Implementation of a system of indicators and of performance measurement for the Università della Svizzera italiana

The goal of this implementation project is to allow a systematic production of significant indicators for the assessment of research and teaching performance at Università della Svizzera italiana through the creation and management of a university-level database.

The fact of relying on integrated, reliable and constantly updated data concerning research and teaching activities of the University is becoming more and more important, especially in the light of the increase in size the institution is experiencing. Whereas most relevant data are already available, a systemization of data sources, methodological consolidation, as well as proper data structuring for the purpose of indicators production still need to be implemented.

Namely, the implementation of such an integrated data system will allow to respond in good time to requests for updated and reliable information serving different aims, such as faculties and institutes self-evaluation reports; strategic planning at the university and faculty level; external communication (data for the USI website and for several international rankings and projects).

The core of the system will be a relational database programmed in MS Access that will contain all relevant data aggregated at the whole university level, as well as at faculties and institutes level. That database will be linked to original data sources that currently exist at the University, namely to the personnel database, the research report database and the publications database. To this aim, some adaptions to those sources will be required.

Data collection and structuring will be aimed at producing a broad palette of indicators covering several different domains: resources available at the university (human resources by category, external funds by type); teaching and research performance; technology transfer. Data will be collected from 2010 on and the system will be constructed so that it will allow longitudinal analysis by tracking evolution over time.

Concerning project implementation, it will be articulated in three different phases.

During the first phase basic choices related to the indicators’ system construction (definition of relevant indicators and of related raw variables; identification of data sources) will be made and the database architecture will be defined. The output of this phase will lead to the realization of a methodological handbook.

In the second phase, data will be collected and organized into the MS Access database. Integration between the new database and already existing data sources will be tested and implemented. In order to test the approach defined in the first phase as well as its technical feasibility, data will be collected first for one baseline year (2014) and one faculty. Data collection and organization into the database will then be extended to all faculties and years from 2010 on.

The third and last phase will concern data quality and validation procedures, as well as the assessment of their suitability for indicators’ production.