AASCU Innovations Exchange
Your Source for innovation in Public Higher Education

Accountability and Advocacy

Accountability Campaign Grand Valley State University Project Description: Grand Valley State University has found a comprehensive and effective way to illustrate how the university is a good steward of taxpayer, donor and student financial resources while achieving exceptional results. Government officials, journalists, donors and students benefit from the information.  The institution’s efforts began with an Accountability Report that was printed and posted online. It received national recognition from CASE as a best practice. The university has expanded from that to a full website, www.gvsu.edu/accountability, complete with a Dashboard report, a “cost reduction efforts” talking points card and six categories that illustrate Grand Valley’s resourcefulness and success.   Read more >>

Degree Attainment Efficiency Measure Purdue University Calumet Project Description: In order to compile a more complete picture of degree production at colleges and universities than is provided by the traditional, yet highly imperfect “six year graduation rate, a measure is needed that incorporates all graduates—not only those from the first-time, full-time cohort. Degree Attainment Efficiencyis a measure that includes all of the following student populations: full-time and part-time students, as well as those who attended a single institution, those who transferred in, those who began enrollment during any semester, and those who took more than six years to complete their baccalaureate degrees. Efficiency, as it relates to this measure, is defined as the number of graduates produced annually in relation to the size of the college or university’s undergraduate enrollment (FTE), indexed against a standard of perfect efficiency. A perfectly efficient baccalaureate degree granting college or university would admit 25% of its FTE each year and graduate 25% of its FTE each year. This idealized model is based on the recognition that typical baccalaureate degrees are created as four year plans of study. The Degree Attainment Efficiency Measure involves a simple calculation: (Degree Attainment Efficiency = [Graduates per year / undergraduate FTE] x 4). Applying this formula to Purdue University Calumet in 2010: Degree Attainment Efficiency = 55.9%, compared to a six-year graduation rate in the same year of 28%.This Degree Attainment Efficiency Measure provides an alternative, complementary metric that institutions can use to demonstrate productivity, accountability and the value of public investment in state postsecondary institutions. Read more >>

New Jersey College Promise Action Network New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities (NJASCU) Project Description: Since 2009, the project is a website and email-based advocacy program to educate and engage citizens supporting the New Jersey state colleges and universities on policy issues affecting public higher education, facilitate voluntary communication with their elected officials about policy priorities, and inform them of policy actions related to college access, affordability and capacity.The Network evolved from recommendations of NJ Association of State Colleges and Universities’ (NJASCU) NJ College Promise project (2008), with the input of top national and state advisors, on how to make our colleges a higher public priority, aligned with a public agenda.Currently, about 9,000 individuals have signed up with the Network.  The advocacy program is sophisticated, allowing extensive analysis of email messages sent to elected officials broken down by college, type of constituency and legislative district. The Network is supported by its own website, separate from the Association’s. The add-on cost for the system and special grassroots consulting is about $45,000 (first year) and $30,000 (successive years). Read more >>

Panther Caucus University of Northern Iowa Project Description: Panther Caucus is a new outreach initiative directed at elected officials, alumni, students and friends of the institution in order to increase public and legislative support for the University of Northern Iowa. After four years of budget cuts totaling $24 million, it became clear that the university needed to employ new communication platforms to disseminate our message. Panther Caucus began with weekly and semi-weekly email messages highlighting the university’s nationally ranked programs, value to the state and unique focus on undergraduates. The initiative has since expanded to include an advocacy day at the Capitol and student visits with legislators over holiday breaks.   Read more >>

Parity for Students: Collaborative Advocacy at the University of South Carolina University of South Carolina, USC Aiken, USC Beaufort, USC Upstate Project Description: With a unique collaboration among the three University of South Carolina public comprehensive universities—USC Beaufort, USC Upstate, and USC Aiken—the University of South Carolina implemented a strategic campaign to address an extreme inequity in state recurring funding. Equity in the public comprehensive sector was last addressed in 1996. Recurring state funding was consistently decreasing, while enrollments had grown. State funding to USC Beaufort represented 5% of its budget. USC Beaufort received $940 per FTE state resident student in recurring state funding; whereas the average for the public comprehensive sector was $2,487 per FTE state resident student.  The “Parity for Students” multi-institution advocacy initiative called for allocating state funds in the comprehensive sector on a new basis of “per full time equivalent South Carolina resident served.”  USC committed to work with the legislature to develop a more complex accountability-based funding model, once parity was attained.  Read more >>

Public Higher Education Works for New Hampshire—Collaborative Advocacy Initiative University System of New Hampshire Project Description: In summer the 2012 at the request of its Board of Trustees, the four University System of New Hampshire (USNH) members (University of New Hampshire, Plymouth State University, Keene State College and Granite State College) began a more active collaboration in legislative advocacy aimed at restoration of a near 50% reduction in the state’s appropriation to the System for operating budgets and a continuation of support for capital projects. An associate vice chancellor for government affairs had previously managed legislative dealings primarily through the System’s central office. The new initiative, which formed a government and communications council, required each institution—working autonomously and collaboratively—to develop a robust network of supporters (alumni, donors, businesses, community leaders, etc.) to impact state funding and other legislation affecting the institutions. Read more >>