What can't be measured, can't be managed.
This old management adage is still very relevant today and particularly for Berkeley as it moves towards implementing its High Performance Culture. We need to be able to measure the quality of our work in order to make improvements.
What does this mean for Berkeley?
At UC Berkeley, we have a long-held tradition of access and excellence that has distinguished us from other institutions and established UC Berkeley as the top public university in the world. Metrics can be used to gauge how well our work supports our twin pillars of access and excellence.
What are the benefits of using metrics?
As we move towards building a world-class operation to support our teaching, research, and public service mission, it is important for every staff member to know how their contribution affects the larger mission of the university. Public sector organizations such as UC Berkeley face particular challenges in this regard. We have multiple oversight points and stakeholders, diverse sets of strategies, and lofty goals that are often hard to define. Like many public institutions, we also face difficulties tying incentives to team and individual performance. Nevertheless, there are a lot of best practices that we can draw upon to help us to measure our progress. Benefits include:
- Clear and transparent communication of priorities throughout the university
- Alignment on campus-wide goals and consistent metrics to assess overall performance (e.g., support plans that are clearly aligned to the academic priorities)
- Well-defined goals and metrics cascaded to units
- Clear guidelines on how to assess performance with strengthened accountability and incentives aligned with performance
What are the goals of the VCAF?
- Provide the financial resources to support Berkeley in achieving its strategic objectives.
- Develop a high performing administrative staff and operations, and the facilities and technology infrastructure needed to be a leading university in the 21st century.
This is particularly important given the dramatic shifts in Berkeley’s operating context and the need for us to respond more quickly to change. With State funding at less than 11% of total resources, UC Berkeley is now in a significantly more competitive environment – competing for contracts and grants, for philanthropic gifts, and for students who are paying more for their education.
What is the scope of the Metrics Project?
As part of our commitment towards continuous improvement, we will build upon our leadership development work to increase our understanding of and commitment towards a High Performance Culture. At the process level, we will define clear institutional guidelines and goals against which to measure performance across the campus. In addition, we plan to capitalize on the new infrastructure that we are creating to develop useful management and performance–orientated reports, improve consistency of measures across campus, and improve our ability to address external audiences (and demonstrate our results) more directly.
At the unit level, this project will provide managers with a tool kit to enable them to link their strategies to their budgets and other measurable metrics so that they can run their unit in a way that clearly reflects their priorities and the inevitable trade-offs.
What are the next steps?
Many units are already using metrics across campus. Work has already been undertaken by the CalMetrics team of the Leadership Development Program (LDP) to explore the facets of a campus-wide adoption of metrics to deliver the foundational best practices, recommendations on implementation and the tools to facilitate to adoption.
Louise Davidson, our new metrics coordinator, was recently hired to build upon these respective recommendations and to create a consistent framework. As the project progresses, we will be posting more information on the Metrics Project Page.