Jason Nicholas, director of NMU Institutional Research and Analysis, is on the advisory board for a new national benchmarking project focusing on nonacademic support units at four-year institutions across the country. These units range from financial aid, advisement centers and libraries to dining services, housing and buildings/grounds. The project will analyze their structure, staffing, efficiency and effectiveness. It will also generate data to help drive resource allocation and other decision-making related to support units.
At NMU, only 36 percent of the 1,138 employees are faculty and instructors. Most of the others serve in support roles.
"Support units oftentimes find it difficult to access national benchmarking data,” said Nicholas, who is one of 10 national advisory board members. “This project focuses on creating a system that provides universities access to comparable data based on similar peer institution characteristics. Having access to this type of data will only serve to strengthen our continuous improvement efforts in the years to come. I'm very grateful to be participating in such an important project."
The project is a partnership between UW-Stout, Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, and the National Higher Education Benchmarking Institute at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan. The NHEBI will manage data collection and reporting with a customized website using its existing proprietary software.
This is the second time NHEBI has worked with a partner in the four-year sector. It recently developed a process for data collection, management and reporting—along with a web interface—for the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).