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Benchmarking in Institutional Research New Directions for Institutional Research, Number 156

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This is the 1st edition with a publication date of 1/9/2013.
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  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any CDs, lab manuals, study guides, etc.


While the term benchmarking is commonplace nowadays in institutional research and higher education, less common, is a solid understanding of what it really means and how it has been, and can be, used effectively.

This volume begins by defining benchmarking as “a strategic and structured approach whereby an organization compares aspects of its processes and/or outcomes to those of another organization or set of organizations to identify opportunities for improvement.”

Building on this definition, the chapters provide a brief history of the evolution and emergence of benchmarking in general and in higher education in particular. The authors apply benchmarking to:

  • Enrollment management and student success
  • Institutional effectiveness
  • The potential economic impact of higher education institutions on their host communities.

They look at the use of national external survey data in institutional benchmarking and selection of peer institutions, introduce multivariate statistical methodologies for guiding that selection, and consider a novel application of baseball sabermetric methods. The volume offers a solid starting point for those new to benchmarking in higher education and provides examples of current best practices and prospective new directions.

This is the 156th volume of this Jossey-Bass series. Always timely and comprehensive, New Directions for Institutional Research provides planners and administrators in all types of academic institutions with guidelines in such areas as resource coordination, information analysis, program evaluation, and institutional management.

Table of Contents

Gary D. Levy, Nicolas A. Valcik

1. How Benchmarking and Higher Education Came Together 5
Gary D. Levy, Sharron L. Ronco
This chapter discusses the history and use of different types of benchmarking practices both in general and within higher education settings. A review of major benchmarking projects in higher education is also provided.

2. Internal Benchmarking for Institutional Effectiveness 15
Sharron L. Ronco
The use of internal benchmarking in higher education institutions is discussed, as well as the steps in successfully performing internal benchmarking in a higher education setting.

3. Benchmarking and Enrollment Management 25
Robert L. Duniway
This chapter focuses on the use of benchmarking as a tool for successful recruiting and enrollment management in higher education institutions.

4. Using Institutional Survey Data to Jump-Start Your Benchmarking Process 37
Timothy K. C. Chow
The author discusses use of readily available institutional surveys to benchmark institutional performance.

5. Learning How to Play Ball: Applying Sabermetric Thinking to Benchmarking in Higher Education 47
Gary D. Levy
A brief overview of Sabermetric methods from baseball is presented, and their relevance as benchmarking tools within higher education settings is examined.

6. Selecting Peer Institutions with IPEDS and Other Nationally Available Data 61
Sarah D. Carrigan
This chapter discusses using national data to assist in selection of peer institutions in higher education, and presents an example of the peer selection process.

7. Benchmarking Tier-One Universities: "Keeping Up with the Joneses" 69
Nicolas A. Valcik, Kimberly E. Scruton, Stuart B. Murchison, Ted J. Benavides, Todd Jordan, Andrea D. Stigdon, Angela M. Olszewski
The authors discuss results of research examining links between benchmarked top-tier universities and their host municipalities, with results focusing on aspirational targeted higher educational institutions and their host municipalities.

8. Taming Multivariate Data: Conceptual and Methodological Issues 93
Lawrence J. Redlinger, John J. Wiorkowski, Anna I. Moses
This chapter discusses conceptual, methodological, and statistical challenges in selecting appropriate peer institutions for comparative purposes, and presents a statistical model to select benchmarking peers.

9. Conclusions and Future Directions 109
Fred Lillibridge
The author summarizes and integrates the previous chapters and discusses where institutional research fi ts into supporting higher education benchmarking efforts.


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