The QA Commons

The Quality Assurance (QA) Commons for Higher and Postsecondary Education

The QA Commons works with postsecondary institutions to improve integration of employability skills across programs using their Essential Employability Qualities framework.

What This Includes

Skill addressed: Communication, Responsibility, Professionalism, Thinking & Problem Solving, Inquiry & Analysis, Principles & Ethics, Personal Development, Lifelong Learning, Technology Use, Collaboration, Adaptability

Program and institutional development free resources

  • Essential Employability Qualities (EEQs), or graduate profile, consist of eight employability skills, each with a set of indicators generalized to apply to most professional work environments
  • QA Commons’ employability criteria framework centers on graduate preparation, career support services, employer engagement, student and alumni engagement, and public information, and can be used in conjunction with the EEQs or graduate profile for integrating employability skills across the wider postsecondary program or institution

Program and institutional development fee-based services

  • Customized services designed to measure and review how well the higher education institution, or particular programs of study within an institution, are meeting students’ employability skills needs
  • Other services aim to develop an institution’s capacity to integrate employability skills throughout its system and strengthen workplace collaboration, data collection, and dissemination of public information
  • EEQ certification for programs and institutions
    Resource collection
  • QA Commons website houses a repository of research briefs and articles relevant for higher education, certificate and apprenticeship programs, and employers on topics related to employability, including the skills gap and the future of work, teaching and equity, learning and work-based experience, employer engagement and partnership, as well as resources for reimagined career services

Key Takeaways

  • The products and services of the QA Commons are built on the EEQ framework.
  • Adult education and workforce development programs could use the EEQ or graduate profile framework to build workforce development curricula or map gaps in their existing curriculum.
  • The equity resource collection includes a diversity, equity, and inclusion Powerpoint geared to postsecondary education faculty and leaders looking for self-education and institutional change.

The QA Commons was founded in 2016 with a grant from Lumina Foundation to provide a new approach to higher education quality assurance. In 2017, the organization piloted the Essential Employability Qualities (EEQ) certification with 27 partner programs from 14 higher education institutions. Five Kentucky higher education institutions have since become EEQ–certified programs. In Connecticut, 24 programs within the state college and university system are working on the Employability Skills Assessment (ESA).

Adaptability & Flexibility


Critical & Creative Thinking

Digital Literacy

Emotional Intelligence

Leadership & Initiative

Navigating & Using Information

Respecting Differences


Teamwork & Collaboration

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