New Public Website Offers Unprecedented Look at UT System Productivity

AUSTIN – The University of Texas System today launched a comprehensive website that offers the public an unprecedented look at how UT System institutions are performing on a variety of measures, as well as costs associated with obtaining a college degree. 

Known as the UT System Productivity Dashboard, the website provides 10 core indicators of performance at all System institutions, such as graduation rates and degree costs, as well as other longitudinal data that allows students, parents, stakeholders and others to assess the effectiveness and productivity at universities. 

The dashboard was produced as part of Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa’s “Framework Action Plan” to advance excellence at institutions and make the UT System more transparent to the public. It provides performance measures in nine focus areas cited for improvement in the action plan, including undergraduate access and success, research, information technology investments, philanthropy, doctoral programs and faculty and staff excellence. 

While already a robust analytical tool, the website will become increasingly comprehensive as enhancements and other measures are added over the next 12 months.   

“I believe the dashboard will serve as a national model for transparency in higher education,” Cigarroa said. “An easily accessible public dashboard is critical to the action plan, as it will assure the effective implementation and comprehensive measurement of UT System initiatives and related metrics. Instead of waiting on annual reports on a myriad of topics such as graduation rates, research expenditures and faculty workload, students, parents, faculty, staff, policymakers and the general public will be able to see real-time snapshots of these productivity measures across the UT System.” 

The UT System Board of Regents voted in August to provide funding to develop a comprehensive dashboard—aimed at becoming a national model—which will allow the UT System to take real time snapshots of productivity measures across the System. The dashboard and data contained in the dashboard will be on-line and available to parents, students, legislators, and the public. In addition, the dashboard will allow institution presidents and UT System Administration to observe and analyze trends such that the information can be used to make proactive adjustments to reach desired outcomes of productivity and efficiency. 

It also will reduce complexity through standardized definitions and data feeds to the new system, while ensuring data integrity and streamlining processes. 

“The dashboard represents a significant advancement in the UT System’s efforts to publicly report productivity data at all of our institutions and further demonstrates our commitment to transparency and accountability in all that we do,” UT System Board of Regents’ Chairman Gene Powell said. “I firmly believe the framework action plan presented by Chancellor Cigarroa aligns the efforts of the institutions, System Administration and the Board of Regents, and charts a clear path toward providing UT institutions the most cost-efficient means for producing graduates while at the same time increasing the quality of education for our students across the UT System. We should be proud of the efforts by the chancellor and his team for launching this website so swiftly,” Powell added.

Through the use of software from SAS, a business analytics software and services company, the UT System has created an interactive, integrated system that will store and display data and metrics collected directly from UT System institutions, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and various other sources.  It establishes a central collection point for data and calculation of metrics for display on the dashboard. The project will decrease the burden on the UT System Information Technology department by providing simple access through the web for both the public and administrators.

About The University of Texas System
The University of Texas System is one of the nation's largest higher education systems, with nine academic universities and six health institutions. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $13.1 billion (FY 2012) including $2.3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Preliminary student enrollment exceeded 215,000 in the 2011 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state's health care professionals annually. With roughly 87,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.