Career and Technical Education Research, 41(1), p. 49

Career and Technical Education Research, 41(1), p. 49

Perceptions of Leaders and Faculty

Patricia Crum-Allen

IVY Tech Community College

Louann Bierlein Palmer

Western Michigan University


This study examined career and technical education (CTE) centers in Michigan and their

potential alignment with the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award in Education. CTE center leaders

and their faculty were asked to provide their perceptions of how well their organizations meet

Baldrige quality elements, using a version of the Baldrige Assessment Tool. The study further

queried CTE center leaders and faculty with regard to quality awards received and their desire

to pursue external quality award. Differences between CTE leaders and faculty responses were

explored. This research used an on-line survey to gather perceptions of CTE center leaders and

faculty. The data collection tool utilized a six-point Likert scale moving from strong

disagreement to strong agreement (6.0). Of the CTE center leaders and faculty, 293 responded;

nearly three-fourths were faculty. Frequency, descriptive, and ANOVA statistics revealed the

perception by CTE center leaders and faculty that their organizations were strong enough to win

external quality award. Of the 40 Baldrige items on the assessment tool, only four items had less

than 50% of participants not indicating moderate and/or strong agreement. Items ranked from a

5.71 to 4.04 mean. Statistically significant differences between leaders and faculty were

identified in four categories.

Keywords: Baldrige, quality award, criteria categories, AdvancED Accreditation


The Malcolm Baldrige Award is a

premiere designation sought by many

business organizations/institutions as a way

to demonstrate the effectiveness of their

quality initiatives (Dahlgaard-Park, 2011).

The award was created in 1987 and named in

honor of Malcolm Baldrige, former U.S.

Secretary of Commerce. Initial application

categories included manufacturing, service

companies, and small business, with

education and health care award categories

added in 1999. Currently, the Baldrige

Award is given annually to no more than

three winners in each category.

Within most states, all school

districts, including CTE centers, seek

accreditation through their regional

accreditation association. Much like the

Baldrige Organization’s award criteria, such

accreditation places emphasis on results as

measured against designated standards and

criteria, with a focus on systems thinking and

strategic planning. These accreditation

requirements often mirror standards and

criteria required for the Baldrige Award

(AdvancED, 2012; Ruben, 2007). By

achieving accreditation, the argument can be

made that CTE centers are not only structured

in academic design, but further postured by

accreditation, for potentially pursuing the

Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award in


Alignment of CTE Centers with the Baldrige Quality Award


CTE centers are also fostered by

relationships with business including

advisory committees, guest speakers, job

shadow experiences and work-based learning

experiences. Indeed, many CTE centers have

reciprocal relationships with business and

industry, whereby CTE students may

represent future employees to the workforce

sites where they receive on-the-job training

while attending a CTE program (Alfeld,

Charner, Johnson, & Watts, 2013).

