Our response to COVID19

The QA Commons is mindful of the dramatic and transformational impact COVID-19 is having on all institutions of higher education. As an organization, we are adapting our services to support preparing graduates for the workplace that is now changing more precipitously than ever.


Excellence in Employability: A Case Study

UKY Clinical Leadership’s Journey of Continuous Improvement via EEQ Certification

The Clinical Leadership and Management (CLM) program at the University of Kentucky (UK) is a superb example of how the EEQ Certification (EEQ CERT) begins a period of continuous improvement. In taking QA Commons’ Employability Framework to heart, CLM began a transformative path toward providing students with the preparation needed to be successful in the world of work.

In 2019, the CLM program was part of the inaugural EEQ CERT cohort. 19 university and community college programs at public institutions within Kentucky participated, with most achieving certification in 2020. A conversation with the CLM program three years on revealed the extent to which the program had run with the EEQ CERT standards of care – and we were impressed! Since 2020, the program has gone above and beyond – revising the curriculum, developing new assessment practices, and actively connecting students to employers and alumni.

CLM leaders also noted that having been through the EEQ CERT process yielded two extremely tangible benefits

  • The practicum (essentially an internship for healthcare professionals) now has more preceptors than students, and the program suddenly has to turn away interested employers. Additionally, employers have shared that UK’s CLM students are among the most prepared of the programs from which they hire.
  • Having language, tools, and processes in place to measure employability competencies has made the program’s other certification processes more straightforward. For example, the program noted the ease with which they moved through the self-study process as a part of their application for the Association of University Programs of Health Administration (AUPHA) certification review.

“The EEQ CERT process helped us take classes from the theoretical to the applied,” said Dr. Sarah Kercsmar, Department Chair for the Department of Health and Clinical Sciences. “We had ideas, but the work with QA Commons helped us actualize them in an organized way.

Here are a few of our favorite (new) practices and activities:

  • In a first-semester course, CLM 120 (Introduction to Careers in Clinical Leadership & Management), students learn about a wide variety of professional positions they could obtain in the field, are paired with alumni, and are introduced to Career Services staff (who also have a presence in courses throughout the four-year program).
  • EEQs are scaffolded into 200, 300, and 400-level courses (with EEQs showing on course syllabi) such that, by the time students are in their senior year, they have a strong understanding of employability concepts.
  • Use of standardized rubrics in formative assessments of students’ EEQs. Students reflect on their progress through the program.  In the final semester, a 360-degree feedback process has students evaluated on the EEQs – with students then writing a final reflective paper and planning how to work on their current weaknesses. Toward the end of the program, preceptors in the practicum (employers) also evaluate students on the EEQs. Both exercises use a four-point scale: Meets and Consistently Exceeds Expectations, Meets and Occassionally Exceeds Expectations, Meets Expectations, and Does Not Meet Expectations..
  • A “Speed Dating Internship and Networking” event in which students engage in rapid, brief interactions with multiple employers in order to learn, build connections, and explore potential opportunities.
  • Fun and engaging assignments such as a “Shark Tank” assignment challenge students to develop and present proposals for innovative healthcare management solutions or strategies to address real-world challenges in healthcare delivery.

“This work has been fun,” said Dr. Karen Clancy, CLM Program Director. “The students enjoy it. We knew the employability concept had taken root recently when our student organization leaders ran a mock networking event on their own without any prompting from us.”

Continuous improvement is about more than making incremental changes. It is a mindset and a strategic approach that drives ongoing growth, innovation, and excellence. UK CLM program’s work and dedication are exemplary. Salut!


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