Benchmarking is an important principle in the University’s Quality Enhancement Framework. It is a means of comparing JCU’s performance with those of its peers, either at University wide or discipline specific levels.
JCU can make use of benchmarking at various parts of the quality cycle:
to inform planning and goal setting through referencing comparative data (approach);
to identify and implement good practice to help achieve the University’s goals (deployment);
to provide evidence based framework for change and improvement (results); and
to identify and monitor standards and performance in order to improve outcomes (improvement).
Benchmarking can be internal, competitive or generic (Doerfel and Ruben, 2002). Internal benchmarking makes comparisons between schools, faculties or divisions within the University. Competitive and generic benchmarking identifies external Universities or organisations which may (competitive) or may not (generic) be competitors but where there are similar organisational practices. The data collected may be quantitative or qualitative or a combination.
Faculties currently use data from the Faculty Performance Portfolios to compare their schools and between Faculties on a range of indicators:
Commencing and total students enrolments by subject, course and discipline
Rates of enrolments to EFTSL
Retention, attrition and progress
Service teaching by course
Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ)
Graduate Destination Survey (GDS)
Research Income by category
Higher Degree Research completion
HDR Load by PhD and Masters
Research block earnings
Success rate of Research Grant Applications
Successful applications, and income by granting bodies
Commencing HDR enrolments
Profile and casual staff
% change of staff
% academic staff with PhD
% professional / technical staff with qualifications
% indigenous staff
% staff in senior positions by gender
Long service leave
Income generated by source
Economic and population
Where possible this date is benchmarked with other Australian Universities or at least compared with the sector average.
Faculties, Divisions and the University as a whole undertake benchmarking activities to identify best practice and develop strategies for improvement. The Universities benchmarking activities currently include the following:
TYPE OF DATA
IRU members have agreed to share an extensive range of data for benchmarking purposes encompassing indicators for student profile, research and research training, undergraduate teaching and learning, student success, staff, finances and facilities and environment.
Innovative Research Universities (IRU)
Teaching and Learning
Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ), Graduate Destination Survey (GDS), Postgraduate Experience Questionnaire (PREQ)
Graduate Careers Australia (GCA)
Aspects of teaching and learning resources and support measures
Association for Academic Language and Learning (AALL)
Council of Australian Directors of Academic Development (CADAD)
External course and discipline accreditation
Professional accrediting bodies in around 20 disciplines
Student satisfaction and engagement:
Australasian Universities Survey on Student Engagement (AUSSE)
Australian Council for Educational Research
International (and Domestic) Student Barometer (ISB)
Student profile and outcomes
Student application information
Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC)
Range of details on student population characteristics and outcomes
DEEWR/DIISR Performance Portfolio
Research & Innovation
Research income, publications, citations outcomes
DEEWR Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC)
Excellence in Research Australia (ERA)
Aspects of international operations
Australian Universities International Directors Forum (AUIDF)
Collaboration between Australian and New Zealand Universities to compare and contrast library infrastructure, operational and resourcing data.
Council of Australian University Libraries (CAUL)
Aspects of library operations
IRU Benchmarking Monographs 2010: The IRU Libraries compared processes and calculated the average unit cost of adding a monograph to the collection at each IRU Library. JCU has the third lowest unit cost and also acquires the second lowest number of monograph items. Given that increased volume normally reduces processing costs – economies of scale theory – the result emphasizes the efficiency and effectiveness of the JCU Library administrative processes for monographs.
IRU Library Group
Queensland University Libraries Office of Collaboration (QULOC)
Information Technology (IT) & Resources
Aspects of IT services
Council of Australian University Directors of IT (CAUDIT)
Marketing & Engagement
Aspects of marketing services
Pilot project on aspects of community engagement
Australian Universities Community Engagement Alliance (AUCEA)
Workplace health and safety
Practices across participating institutions
Australasian Universities Safety Association (AUSA)
Maintenance costs and trends, car parking
Tertiary Education Facilities Management Association (TEFMA)
Student Counselling and Careers Services
Standards, policies and procedures, and current issues for Counselling and Careers Services in universities
National Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (NAGCAS)
Alesco HRMIS benchmarked against 19 other Universities across Australia and New Zealand.
HES HRMIS Group and Talent2 User Group
Human resource data
QUT Human Resources Universities Benchmarking Program
Financial and Business Services
Costing and benchmarking of administrative activities (highlighting the level of effort and expenditure on administrative activities)
Administrative Costing Benchmarking Group (4 Universities)
Costing of university level education and training in health and veterinary science disciplines.
DEEWR – Higher Education Base Funding and Cluster Levels Review
Benchmarking Group (4 Universities)
The University encourages benchmarking with comparable rational and international institutions as a method of enhancing performance. Benchmarking should be undertaken under the following principles:
be in support of the University’s mission, values and strategic intent;
be committed to the learning and sharing of good practice;
be undertaken only where the data is relevant and comparable and the results of which are anticipated to assist in improving practice; and
be undertaken confidentially within the partner group with agreed next or data publication and level of information to be exchanged.
The Quality Enhancement Office should be consulted prior to benchmarking activities to ascertain whether there are any similar or overlapping benchmarking activities currently being conducted.
If a formal request for information from another institution is required, approval must be obtained by the relevant Divisional or Faculty Head or in the case of a University wide benchmarking activity the Vice Chancellor. If the scope of the benchmarking activities includes multiple areas, approval must be sought from the head of each area prior to the commencement.
The responsibility for conducting benchmarking activities is the faculty or divisional head under whose authority the project was approved, or their delegate.
Written agreements with other organisations with which the projects are undertaken must be completed through the University’s Commercial Services Office.
It is expected that benchmarking projects will be funded by the division or faculty which initiates them, though submissions can be made through the budgeting process if there is funding allocated and the projects fulfills the criteria for the funding.
Benchmarking project reports should be provided to the Quality Enhancement office where confidentiality allows.