Given such close business

relationships and the need to meet

accreditation standards, one might expect to

find at least one CTE center among the

previous Baldrige Award in Education

winners. Yet, only about 3% of the applicants

for the overall Baldrige Awards come from

the K-12 education sector, with only seven

awards granted to K-12 organizations to date

(National Institute of Standards and

Technology [NIST], 2013), and no CTE

centers are listed among the winners. Our

study therefore sought to explore this issue,

by examining the extent to which CTE center

personnel in one state perceived the existence

of various quality indicators within their


Relevant Literature

Following the establishment of the

Baldrige Award in 1987, some educational

institutions began to translate and apply

quality criteria to their organizations, and

states began to include educational

institutions in their eligibility for state quality

awards based on the criteria (Walpole &

Noeth, 2002). Given their close relationship

with local business and industry, CTE centers

also began integrating performance

excellence and quality measures into their

programs (Berry, 1997). This included school

improvement, systems thinking, and strategic

planning that is driven in part by changing

state and national philosophies, legislative

directive, and by accreditation processes and

procedures (AdvancED, 2012). Indeed, Arif

and Smiley (2003) noted the following

reasons for the incorporation of quality

initiatives in education: declining

enrollments, declining quality, facilitating

change, changing demographics, advancing

technology, competition among institutions,

employers demanding better graduates,

declining retention rates, student

dissatisfaction with overall service quality,

and the costs associated with educational


Yet, a review of the literature

revealed only limited multi-institutional

research on the adoption of the Baldrige

criteria within educational settings. Some

work has been done to profile one or more of

the few K-12 education award winners (e.g.,

Byrnes & Baxter, 2006; Cokeley, Byrnes,

Markley, & Keely, 2007), and general

literature exists dealing with overall award

criteria (e.g., Brown, 2014). A few studies

could be found that looked at linkages

between accreditation processes and the

Baldrige award criteria (e.g., Craven, Scott,

& Kiser, 2009; Ruben, 2007), but these were

at the postsecondary, not the K-12

educational level.

Only two multi-institution studies

specifically connecting Baldrige and K-12

institutions could be found, as described in

The Promise of Baldrige for K-12 Education,

ACT Policy Report (Walpole & Noeth,

2002). While both studies had relatively

small sample sizes, they looked at process

change across multiple institutions including

urban, suburban, and rural K-12 school

districts of diverse sizes. One study, Horine,

Frazier, and Edmister (1998) examined

leadership through the lens of

implementation of Baldrige, while the other,

Detert, Kopel, Mauriel, and Jenni (2000),

examined quality from a broader perspective

focusing on districts with stated

commitments to quality improvement.

Alignment of CTE Centers with the Baldrige Quality Award


The 30 K-12 districts in the first study

by Horine et al. (1998) had averaged 3.6

years of working to implement Baldrige, with

87% beginning their efforts at the district

level. Senior administration in these districts

was very involved and committed to Baldrige

(Walpole & Noeth, 2002). Over 90% said

they gathered input from various

constituencies for the district’s strategic plan,

disseminated it widely, and were trained and

engaged in implementing school goals.

Findings of the study indicated that 76% of

the districts reported that student

performance, including test scores, had

shown improvement.

The second study by Detert et al.

(2000) focused on ten high schools over four

years, using both quantitative and qualitative

methods. The researchers believed that

improving the quality of core processes,

specifically teaching and learning, held much

promise for improving education. Their

report found that approximately 50% of

survey respondents, who represented a

national sample of purposefully chosen high

schools, indicated that continuous

improvement was part of their school or

district plan, and that state-mandated tests

often prompted implementation of quality

processes. In fact, the report went on to

indicate that quality initiatives and state-

mandated tests were frequently

complementary of one another (Detert et al.,


Both these previous studies are quite

old, and no research could be found at all that

reviewed potential connections between CTE

centers and the Baldrige Award criteria. This

is despite such centers having an educational

delivery framework in place which appears to

support the Baldrige framework and its

integrated approach to quality reform. Thus

our review of the literature revealed the need

for this study.

Conceptual Frame and Research


Seven categories serve as a

framework for the Baldrige Award in

Education application: leadership; strategic

planning; customer focus; measurement,

analysis, and knowledge management;

workforce focus; operations, and results

(NIST, 2013). These categories closely

mirror the standards required by one

Midwestern accreditation organization:

governance and leadership; purpose and

direction; teaching and assessing for

learning; resource and support systems; and

using results for continuous improvement

(AdvancED, 2012). CTE programs are also

offered through 16 career cluster areas, many

of which are closely aligned with the

Baldrige application categories, including:

manufacturing, hospitality and tourism,

business management and administration,

education and training, health science, and

human services.

