University of California President Mark G. Yudof provided the public with a comprehensive progress report on each of the system’s 10 campuses – accomplishing one of his major initiatives a few months into his tenure.
The draft report, available online at universityofcalifornia.edu/accountability, measures performance in 102 ways. Data are displayed to show trends over time and are compared between campuses, and against eight other universities to provide context.
Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef championed the concept of an annual systemwide evaluation and praised the work put into it.
“It is, at this stage, an accounting of everything we do that is quantifiable – graduation rates, average GPAs and SAT scores, enrollment percentages of those who apply, financial data, etc.,” he said. “To give you a sense of the magnitude of it, the written report is about 1 inch thick, all graphs and charts.”
Accountability is somewhat of a buzzword around the University of California Office of the President these days, and has been a priority of Yudof since taking office.
“We should be accountable to the legislature, the parents, the taxpayers, the students,” Yudof said in a press release. “People deserve an honest answer to the question of how you’re doing, and it needs to be backed up by statistical data. Numbers do not measure everything, but the fact you can’t measure everything doesn’t mean you don’t measure anything.”
Areas measured for analysis in the draft include student persistence and graduation, faculty honors and compensation, technology transfer to society, progress in seismic retrofit of facilities and many more.
Non-quantifiable data, such as “teaching effectiveness” and “learning assessment” are being studied for possible future inclusion.
While the 211-page report makes unprecedented statistics available to the public, readers are cautioned not to assume all of its findings absolute. Vice Provost Daniel Greenstein, who led the development of the report, said in a press release that measurement should be viewed in context, and not as a statement about campus strengths or weaknesses.
“I would warn against trying to identify UC’s successes and failures in the data that compare UC campuses with one another and with other research universities,” he said. “An institution’s progress can only truly be measured in light of its own goals.”
To provide context, the draft makes contrasting findings against four public schools – Illinois, Michigan, SUNY Buffalo, and Virginia – and four private schools – Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and Yale – that UC has determined to have comparable faculty salaries and budget data.
While the report is thorough and accurate, UC emphasized it is only a draft and is meant to be a platform for discussion and improvement, said Brad Hayward, UC spokesperson.
“The goal here is that with the report on the web and being circulated, people will take a look at it and provide their thoughts and comments, which will be taken under consideration while the draft is revised before being issued as a final report,” he said.
The final report – aided by feedback from this first draft – is set to be released in spring and updated annually after that.
MIKE DORSEY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.