center


BAM (Budget Alignment Methodology)

College Connection

Data Days

Debt Management Plan

Decision-Making Model

Dual Credit

Early College High School

Education and Training Centers

Emerging Leaders Program

Experiential Learning

Hunger Banquet

I-BEST (Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training)

Jessica’s Project

Math Pathways



Strategy Map

Student-Driven Financial Literacy

Student Leadership Institute (SLI)

Student Peer Advisory

Student Trustee

Sustainability Program

VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance)

Workforce Center of Excellence

Thank You!

Thanks again to everyone involved in the Baldrige 2018 Site Visit.

View List of Participants

If you participated and are not listed, please let us know at dst-webmaster@alamo.edu.