As depicted in Table 1, standards

required for AdvancEd accreditation closely

mirror the seven categories that frame the

Baldrige Education Criteria. Based on their

regular accreditation processes through

AdvancED and strong ties with the business

and industry and communities, CTE centers

may already be postured to apply for and

potentially win quality award, but be


Alignment of CTE Centers with the Baldrige Quality Award


Table 1

CTE Center’s Alignments with the Baldrige Criteria and Categories

CTE Advanced ED Standards Baldrige Award Criteria Category

Governance & Leadership Leadership

Purpose & Direction Strategic Planning

Teaching & Assessing for Learning Customer Focus

Resource & Support Systems Workforce Focus; Operations

Using Results for Continuous Improvement Measurement, Analysis & Knowledge

Management; Results

CTE Cluster Areas Baldrige Application Category

Manufacturing Manufacturing

Hospitality & Tourism Service

Business Management & Administration Small Business

Education & Training Education

Health Science Health Care

Human Services Non-profit

Effective leadership is outlined as

essential by both organizations, and the

purpose and direction standard of the

AdvancED accreditation requirements

speaks to strategic planning. Teaching and

assessing for learning is linked to customer

focus, and resource and support systems are

framed by Baldrige as a part of workforce

focus and operations. Both organizations

place significant emphasis on information

and results and use results to guide strategic

planning and continuous improvement

efforts. By achieving accreditation through

AdvancED, the argument can be made that

this state’s CTE centers are not only

structured in academic design, but further

postured by accreditation, for potentially

pursuing the Baldrige Award in Education.

Given these CTE centers are required to

develop a continuous improvement process

within the requirements of their accreditation

model, we explored how CTE center leaders

view their center’s potential to also pursue

the Baldrige Award in Education.

The purpose of this study therefore

was to explore the extent to which CTE

center leaders and their faculty believe that

their CTE centers are meeting the quality

efforts as detailed in the seven Baldrige

Quality Award in Education Categories.

Specifically, our study addressed the

following research questions.

1. To what extent do CTE center leaders and their faculty believe their

organizations are aligned with the

Baldrige criteria?

2. What previous experience have the respondents had with quality awards,

and to what extent does the

assessment of the organization via the

completion of the Baldrige

Assessment Tool influence their

interest in pursuing quality awards in

the future?

3. Are there any significant differences in item responses between the CTE

center leaders and their faculty?


Our study gathered perceptions from

the target population of all CTE center

leaders and faculty within one Michigan’s 55

CTE Centers, including those in consortium

Alignment of CTE Centers with the Baldrige Quality Award


structures. CTE center leaders and faculty

included principals, assistant principals,

department heads, faculty, and

paraprofessional faculty. The target

population was selected to assess overall

perceptions of those most directly engaged in

the CTE student learning process and to

determine if there were differences in

perception between leaders and faculty.

An e-mail list of all respondents was

compiled using information provided by the

CTE Office of Michigan’s department of

education, through information publicly

available on each of the 55 center

organizational websites, and with the

assistance of individual CTE center

administrators. After appropriate Human

Subjects Institutional Review Board

(HSRIB) approval was obtained, an initial e-

mail containing our survey URL was sent

inviting CTE center leaders and faculty to

participate in the study; a reminder notice

was sent in each of the two weeks that

followed. The data were collected during

spring 2014.

We used an existing instrument

created by NIST (2013), The Baldrige

Assessment Tool, an organizationally-

designed, public domain survey. This survey

instrument solicits responses to statements

provided for each of the seven Baldrige

criteria categories, with emphasis on

Baldrige-designated requirements and

specifics. There are four to nine clarifying

statements under each category.

Baldrige allows customization of this

instrument to meet organizational and/or

research needs (NIST, 2013), and we revised

it to use language that specifically addresses

CTE centers, and their leaders and faculty

members. As survey participants represented

professionals in the educational field who

should have a professional perception on the

topic being addressed, the undecided neutral

option was removed and replaced with

moderately disagree and moderately agree

options, moving from a 5-point to a 6-point

Likert Scale. In addition to the items from

The Baldrige Assessment Tool, seven

additional survey questions were added

which examined previous experience with

quality awards and potential post-assessment

organizational influences, and solicited

demographic data. One open-ended question

was provided for written comments.

While this core instrument was

created by the Baldrige organization, no

reliability and validity data were available for

their instrument, nor were any provided when

we requested this information. Instead, we

piloted the customized instrument with six

CTE professionals from CTE centers of

varying size and diverse in the state of

interest. These six professionals were

provided a hard copy of the survey as well as

electronic access, and were asked to note

impressions regarding readability and clarity.

