hcc_fullsizeCOLLEGE PARK, Md.–The University of Maryland, U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski and Benjamin Cardin announce today that Howard Community College is recipient of the prestigious U.S. Senate Productivity Award.

The award, part of the university’s Maryland Performance Excellence Awards Program, honors role model organizations for successfully implementing systematic processes for continuous improvement and achieving outstanding results. Award recipients are evaluated rigorously by an independent board of examiners using the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, which measures an organization in seven areas: leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; process management; and results.

“Howard Community College is an incredible institution–but an institution is only bricks and building. What makes it great is determined students, powerhouse faculty and consistent leadership,” says U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski. “Community colleges are the gateway to the future. Howard Community College is an example of everything we want for our higher education facilities in Maryland.”

Representatives from the college received the award today at the 2008 Maryland Performance Excellence Awards Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony, held at the University of Maryland.

“I am very impressed by Howard Community College’s commitment to offering its students the highest standards of quality, and by its continuous monitoring of student success and employee satisfaction,” says U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin.

Howard Community College is a publicly funded two-year community college serving the educational needs of the citizens and employers in Howard County since 1970. The college is located mid-way between the metropolitan areas of Baltimore and Washington. With its slogan, “You Can Get There from Here,” the college has forged a variety of partnerships to offer career and transfer programs to 25,000 students annually at its main campus in Columbia, the Ecker Business Training Center, Laurel College Center, and the historic Belmont Conference Center.

“A commitment to outcomes and assessment reveals not only the mindset of an institution, but also its heart,” says Kathleen Hetherington, president of Howard Community College. “HCC has a passion to help students succeed and to ‘discover their greatness.’ That’s what motivates the college’s tireless pursuit of quality.”

Howard Community College employs a continuous flow of information to evaluate activities that serve students and help them succeed. A multi-step process is used to select, align, collect and integrate information—including evidence of student learning—to track daily operations and overall organizational performance. Every team and unit, as well as senior leaders, use a Plan-Do-Study-Act process called “FIRE It Up!” to innovate, design and improve work systems. Information is fed into the strategic planning process to clarify objectives and direct resources.

Howard Community College ranks above its peers in indicators such as registered nurse licensure, employer training, and satisfaction of students and employees. The college also ranks high among its peers with a 50.1 percent four-year transfer rate.

“Howard Community College has a long history of using outcome measures to improve performance in the classroom,” said Dr. Patrick Huddie, chair of the college’s Board of Trustees. “The culture of the college says, ‘the quest for excellence is never complete; you always try to improve.’ That is the hallmark of a great institution.”

Additional winners of Maryland Performance Excellence Awards this year include:

  • Allen & Shariff Corporation received the Bronze Maryland Quality Award. Headquartered in Columbia, Md., Allen & Shariff is an engineering/construction services company with a mission “to be the best by delivering outstanding engineering solutions and construction services that are innovative, efficient, practical and on-time.” Founded in 1993, the company has 98 employees in four offices in Maryland and Pennsylvania and focuses its work on its core values of integrity, quality, team spirit, pride, growth and citizenship.
  • Asbury~Solomons, Inc. received the Gold Maryland Quality Award. A not-for-profit 501(c)3 Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) located on a 58-acre waterfront, resort-like setting on the Patuxent River in Calvert County, Asbury~Solomons’ mission is “to provide continuing care and services to the aging, in a dignified Christian environment in southern Maryland.” With 500 residents in Residential Living, Assisted Living and a Skilled Nursing Facility, Asbury~Solomons’ vision is “to be the first choice in senior living services and the employer of choice.”
  • The College of Southern Maryland received the Silver Maryland Quality Ward. Celebrating 50 years of providing the residents of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s Counties with a broad range of high-quality associate degree and certificate programs, the College of Southern Maryland also offers short-term training, workforce development, cultural enrichment and continuing education offerings. In 2007, more than 21,000 students attended the college at any of its three campuses. The mission of the College of Southern Maryland is to prepare the students and community to meet the challenges of individual, social and global changes by offering a broad range of affordable, high-quality learning opportunities.
  • The Information Services Division (ISD) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) received the Silver Maryland Quality Award. Located in Gaithersburg, Md., ISD is responsible for creating, maintaining, organizing, and disseminating information and a NIST knowledge base to support the research and administrative needs required to fulfill the scientific and technical mission of NIST. Through the work of its Research Library and Information Group, Electronic Information and Publications Group, and Museum and History Program, ISD provides professional scientific and technical information assistance to NIST research staff through its research and publishing cycles.
  • Naval Medical Logistics Command (NAVMEDLOGCOM)received a Certificate of Recognition. Located at Fort Detrick in Frederick County, NAVMEDLOGCOM is responsible for handling all medical logistics needs of the United States Navy, including procurement of healthcare professionals, operational and medical logistics, production and manufacturing, and external training. With 150 military, civilian and contract workers, NAVMEDLOGCOM provides medical logistics services, supplies, and equipment to 130 military treatment facilities and more than 300 Naval ships and U.S. Marine Corps units located throughout the world. The organization practices its guiding principles of honor, courage and commitment in all aspects of its services.
  • Queen Anne’s County Public Schools won the Silver Maryland Quality Award. Located at the foot of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, Queen Anne’s County is the gateway to Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Within a rapidly growing rural community of 40,500 individuals, Queen Anne’s County Public Schools’ mission is “to educate, encourage and enable all students to become productive and contributing citizens in a diverse and changing world.” The school district subscribes to this premise by providing rigorous academic, career, and technology-based education to more than 7,900 students, starting at age four and continuing through adulthood.
  • Savantage Financial Services, Inc. received the Bronze Maryland Quality Award. Savantage provides accounting, information technology, financial systems and e-business solutions, as well as a wide range of software products and consulting services, to government organizations. As a woman-owned, small business headquartered in Rockville, its number one priority is customer service, and its core values of dedication, hard work and a commitment to innovation are essential to making customers successful. With a highly educated and diverse staff, its corporate culture focuses on leadership, integrity, a passion for learning, mutual respect, and a drive for initiative.

Since 1983, Maryland’s U.S. Senators and the University of Maryland have joined together to help Maryland organizations achieve excellence and world-class results using the Maryland Performance Excellence Awards process to inspire, coach and recognize role model organizations for their successful implementation of systematic processes and achievement of outstanding results. The awards program provides an opportunity for organizations to improve their performance through self-assessment, writing an application, receiving an external analysis, participating in workshops and conferences, benchmarking with other high-performing organizations and sharing best practices.

About the Maryland Performance Excellence Awards (www.mpea.umd.edu)
The Maryland Performance Excellence Awards Program recognizes and honors high-performing organizations in Maryland. Given since 1983 by Maryland’s U.S. Senators and the University of Maryland, the awards foster process-based, measurable, continuous improvement that drives results, creating successful organizations that strengthen the Maryland economy.