New UMass report helps public monitor University's performance
- The UMass System
Feb. 27, 2013: The University of Massachusetts today released a new report aimed at making it easier for the public to monitor the University's performance in a number of key areas, ranging from improving student graduation rates to increasing alumni giving to investing in campus facilities.
Called UMass Performance: Accountable and On the Move, the report lists six priority areas for the five-campus system and 21 indicators that will be used to determine whether the University has been successful. After the first year, the report will include a rating system that describes how well UMass has done in achieving its goals.
``The University of Massachusetts is deeply committed to creating more accountability and transparency to ensure that people from all walks of life - from the classroom to the boardroom - can easily see our performance and progress,'' UMass President Robert L. Caret said, after announcing the release of the report at a meeting of the University's Board of Trustees. ``In an era of austere budgets and limited state support, we want to make it crystal clear that we're holding ourselves to the highest standards and being as efficient as possible as we pursue our mission of excellence in teaching, research, and public service,'' he said.
President Caret first announced plans to create the accountability report last November in a speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. It is central to his efforts to make the University more efficient and accountable as he seeks to build broader public support for UMass.
The six priorities developed and adopted by the University's Board of Trustees fall under the general categories of Student Experience and Success; Educated Workforce and Engaged Citizenry; World Class Research and Development Enterprise; Enhanced Social Well-Being; Good Stewards of Resources; and Telling and Selling the UMass Story.
Each priority is accompanied by three or four indicators that will be used to measure the University's progress. For example, in the area of ``Student Experience and Success'' successful performance is defined as:
- Admit high-quality students; strive to increase the academic profiles across all campuses;
- Provide an accessible and affordable education of high quality;
- Improve student success, retention and graduation rates;
- And foster supportive, diverse campus environment where students can do their very best work.
The University will rely primarily on data collected by the campuses and the University's Office of Institutional Research to rate its performance.
The accountability report builds on the UMass Performance Measurement System, which has monitored the University's performance in various areas and been a primary source for public data on the UMass system for the past 15 years. It is similar to a report that President Caret established as president of Towson University in Maryland before he arrived at UMass in July 2011.
``The notion of establishing priorities and measuring progress is becoming foundational to those of us in higher education, particularly those of us in public higher education who increasingly face the challenge of trying to do more with less,'' President Caret said. ``This tool allows us to share with the public in an accessible way what we're doing and how well we're doing it.''
State Secretary of Education Matthew Malone applauded President Caret and UMass for the focus on accountability and transparency. ``I commend President Caret for his leadership on this issue and for setting such high standards for the University system,'' Secretary Malone said. ``I'm sure that the public will appreciate these efforts and come to rely on the information presented in this report and future reports.''
UMass Board of Trustees Chairman Henry M. Thomas, III, said: ``It is the intention of President Caret and the Board of Trustees to shine a spotlight on performance and accountability. Therefore, this report represents a giant step in providing a public service that will further enhance the University's reputation for excellence and transparency.''
The accountability report is available online and as a booklet. Copies of the booklet can be obtained by contacting the University of Massachusetts President's Office at 617-287-7050.
Contact: Ann Scales, 617-287-4084