Do you want to compare how international your student population is or the education level of your academic staff and how well they are compensated? Would you like to assess sources of institutional income or how successful your university is in obtaining grants for research?
ACU Measures – the ACU's online annual international benchmarking exercise – is now open for data collection. Collection of data will run from 1 February 2017 until the end of May 2017, and data will then be available for benchmarking in July.
By participating in ACU Measures, university leaders and staff are able to gauge their performance in some of these areas – at a time when universities across the world are increasingly under pressure to demonstrate value for money and showcase their strengths to stakeholders. This is particularly salient in a time of growing internationalisation, as new branch campuses are developed and renewed strategies for the recruitment and retention of international staff and students are proposed.
The exercise collects data on salaries and benefits, research management, and gender, as well as basic institutional profile data, allowing comprehensive comparisons across these areas.
For participating institutions, the data can be used in a multitude of ways. It can be used to compare sources of income, gender distribution across key management positions, the composition of the student population, remuneration packages offered to academic staff, how university research aligns with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, or the percentage of staff with PhDs. The graphs below show two examples:
Overall median salary – 2014-2016
Academic staff with PhDs (%) – 2016
Participants can benchmark their results against averages across all institutions or comparison groups of their choice – such as a particular region or group of peers – or select from a list of popular variables. The online platform also allows users to generate customisable and individualised reports, tables, and charts – all downloadable – with the additional option of exporting the data for further analysis.
Emma Falk, the Research Officer at the ACU who is leading the project, said: 'ACU Measures is a tool that has been designed to help our member universities to not only interrogate the latest data, but also customise their searches and run personalised queries that give them the most useful comparisons for their own institutional contexts. It is not intended as a ranking tool, but instead to help institutions examine, compare, and contrast their current systems and practices.'
'The accuracy and relevance of the benchmarking data is largely contingent on our members participating and providing quality data,' Emma Falk added. 'The data that members get out of the survey is only as good as the input we get from our members.'