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UM accountability measures unveiled to curators

Friday, August 21, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 3:31 p.m. CDT, Friday, August 21, 2009

COLUMBIA — The UM Board of Curators had a first look Thursday morning at the new guidelines for measuring performance of the four UM campuses.

Each university chancellor worked with UM President Gary Forsee to develop three-year internal targets in 80 categories across five broad areas, including teaching and learning, research and discovery and economic development.

UM campuses will also be compared with similar universities across the country. MU's performance will be measured against the 33 other public institutions in the American Association of Universities.

The accountability measures were originally proposed in October 2008 to increase systemwide effectiveness, transparency and to better articulate UM needs to state politicians.

They are also in line with a national push for increased data collection and reporting on all levels of education.

"There is an expectation for outcomes coming back to the state," Forsee said.

Forsee and Nikki Krawitz, UM System vice president of finance and administration, unveiled the accountability measures, one of five key Board of Curator initiatives for 2009, in a video conference with the Resources and Planning Committee.

Forsee said the accountability rubric will be evaluated by an outside auditor this fall and mentioned Brent Ruben, executive director of the Center for Organizational Development and Leadership at Rutgers University. However, Ruben, reached later by e-mail, said nothing is final.

A complete report will be presented to the curators at their December meeting and produced in a binder to be shared by board members with interested parties, such as alumni groups and politicians.

Though data presented to the curators was incomplete — 2009 numbers were missing, notably — members of the board were pleased with what they saw.

“This is what I, as a board member, have been looking for for a long time,” said David Wasinger, chairman of the Resources and Planning Committee.

Wasinger did raise concerns about how best to measure student performance in the UM System, citing standardized tests in K-12 education as a comparison.

Forsee pointed to the forthcoming findings of the Outside-In task force, a UM partnership with Missouri businesses to determine statewide employment needs, as one tool for measuring institutional success.

The board will discuss in October the possibility of adding a performance-based element to systemwide salaries, making use of some of the statistics presented in the new accountability measures.


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