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Organizational Profile (Education)

For a PDF version of the entire Organizational Profile, see the Sample from the Education Criteria (PDF).

Purchase the Education Criteria to take full advantage of the organizational performance framework provided by the Criteria.

The Organizational Profile (the preface to the Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence) is a snapshot of your organization, the key influences on how it operates, and the key challenges it faces. It is the most appropriate starting point for self-assessment and for writing an application. It is critically important for the following reasons:

  • It helps you identify gaps in key information and focus on key performance requirements and results.

  • You can use it as an initial self-assessment. If you identify topics for which conflicting, little, or no information is available, use these topics for action planning.

  • It sets the context for your responses to the Criteria requirements in categories 1–7.

The Organizational Profile consists of two items:

P.1 Organizational Description: What are your key organizational characteristics? (begins just below)

P.2 Organizational Situation: What is your organization’s strategic situation?

P.1 Organizational Description: What are your key organizational characteristics?

Describe your operating environment and your key relationships with students, other customers, suppliers, partners, and stakeholders.

In your response, answer the following questions:

a. Organizational Environment

  1. Educational Program and Service Offerings What are your main educational and service offerings (see the note below)? What is the relative importance of each to your success? What mechanisms do you use to deliver your educational programs and services?

  2. Vision and Mission What are your stated purpose, vision, values, and mission? What are your organization’s core competencies, and what is their relationship to your mission?

  3. Workforce Profile What is your workforce profile? What are your workforce or faculty/staff groups and segments? What are the educational requirements for different faculty/staff groups and segments? What are the key elements that engage them in achieving your mission and vision? What are your workforce diversity and job diversity? What are your organized bargaining units? What are your organization’s special health and safety requirements?

  4. Assets What are your major facilities, technologies, and equipment?

  5. Regulatory Requirements What is the regulatory environment under which you operate? What are the applicable occupational health and safety regulations; accreditation, certification, or registration requirements; education industry standards; and educational program and service regulations?

 b. Organizational Relationships

  1. Organizational Structure What are your organizational structure and governance system? What are the reporting relationships among your governance board, senior leaders, and parent organization, as appropriate?

  2. Students, Other Customers and Stakeholders What are your key market segments, student and other customer groups, and stakeholder groups, as appropriate? What are their key requirements and expectations of your educational programs and services, student and other customer support services, and operations? What are the differences in these requirements and expectations among market segments, student and other customer groups, and stakeholder groups?

  3. Suppliers and Partners What are your key types of suppliers, partners, and collaborators? What role do they play in your work systems, especially in producing and delivering your key educational programs and services and your student and other customer support services? What role do they play in enhancing your competitiveness? What are your key mechanisms for communicating with suppliers, partners, and collaborators? What role, if any, do these organizations play in contributing and implementing innovations in your organization? What are your key supply-chain requirements?


P. Your responses to the Organizational Profile questions are very important. They set the context for understanding your organization and how it operates. Your responses to all other questions in the Baldrige Criteria should relate to the organizational context you describe in this Profile. Your responses to the Organizational Profile questions thus allow you to tailor your responses to all other questions to your organization’s uniqueness.

P.1a(1). “Educational program and service offerings” are the activities you offer in the market to engage students in learning or contribute to scientific or scholarly investigation. Mechanisms for delivering programs and services to your students might be direct or might be indirect, through partners and collaborators.

P.1a(2). “Core competencies” are your organization’s areas of greatest expertise. They are those strategically important capabilities that are central to fulfilling your mission or provide an advantage in your marketplace or service environment. Core competencies are frequently challenging for competitors or suppliers and partners to imitate and frequently preserve your competitive advantage.

P.1a(3). Workforce or faculty/staff groups and segments (including organized bargaining units) might be based on the type of employment or contract reporting relationship, location, work environment, use of certain family-friendly policies, or other factors.

P.1a(3). Organizations that also rely on volunteers to accomplish their work should include volunteers as part of their workforce.

P.1a(5). Education industry standards might include industrywide codes of conduct and policy guidance.

P.1b(2). Customers include the users and potential users of your educational programs and services. They are the direct users of your programs and services (students and possibly parents), as well as others who use or pay for your programs and services.

P.1b(2). Student and other customer groups might be based on common expectations, behaviors, preferences, or profiles. Within a group, there may be customer segments based on differences and commonalities. You might subdivide your market into market segments based on educational programs, services, or features; distribution channels; geography; or other factors that you use to define a market segment.

P.1b(2). The requirements of your student and other customer groups and market segments might include special accommodation, customized curricula, safety, security, reduced class size, multilingual services, customized degree requirements, student advising, dropout recovery programs, administrative cost reductions, electronic communication, and distance learning. The requirements of your stakeholder groups might include socially responsible behavior and community service.

P.1b(3). Communication mechanisms should be two-way and use understandable language, and they might involve in-person contact, e-mail, the World Wide Web, or the telephone. For many organizations, these mechanisms may change as market, student, other customer, or stakeholder requirements change.

For additional guidance on this item, see the Category and Item Commentary (PDF).

P.2 Organizational Situation: What is your organization’s strategic situation?

Describe your competitive environment, your key strategic challenges and advantages, and your system for performance improvement.

In your response, include answers to the following questions:

a. Competitive Environment

  1. Competitive Position What is your competitive position? What are your relative size and growth in your education sector or the markets you serve? How many and what types of competitors do you have?

  2. Competitiveness Changes What key changes, if any, are affecting your competitive situation, including changes that create opportunities for innovation and collaboration, as appropriate?

  3. Comparative Data What key sources of comparative and competitive data are available from within your education sector? What key sources of comparative data are available from outside your education sector? What limitations, if any, affect your ability to obtain or use these data?

b. Strategic Context

What are your key strategic challenges and advantages in the areas of educational programs and services, operations, societal responsibilities, and workforce?

c. Performance Improvement System

What are the key elements of your performance improvement system, including your processes for evaluation and improvement of key organizational projects and processes?


P.2a. Education organizations are frequently in highly competitive environments. Aside from direct competition for students, they must often compete to secure financial, volunteer, and human resources. This competition may involve other education organizations, as in competition for grant funding or the opportunity to provide supplemental services. For public education organizations, competition may involve other public agencies or departments, as in the competition for scarce budget resources.

P.2b. Strategic challenges and advantages might relate to technology, educational programs and services; finances, your operations, your parent organization’s capabilities, your students, other customers and markets; your education sector; globalization, your community; and people. Strategic advantages might include differentiators such as tuition and fees, instructional design and delivery services, reputation, innovation rate, geographic proximity, and accessibility.

P.2c. The Baldrige scoring system uses performance improvement through learning and integration as a dimension in assessing the maturity of organizational approaches and their deployment. This question is intended to set an overall context for your approach to performance improvement. The approach you use should be related to your organization’s needs. Approaches that are compatible with the overarching systems approach provided by the Baldrige framework might include implementing PDSA methodology; completing accreditation self-studies; applying nationally validated systems to improve teaching performance; and performing independent institutional, departmental, or program assessments. It might also include using a Lean Enterprise System, applying Six Sigma methodology, using standards from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO; e.g., 9000 or 14000), using decision science, or employing other improvement tools.

For additional guidance on this item, see the Category and Item Commentary (PDF).