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Measuring our progress

As WSU embarks on the Drive to 25, campus leaders will measure the initiative’s success, report progress, and celebrate accomplishments.

11 Metrics

After discussions about the Drive to 25 across the WSU system during fall 2016, the campus senior leadership team and deans chose 11 metrics to measure progress toward the goal of achieving recognized status one of the top 25 public research universities in the U.S. The metrics, which are in alignment with the WSU Strategic Plan, are categorized as follows:

AAU metrics

Because the Drive to 25 maintains the University’s long-standing aspirations to gain membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU), 4 metrics were chosen that influence selection to the association.

  • Federal research and development expenditures
  • Faculty awards
  • National Academy membership
  • Citations: Thomson Reuters InCites
Peer-comparison metrics

4 metrics that are quantitatively measurable, fit with university core values, and are commonly used by other universities nationwide were selected.

  • Total research and development expenditures
  • Doctorates awarded
  • Annual giving
  • 6-year graduation rate
WSU-specific metrics

4 metrics were chosen that the University community identified as important to the institution but are not easily comparable to other peer universities.

  • Percentage of undergraduates involved in research, scholarship, and creative discovery
  • Placement rate of graduates
  • Percentage of underrepresented minority faculty, staff, and students

Determining progress

Progress will be measured by taking the average of the University’s standing among public research universities using the selected peer-comparison and AAU metrics as reported annually by The Center for Measuring University Performance (MUP) at Arizona State University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. MUP publishes a report each year identifying the top American research universities.

What MUP metrics include

MUP evaluates universities using 10 measurements:

  • Total research and development expenditures
  • Federal research and development expenditures
  • Endowment assets
  • Annual giving
  • National Academy members
  • Faculty awards
  • Doctorates granted
  • Post doctoral appointees
  • Median SAT scores
  • National Merit Scholars

WSU’s Institutional Effectiveness Council (IEC) already tracks most of these measures through its ongoing assessment and reporting processes. (See Table 1, at right.)

MUP’s Top 25 list

MUP’s top 25 public research universities are those institutions that rank in the top 25—among all public universities—on at least one of the 10 measures cited above. Using those criteria, a total of 42 public institutions qualify as Top 25 public universities in the MUP 2015 report.

MUP’s Top 26-50 list

The next tier of Top Public Research Universities (26-50) identifies those institutions that rank 26 through 50 among their public counterparts on at least one of the 10 measures above. There are 31 public institutions on the Top 26-50 list in the MUP 2015 report. WSU is included in this tier.


Table 1. Comparison of MUP’s measures to the IEC’s data collection based on the four strategic themes in the WSU Strategic Plan, 2014-2019

MUP MeasureWSU Strategic Plan – IEC Measure x Theme
Total research and development expenditureTheme 1a(1)—Total R&D expenditures
Federal research and development expendituresTheme 1a(2)—Federal R&D expenditures
Endowment assetsTheme 4f(55)—Endowment assets
Annual giving Theme 4f(54)—Annual private support
National Academy MembersTheme 1b(8)—Number of National Academy members per 1,000 faculty
Faculty awardsTheme 1b(6)—Number of prestigious/highly prestigious faculty awards, number of faculty awards per 1,000 faculty
Doctorates grantedTheme 2a(19)—Aligns with the CMUP metric “Graduate degrees awarded including master’s, doctoral, professional, high demand, and STEM”
Post-doc appointeesTheme 1e(15)—Increasing engagement and productivity of graduate students, postdoctoral associates (Not fully assessed)
Median SAT scoresTheme 2(d)29—Average SAT (best score) of incoming freshmen
National Merit and Achievement Scholars