Their feedback was incorporated into the

final survey, ensuring the clarity of the

instructions and questions. Despite this, the

lack of established reliability and validity for

this instrument is noted as a limitation, as is

the concern with any survey research

whereby those that take the time to respond

may not be representative of the entire


Of the 1,350 CTE center leaders and

faculty for whom we had a valid email

address (i.e., one that did not bounce back),

293 (21.7%) responded to the survey; 72.5%

were faculty, 10.6% were paraprofessionals,

6.6% were principals, assistant principals, or

other administrators, 6.6% were department

chairs and faculty members, and 14.3%

identified themselves as other professionals

within the CTE center, including counselors

and student services personnel. It should be

noted that given the lower response rate of

21.7%, responses are likely over-estimates

toward the higher end, probably offered by

individuals in the strongest positions and

Alignment of CTE Centers with the Baldrige Quality Award


representing those most willing to self-



Most CTE centers in which the

respondents worked had between 10 to 99

faculty members (84.2%, see Table 2). Many

served large numbers of students, with 36.5%

having between 500 and 999 students, 29.6%

between 1,000 and 1,999 students, 19.1%

between 100 and 499 students, and 9.1%

between 2,000 and 4,000 students. The

majority of students in these CTE centers

came from lower-middle class (56.9%) or

middle-class (30.3%) backgrounds, while the

areas surrounding the respondents’ CTE

centers were largely identified as rural

(51.5%) or suburban (36.5%).

To retain anonymity of the

respondents, the survey did not query the

specific CTE center of employ, but inquired

about their geographic region in the state and

then compared that with the overall regional

percentages. Table 3 shows the majority of

respondents came from the southeast

(29.8%), southwest (29.5%), or mid-central

(25.8%) areas of Michigan. It also reveals

that there are some regions which were over

and underrepresented, and although the

respondents were somewhat proportional to

the distribution of the total population of

centers, there are too many differences to

claim any generalization to all centers in this

state. Also, because CTE center names were

not collected, it is unknown if responses were

received from all 55 centers.

With respect to career cluster area, 15

of 16 areas were represented. Only

government and public administration was

not reported. Health sciences had the largest

number of respondents (24.3%), followed by

the transportation, distribution, and logistics

career cluster area (8.3%).

Alignment of CTE Centers with the Baldrige Quality Award


Table 2

CTE Center Respondents: Demographic Information (n = 275)

Demographic Frequency %

Position 273

Principal/assistant principal, administrator 18 6.6

Department chair & faculty member 18 6.6

Faculty member 198 72.5

Paraprofessional faculty member 29 10.6

Other (counselors, student services) 10 3.7

# of Teaching and Administrative Staff


0-9 19 7.7

10-24 59 23.9

25-49 85 34.4

50-99 64 26.0

100 & over 11 4.5

Did Not Know 9 3.6



0-99 4 1.7

100-499 46 19.1

500-999 88 36.5

1000-1999 71 29.5

2000-4000 22 9.1

Did Not Know 10 4.2

Socioeconomic Status of Majority of Students


Lower class 24 8.8

Lower-middle class 156 56.9

Middle class 83 30.3

Upper-middle class 11 4.0

Upper class 0 0.0

Area Surrounding CTE Center


Urban/metropolitan 33 12.0

Suburban 100 36.5

Rural 141 51.5

Alignment of CTE Centers with the Baldrige Quality Award


Table 4 includes all 40 items across

the seven categories, in order from highest to

lowest mean. This table captures all items in

one visual to provide overall comparison as

to which categories were of greatest strength

and/or weakness. While there appears good

distribution between strength to weakness for

six of the categories, the strategic planning

items are found among the lowest scoring

items and appear to be an area for further


Overall, the perceptual ratings of

leaders and staff within CTE Centers were

high for most indicators, with only 10 items

below the 4.50 mark (out of 6.0), which still

places them within the “slightly agree” area.

