Stephen D. Spangehl to direct Plexus International Higher Education division

January 23, 2013

Plexus International is pleased to announce the addition of Stephen D. Spangehl to direct its Higher Education division. Plexus International is renowned worldwide for its quality improvement and compliance training programs, and is a leading source of such services for the automotive, aerospace, and health care industries. Since 2004, Plexus has offered training for higher education to support quality improvement efforts, and sees Spangehl’s addition as the stimulus for expanding these services substantially. Plexus’ experience in compliance and improvement training for other enterprises will substantially enrich its ability to serve US higher education and tertiary education worldwide.

Dr. Spangehl has an outstanding record of research and publication in a variety of areas, including innovation, quality management, assessment, organizational behavior, general education, faculty development, individualized instruction, and developmental education. He brings to Plexus great knowledge of, and experience with, higher education quality assurance, compliance, and improvement policies and processes, He looks forward to expanding Plexus’ range of offerings for higher education, providing training and instruments aimed at helping colleges and universities improve their quality and performance as well as programs to assist institutions in responding to growing external compliance requirements from accreditation and governmental agencies.

Spangehl has long been a forceful advocate for quality in higher education and accreditation. Before joining Plexus, he served as Vice President for Accreditation Relations at the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In 1999 with the support of a $1.5 million Pew Charitable Trusts grant, he founded the Academic Quality Improvement Program which he shaped and directed for the next 12 years. Striving to create a collaborative relationship between the accrediting agency and its participant colleges and universities, AQIP has been acclaimed by institutions for helping them improve the quality of their operations, their actual performance, and their ability to meet their stakeholders’ needs, becoming a celebrated alternative accreditation process for universities and colleges striving for systematic continuous quality improvement. Spangehl has also worked intensely with more traditional accreditation processes, acting as liaison for with 500 institutions during his two-decade tenure at HLC, as well as providing staff support for the Commission and its policy committees.

Prior to his work with accreditation, Spangehl served as a faculty member, director of developmental education, department chair, and academic affairs administrator at the University of Louisville, the University of Akron, and the University of Pennsylvania. He has been an examiner for the National Baldrige Award program, and served on the boards of the Education Division of the American Society for Quality (ASQ), the National Consortium for Continuous improvement, and other organizations. He earned his PhD in literature and linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and holds MA and BA degrees in English from New York, completing additional graduate study management and accounting. A consultant with the Fulbright Senior Scholars program, he has worked extensively with higher education institutions and regulatory agencies in Europe and Asia, and with specialized accreditors in the United States.

Spangehl is a prolific writer and speaker on the subjects of continuous improvement in higher education, assessment, faculty roles and responsibilities, developmental education, governance, and other topics. In 2012, he published “AQIP and Accreditation: Improving Quality and Performance” in Planning for Higher Education, special issue of The Journal of the Society for College and University Planning 40:3 (April-June 2012)’ with Allan M. Hoffman published Innovations in Higher Education: Igniting the Spark for Success, (New York: American Council on Education, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2012); and with Jonathan Fife published “Tools for Improving Institutional Effectiveness,” chapter 37 in The Handbook of Institutional Research, ed. Richard Howard, et al., (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012). Steve’s hobbies include playing tenor banjo and ukulele, gardening, carpentry, and watercolor. His wife, Marguerite, is a librarian and community organizer, and their two sons work in law and information technology.

Email Steve Spangehl at Plexus at