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The Boston Globe

Metro

UMass to grade its own performance across five campuses

The University of Massachusetts, starting in the spring, will seek to convey performance across its five campuses by issuing a report card that will be available to the public on-line and in booklet form, UMass president Robert L. Caret announced today.

The initiative mimics a report card in style, with letter grades or symbols for different categories. It was inspired by a similar initiative Caret implemented while he headed Towson University in Maryland from 2006- 2011, university officials said.

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Caret took over as UMass president in July 2011.

“We are the research university that wakes up in the morning thinking about how to make Massachusetts a better place in which to live, raise a family, start a business, buy a house, build a career, educate one’s children,” Caret said in a statement. “It is equally important that government and business leaders in the Commonwealth recognize all that we are doing. And this new accountability report is an effort to shine a bright light on what we are doing and how we are doing.’’

He made the announcement today in remarks to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Executive Forum at the Boston Harbor Hotel.

One challenge for UMass will be transferring the idea from a single-campus university like Towson to the multi-campus UMass system. UMass officials are considering using a more generalized set of symbols, like up, down, or sideways arrows instead of letter grades, said system spokesman Robert Connolly.

The initiative is part of Caret’s efforts to highlight accountability and transparency,university officials said.

The report cards will address six categories, with topics ranging from student success, research and development, to enhancing social well-being. The categories will use 21 indicators related to performance in order to measure success and the university’s ability to improve figures such as retention and graduation rates, external fund-raising, and alumni giving.

The reports will also address ways to improve issues like making transferring within the state’s higher education system easier for students, the university said.

UMass will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2013.

Sarah N. Mattero can be reached at sarah.mattero@globe.com.
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