Of those items, four are strategic planning

items, two each within leadership and results

areas, and one each in the workforce and

measurement areas. Such high perceptual

ratings warrant CTE centers applying for an

external quality award like the Baldrige


Table 3

Geographic Area of State’s CTE Centers Compared to Respondents (n = 275)

Geographic Area

Survey Respondents CTE Centers in Area

n % n %

Southwest 81 29.5 12 21.8

Southeast 82 29.8 23 41.8

Mid-central 71 25.8 10 18.2

Northwest 26 9.5 4 7.3

Northeast 4 1.5 1 1.8

Upper 11 4.0 5 9.1

Totals 275 100.1 55 100.0

Alignment of CTE Centers with the Baldrige Quality Award


Table 4

Mean Ranking of Baldrige Category Items (n = 293)

Category Item M SD

Workforce I am committed to My CTE center’s success 5.71 0.66

Customer I know who my most important customers are 5.57 0.74

Results My CTE center obeys laws and regulations 5.51 0.91

Workforce I have a safe workplace 5.42 1.03

Results My customers are satisfied with my work 5.39 0.69

Results My work products meet all requirements 5.30 0.77

Results My CTE center practices high standards and ethics 5.22 1.20

Leadership I know my CTE center’s mission 5.22 1.17

Customer I regularly ask my customers what they need and want 5.21 0.90

Measurement I can use this information to make changes that will

improve my work

5.20 0.94

Measurement I know how to measure the quality of my work 5.20 0.93

Customer I also know who my CTE center’s most important

customers are

5.18 1.10

Results My CTE center is a good place to work 5.17 1.17

Operations My CTE center is prepared to handle an emergency 5.03 1.18

Results My CTE center helps me help my community 5.00 1.21

Customer I ask if my customers are satisfied or dissatisfied with my


4.98 1.00

Leadership I know my CTE center’s vision 4.88 1.30

Customer I am allowed to make decisions to solve problems for my


4.84 1.24

Workforce The people I work with cooperate and work as a team 4.83 1.31

Operations I can everything I need to do my job 4.72 1.26

Results My CTE center has the right people and skills to do its


4.70 1.30

Measurement I know how the measures I use fit into center’s overall

measures of improvement

4.70 1.19

Operations I have control over my work processes 4.69 1.26

Workforce My CTE center’s leadership team and my CTE center care

about me

4.65 1.51

Leadership Senior (top) leaders at my CTE center use our

organization’s values to guide us

4.65 1.40

Leadership My CTE center’s leadership team shares information about

the organization

4.61 1.41

Workforce My leadership team encourages job development so I can

advance in my career

4.57 1.47

Strat. Planning My CTE center encourages totally new ideas (innovation) 4.54 1.50

Operations My CTE center has good processes for doing our work 4.54 1.32

Measurement I get all the information I need to do my work 4.52 1.31

Leadership Senior (top) leaders at my center create work environment

that helps us do our job

4.49 1.51

Alignment of CTE Centers with the Baldrige Quality Award


Strat. Planning I know the parts of my CTE center’s plans that will affect

me and my work

4.44 1.40

Workforce I am recognized for my work 4.40 1.50

Measurement I know how my CTE center as a whole is doing 4.40 1.37

Leadership My CTE center’s leadership team asks what I think 4.27 1.58

Strat. Planning My CTE center is flexible and can make changes quickly

when needed

4.21 1.49

Strat. Planning As it plans for the future, my CTE center asks for my ideas 4.19 1.59

Results I know how well my CTE center is doing financially 4.11 1.53

Strat. Planning I know how to tell if my center is making progress on my

group’s part of the plan

4.08 1.46

Results My CTE center removes things that get in the way of


4.04 1.46

Note. Strongly Disagree=1, Mod. Disagree=2, Slightly Disagree=3; Slightly Agree=4, Mod.

Agree=5, Strongly Agree=6.

Table 5 highlights the Baldrige

Results items, including customer

satisfaction, quality of product and the

following of laws and regulations, ethical

practices, the work environment, community

service, personnel, financial viability, and the

CTE center’s commitment to continued

organizational progress. In its scoring of

Baldrige applicants, the organization

dedicates the largest portion of potential

points to results and the use of data as a

means for demonstrating quality success

(NIST, 2013).

