June 17, 2008
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system launches online accountability dashboardContact: Melinda Voss, (651) 296-9443, email@example.com
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system today launched the Board of Trustees Accountability Dashboard to track performance of the system and its 32 colleges and universities on 10 key measures.
The dashboard, available online at www.mnscu.edu, displays such indicators as net tuition and fees as percent of median income, student persistence and completion, related employment of graduates, licensure exam pass rates, percent change in enrollment and condition of facilities. Data are available for six of the 10 performance indicators. The other four indicators are under development.
Board Chair David Olson said: “Delivering the best possible quality of education while making effective use of resources is a fundamental obligation of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. This dashboard will help the Board of Trustees determine how to better use the system’s resources and ensure that our colleges and universities meet the educational needs of the growing numbers of Minnesotans pursuing higher education.”
In explaining why the dashboard was developed, Chancellor James H. McCormick said: “Higher education has entered a new era of accountability. For the last several years, policymakers and the public have been calling for higher education to become more transparent in what we do and how we are performing.
“It’s time for us to embrace the call for accountability with a visible, useable tool,” McCormick said, “We need to be straightforward with the public about our strengths and those areas that need improvement.”
Designed to be easy to use and understand, the dashboard provides information on how each college and university performs on the indicators. The dashboard, which took about two years to develop, assigns one of three categories to each indicator – gold for “exceeds expectations”, blue for “meets expectations” and red for “needs attention.”
So far, the system does not exceed expectations in any category, but meets expectations for percent change in enrollment, student persistence and completion, related employment of graduates, licensure exam pass rates, and the facilities condition index. Tuition and fees as a percent of median income, which seeks to measure affordability, is the only indicator at a system-wide level in the ‘needs attention’ category. No college or university had more than three indicators in the ‘needs attention’ category or more than two indicators in the ‘exceeds expectations’ category.
Peter Ewell, vice president for the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, a national non-profit group, said, “The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is taking an important step forward in addressing a serious credibility problem facing all of higher education in this country. The public wants to know what colleges and universities are delivering for the money they’re spending.”
Ewell, who advised the system during development of its dashboard, also said, “The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system has chosen indicators that show what it gives back to the people of Minnesota. I think that’s the right perspective.”
To access the dashboard, go to www.mnscu.edu and look in the right hand column. Click on accountability. The dashboard works best with Internet Explorer.
Minnesota's 31 state community and technical colleges, and universities serve more than 420,000 students across the state.