EDUC 603: Root Cause Analysis

Problem Statement:

The local High School Alumni Wall of Honor Committee does not receive a good pool of nominations for the Alumni Wall of Honor, resulting in inconsistent criteria for inductees.


A high school teacher is the non-voting liaison between the High School and the Alumni Wall of Honor Committee, who I have been in contact with via face-to-face interactions, e-mail exchanges, and phone calls again this week for the Root Cause Analysis. My findings from the interviews I had from the liaison are organized into the categories below.

Factors that Influence Performance:


  • The Committee’s budget comes from donations from outside resources, or from the Committee members themselves for the induction ceremony and panel.
  • The Committee has a Facebook page that has 48 page “likes.”
  • The Committee has put advertisements in the Sun and the Maryland Gazette.
  • The family members of possible successful graduates have begun to pass away, so the number of in-person resources is declining.
  • The High School faculty and staff have a high turnover rate, so there are not many teachers that are around to nominate previous students that they may still be in contact with.

Structure/ Process:

  • The committee meets 5 times at most throughout the year, which is still extremely difficult for each member since they have full-time positions elsewhere. The committee meets in August before the induction ceremony, in November following the ceremony to discuss improvements for the ceremony and the panel, in January/ February to begin discussing how to get more nominations for that year, and finally they meet in May so they can vote on the nominees. In 2015, the voting date needed to be moved back one month to allow for extra time to receive nominations.
  • Many times the meetings are just a way for the members to sit and talk to each other, there is no real agenda or goal for any of the meetings.
  • The committee has no real mission statement.
  • The committee has no real criteria for voting in inductees. Their only scoring criteria is based on a 50-point system, and each Committee member looks at each nomination independently, and scores the nominees from zero to 50, with 50 being ideal. The voting is entirely subjective, so some people think one nomination is a 50, but others don’t believe that the nominee is that impressive.
  • Each Committee member has specific duties for the induction ceremony, such as contacting the inductees, writing the biographies for the inductees and getting them approved, creating the programs, and setting up the induction ceremony. Apart from the ceremony, there are not really any assigned duties for Committee Members, as most of the discussions and decisions are made at one of the five meetings per year.
  • There is no widespread knowledge of what the Alumni Wall of Honor is, and many people are unaware that it is happening at all.
  • There is also no widespread knowledge of the Alumni Wall of Honor Committee, so there are people who are looking to be part of it.


  • There is no real data to monitor nominations. The data received from the liason was based on her memory.
  • There is not enough information about the people who have graduated from the High School over the past 50 years. It is unclear where most graduates have relocated to.
  • Committee members do meet to discuss improvements at their meeting in November, but the discussion on how to accumulate more nominees always falls short in January.
  • Though many people who attend the induction ceremony seem to generally feel positive after the induction ceremony, no real feedback is gathered from inductees or anyone else involved in the Alumni Wall of Honor for improvements.


  • There has recently been a large turnover in committee members, so many of the members do not have the know-how that other’s possessed.
  • The chairperson for the committee is not the same each year.
  • Only been the liaison for the Alumni Wall of Honor for about four years. Previously, the liaison was a non-teaching business advisory board employee, whose duties consisted of the Alumni Wall of Honor. As a result, she had more contacts and more time to accumulate the data and resources that the current liaison does not have the know-how for, have access to, or the time to complete.
  • While updates are posted on the Alumni Wall of Honor Facebook, the Facebook only has 48 “likes.”


  • Committee members are all volunteers, so the only motivation is intrinsic since they want to help the High School and to help motivate the students.
  • The Committee members do not get any real recognition for their efforts.
  • The Alumni Wall of Honor is not widely known, so the effort that members put in often feels in vain.


  • Since all Committee members have full-time positions elsewhere, it is unmanageable to do some of the work that could help improve the Alumni Wall of Honor.
  • It is difficult for the liaison to take on the amount of responsibilities that the previous liaison took on, since it is not her priority.

2 Comment

  1. Alysha,Amazing that a problem that seems so “simple” has so many root causes associated with it! I admire this thorough and detailed analysis; well done!

    1. Thank you so much for your feedback! I truly appreciate it.

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