Table 5

Results Items (n = 293)

Survey Item












% Mean

My customers are satisfied with my work 0.4 0.0 0.4 7.6 43.1 48.6 5.51

My CTE center obeys laws and regulations 1.0 1.4 1.4 5.8 22.3 68.0 5.39

My work products meet all requirements 0.4 0.4 1.0 10.4 43.4 44.4 5.30

My CTE center practices high standards &


2.8 3.1 2.8 8.7 25.7 56.9 5.22

My CTE center is a good place to work 2.1 2.4 4.9 11.2 25.4 54.0 5.17

My CTE center helps me help my


2.1 3.1 6.9 12.5 30.9 44.4 5.00

My CTE center has the right people and


3.1 5.8 7.9 14.8 38.1 30.2 4.70

I know how well my CTE center is


8.7 8.0 14.5 21.8 26.3 20.8 4.11

My CTE center removes things that get in

the way of progress

7.6 8.3 17.7 21.1 29.1 16.3 4.04

Note. Not all respondents responded to all items. Likert scale: Strongly Disagree=1, Moderately

Disagree=2, Slightly Disagree=3, Slightly Agree=4, Moderately Agree=5, Strongly Agree=6.

Alignment of CTE Centers with the Baldrige Quality Award


Of the nine statement items in the

results category, six scored above a

moderately agree (5.00) level, with customer

satisfaction coming in at the highest score (M

= 5.51). Respondents also indicated that their

individual CTE centers obeyed laws and

regulations (M = 5.39), produced quality

products (M = 5.30), and conducted their

work in an ethical manner (M = 5.22).

With the single, open-ended question

in the survey, participants were asked to

identify areas of their CTE center in most

need of improvement with regard to quality.

Among the 99 respondents to this question,

the highest frequency item addressed both

middle and upper level management. About

one-fifth (19.2%) shared comments

indicating varying levels of management had

not created a climate where employees felt

trusted and valued, and (17.2%) indicated

there were many good things going on in

CTE centers, but that greater marketing

efforts were required to inform the public on

happenings and achievements. Another area

of comment (13.1%) focused on the need to

hire qualified teaching personnel who care

about students. Concern regarding the

perceived image of CTE, and the need to

educate home school counselors as to what

CTE has to offer, was addressed as a

component in several of the comments


We also asked participants if their

CTE center has ever considered applying for

an external quality award, actually applied

for an external quality award, and/or received

some external quality award. Of the 273

respondents to this question, 33.7% indicated

they had considered applying for some

external quality award, 9.5% had not, and the

largest percentage of respondents (57.1%)

indicated they did not know if their CTE

center had ever considered applying for some

external quality award. When it came to

actually having applied for some external

quality award, the numbers were similar:

33.5% selected yes, 12.1% selected no, and

55.5% selected do not know. When it came

to having won some type of quality award in

the past, 28.9% indicated they had, 13.3%

indicated they had not, and 57.6% of

respondents noted that they did not know if

their CTE center had actual received some

external quality award. Fifty-nine

respondents noted specific quality awards

that had been awarded their CTE center, and

the largest category were best/excellence in

practice awards had the greatest frequency

(22.0%), and one Baldrige applicant was

noted among the two (3.4%) ISO 9000


The desire of CTE personnel to apply

for an external quality award is reflected in

Table 6. Of note, 228 respondents (85.4%)

indicated some level of agreement that their

CTE center was strong enough to win an

external quality award. In contrast,

completing the survey did not have similar

influence on each respondent’s desire to

apply for some external quality award. The

majority (135, 51.6%) of respondents, 82

(31.1%) slightly agreed or 54 (20.5%)

slightly disagreed that completing the survey

influenced their desire to pursue an external

quality award.

Alignment of CTE Centers with the Baldrige Quality Award


Table 6

CTE Personnel Desire to Apply for a Quality Award(s) (n = 228)

Response Item












% Mean

I believe that my CTE center is strong enough to

actually win some external quality award(s)

3.4 3.4 7.9 17.2 27.0 41.2 4.85

Completing this survey has influenced my desire to

have my CTE center apply for some external

quality award(s)

16.3 10.6 20.5 31.1 14.4 7.2 3.38

Note. Not all respondents responded to all items. Likert scale: Strongly Disagree=1, Moderately

Disagree=2, Slightly Disagree=3, Slightly Agree=4, Moderately Agree=5, Strongly Agree=6

We also examined any significant

differences in item responses between CTE

center leaders and their faculty. ANOVA

comparisons were run for the seven Baldrige

criteria items, and for the desire to apply for

an external quality award. Cronbach’s Alpha

testing was conducted on each of the Baldrige

criteria categories and determined high inter-

correlation between the items for each of the

seven categories. Table 7 illustrates

significant differences between CTE center

leaders and their faculty. Only those

categories where significant differences

occurred are depicted.

