ERIC Number: ED335794
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-May
Using Institutional Comparisons for Administrative Decision Support.
Prather, James E.; Carlson, Christina E.
The compilation of cross-institutional comparative information to support a college or university's goals is an effective yet politically dangerous venue of institutional research activity. Selecting a group of institutions for comparison can often be a major task involving external governing agencies, key institutional administrators, and faculty. Although selection of proper institutions and correct variables for comparison may appear inconsequential, issues of prestige, image, desirability, and competition come into play, as each constituency strives to maximize its political position. To resolve this dilemma, many groups of peer institutions have entered into various data exchange programs in which members share valuable information on costs, enrollment, facilities, student retention, budget, resource allocation, faculty workload, and faculty salaries. This paper is concerned with the translation of such raw data into usable information. Issues covered include selection of peer institutions, selection of variables for comparison (such as mission, funded research, graduate degrees awarded, degree level, academic orientation, and admissions procedures), methods of presentation, and tailoring for particular audiences. Since an inappropriate or unsuitable choice in any of these areas could negate the original comparison goals, the paper also explores potential pitfalls in the comparison process. (MLH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Institutional Research (31st, San Francisco, CA, May 26-29, 1991).