Chapter 14

Measure What Matters in Higher Education: How to Get an A in Measurement

“No longer is it acceptable to hide poor performance. Measuring is the gateway to success.”

—George W. Bush, on No Child Left Behind legislation

In case you hadn’t noticed, crass commercialism has arrived at the door of academia. I’m sure that’s what many academics think of the emphasis on marketing that has been sweeping through campuses across America. Even before the recession sent millions of people back to school in search of new job skills, institutions of higher learning were being pressured to think more like businesses. Universities and colleges are more aggressively marketing to alumni, new students, parents, and faculty. This increased effort has generated a requisite increase in accountability for the money being spent.

More and more educational institutions are realizing that managing their reputations is critical to their survival. You can have the best faculty in the world, but if no one knows it you’re not going to attract students. And, as we know, in order to manage you need to measure. So measurement is making it onto to-do lists of communications and public affairs officers in colleges and universities of all shapes and sizes.

University Flunks Measurement: Millions in Funding Lost and President Resigns

Here’s a true story about the vital importance of measuring what matters in academia. Once upon a time not very long ago, there was a state university in a small town in New ...

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