Statistically significant differences

were found with four of the seven Baldrige

categories, including Leadership, Strategic

Planning, Workforce Focus, and Results.

Differences were found between leaders and

faculty, and between leaders and

paraprofessional faculty. There were no

differences found between faculty and

paraprofessional faculty. The mean for CTE

leaders was always highest for each of the

four categories, followed by faculty and

paraprofessional faculty.

Alignment of CTE Centers with the Baldrige Quality Award


Table 7

Significant Differences in Item Responses Between CTE Center Leaders and Faculty

Baldrige Award Category N

T Comparison

Means of Position Pr>F

Post-hoc Tukey

Position Differences


(Six collapsed items)



Paraprofessional Faculty







0.0117* Leader and Faculty*

Leader and Paraprofessional


Strategic Planning

(Five collapsed items)



Paraprofessional Faculty







0.0005* Leader and Faculty*

Leader and Paraprofessional


Workforce Focus

(Six collapsed items)



Paraprofessional Faculty







0.0328* Leader and Faculty*


(Nine collapsed items)



Paraprofessional Faculty







0.0286* Leader and Faculty*

Note. Not all respondents responded to all items. Principal/Assistant Principal, Administrator,

and Department Chair & Faculty Member=Leader.

*Difference is significant at p<0.05.

Likert scale used in mean determination: Strongly Disagree=1, Moderately Disagree=2, Slightly

Disagree=3, Slightly Agree=4, Moderately Agree=5, Strongly Agree=6

Implications for Policy and Practice

Leadership In the leadership area, two lower

ranked items were “my CTE centers’ top

leaders create a work environment that helps

us do our job” (M = 4.49), and “my CTE

center’s leadership team asks what I think”

(M = 4.27).

We recommend CTE centers conduct

internal surveys of their personnel, perhaps

adapting the Baldrige Assessment Tool

instrument, to ascertain any concerns, and

address these once identified. A visible

leadership presence is then needed, witnessed

regularly by all departments throughout the

CTE center (Booth, Shames, & Desberg,

2010). This physical action would serve to

signify a concentrated effort on the part of

leadership to demonstrate genuine support of

programs, faculty, and students.

A greater attention to enhanced

communication may allow for a more

productive work environment where all feel

heard with regard to sharing of issue of

concern. This could be accomplished through

Alignment of CTE Centers with the Baldrige Quality Award


focus groups and listening sessions, which

would provide a forum for employees to

explain what they think. It also affords

opportunity to empower employees by

involving them in processes specifically

designed to improve relationships with

management (Fox, 2014).

Strategic Planning

It is of particular note that four of the

items which received lower ratings are within

the strategic planning area: I know the parts

of my CTE center’s plans that will affect my

work (M = 4.44); My CTE center is flexible

and can make changes quickly (M = 4.21);

My CTE center asks for my ideas as it plans

for the future (M = 4.19); and I know how to

tell if my CTE center is making progress on

my work group’s part of the plan (M = 4.08).

To address these issues CTE centers

should develop organizational charts

(Ingram, 2014) that would not only illustrate

hierarchy, but also the interdependence

(systems thinking) of accountability between

personnel and departments. The data also

suggests there are many cultural paradigms

(many effective, some not) within CTE

centers. Taking the time to begin the dialogue

of how to address problems when they arise,

which was a noted suggestion in response to

the open-ended question, would appear the

first step in working to raise rankings for the

items noted above. Recognition of

commonly-identified problems and chartered

courses for solving them could set precedent

for future behavior (Hicks, 2014).

