Public and private universities are under intense scrutiny with regard to their cost and perceived value. A number of books have been published echoing the themes in the title of Hacker and Dreifus's book Higher Education? How Colleges are Wasting our Money and Failing our Kids. The pressures come from several sources: the rising costs of education, the national need for more college graduates prepared to meet specific workforce demands, and media interest in the ways universities and colleges are reinventing themselves to shore up strength.
The University of California's Accountability Report was introduced by President Mark G. Yudof upon his appointment as president in 2008. It prepares the University to be responsive to precisely these pressures. Covering a wide range of topics, it measures how well and at what cost the University is meeting its goals. It looks at how its core functions are affected by changes in internal and external environments. It also supports strategic planning and informs budgetary decision making; helps ensure responsible stewardship of the institution; and promotes and reflects the University's commitment to be open and accountable to all Californians.
This year we highlight the following key findings, which reflect substantive changes in the data or present new data for the first time.
As a management tool, this report is written for the University's leadership, faculty and staff. But it is also intended to be a public document, written for the broad range of University stakeholders: state legislators, prospective donors, parents, teachers and contribute so much to the maintenance of this institution. All of these groups have a need and a right to know how well UC is performing.
The report assesses the University's performance in achieving key goals across a wide spectrum of activity from undergraduate access, affordability and success to the University's budget and finances. It is divided into three parts: an analytic essay (Part I) takes a more in-depth look at an issue of timely importance to the University; the body of the accountability report (Part II) uses data to assess progress in specific areas; and a comprehensively revised appendix (Part III) that presents the data used in Part II as well as information about sources and methods.
The analytic essay is a new feature. It uses data gathered from a recent survey of UC alumni who graduated in 1989, 1999 and 2004 to evaluate the University's continued performance and future challenges as an engine of social mobility for the people of California.
Part II is divided into 13 chapters, each focusing on an aspect of the academic enterprise. Chapters use a common format. They begin with a description of Universitywide goals, then identify key themes and trends that emerge from the data that illuminate progress in achieving those goals. It includes 100 unique indicators (some in multiple parts), 33 of them new since last year. Graphs, tables and charts are comprehensively reformatted since last year, making them easier to interpret, and more explanatory text has been provided, including headlines that focus on key issues and trends.
Three kinds of data are used in Part II: longitudinal data that track campus trends over time; systemwide data that compare the UC campuses collectively to averages for the 28 non-UC public and 26 private U.S. research universities that, in 2009-10, belonged to the American Association of Universities (AAU); and individual data that allow UC campuses to be compared to one another and to eight research universities — four public (Illinois, Michigan, SUNY Buffalo and Virginia) and four private (Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Yale) — that UC historically has used to benchmark faculty salaries.
Conventions were adopted for Part II to ensure the report's accessibility to a general audience as well as its integrity and internal consistency:
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