Initial steps could begin with small-

scale success on a commonly-identified

problem and accompanying potential (goal)

solution. Once that first goal is achieved,

reflection on everyone’s part regarding how

the goal affected each individual’s work, and

how individuals were able to assess

individual and group progress and make

changes as needed, would provide future

model. Most importantly with all of this,

would be the investment by all in changing

ineffective paradigms. It would be essential

that everyone’s contributions would be

welcome and valued (Hicks, 2014).

Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge

Management; Workforce; and Results There was one lower rated item

within the Measurement, Analysis and

Knowledge Management area: I know how

my CTE center as a whole is doing (M =

4.40). To support better knowledge, a bi-

annual sharing of balance sheets and other

applicable financial statements is


There was one lower rated item

within the Workforce Focus area: I am

recognized for my work (M = 4.40). Both

through this question and via their open-

ended question comments, CTE center

leaders and faculty indicated that they would

like to be recognized for their work. While

straight-forward expressions of gratitude,

either verbally or in writing, are always

appreciated, it is recommended that CTE

centers bestow more formal award of

recognition (Harrison, 2013). These awards

may be for things like instructional

excellence, years of service, and community


Finally, there were two lower scoring

Results items: I know how well my CTE

center is doing financially (M = 4.11); and

My CTE center removes things that get in the

way of progress (M = 4.04). Previous

recommendations to develop a CTE center

strategic plan and to share subsequent

progress with regard to the plan, as well as

the bi-annual sharing of Balance Sheet and

other applicable financial statements will

help to address these issues. Applicants for

the Baldrige Award receive a report on

findings (NIST, 2013) which may serve as a

strategic plan document.

Alignment of CTE Centers with the Baldrige Quality Award


Concluding Thoughts While quality may have different

meanings to individuals, organizations, or

associations, most, if not all, are in agreement

that high-level performance is attention-

drawing. Whether it is in academics, the

business world, sports, or contributions to the

greater good individuals, groups, and teams

who have performed to high levels have

frequently received recognition for their

accomplishment. They set the standard for

best practice. In a similar manner, CTE

centers have an established bar set for quality

practice via their accreditation requirements.

They attempt to offer relevancy and

applicability in their programming, as well as

real-world experiences within local business


Our data reveals that leaders and

others in these organizations as a whole do

believe their CTE centers are meeting many

of the Baldrige quality criteria. This is good

news. Yet, the data also indicate continued

need for improvement. Enhanced strategic

planning activities might provide greater

structure and opportunity for communication,

and regular, subsequent assessment would be

of benefit. Applying for an external quality

award, such as the Baldrige, may assist with

such strategic planning and could unite

personnel in a common goal. Those applying

for the Baldrige receive a post-review written

report that supplies many pieces needed for a

quality strategic plan, and many applicants

apply for the award knowing that they will

not win, but rather for this post-review

information (NIST, 2013). Indeed, Brown

(2014) advocates that the Baldrige

assessment be specifically used as a strategic

planning tool. Researchers have also found

the essential link between strategic planning

and accreditation processes (Lawrence &

Dangerfield, 2001), which in turn can

facilitated via the process of applying for

external quality awards.

Overall the study affirmed our

assumption that the work of CTE centers and

their ongoing accreditation-required quality

improvement processes makes them viable

candidates for an external quality award, and

the vast majority of leaders, faculty and staff

within such centers believe their centers

could actually win such awards. Given this

data, and the value that can come from the

feedback received, CTE centers in this state–

and perhaps beyond–are certainly

encouraged to make applying for a Baldrige

Award in Education part of their strategic

planning future.


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Authors Patricia Crum-Allen is an Assistant Professor and Healthcare Specialist Program Chair at Ivy

Tech Community College, Southern Indiana, 8204 Highway 311, Pfau Hall, R4, Sellersburg, IN

47172, (812) 246-3301 ext 4383, email:

Louann Bierlein Palmer is a Professor at Western Michigan University, Department of

Educational Leadership, Research and Technology, 1903 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI

49008-5283, (269) 387-3596, email:

Manuscript submitted 06.30.2015, accepted for publication 11.24.2015, published 04.01.2016.

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