Barbara Duda Moore ’84 oversees accountability at IUP.
As director of Planning and Assessment, she and a small staff occupy a suite on the fourth floor of Sutton Hall. They gather statistics, make projections, and make sure IUP is meeting its obligations and reporting its progress to all entities that require such information. For Moore and her staff, days are filled with data—gathering it, analyzing it, and reporting it.
A student shaking hands with President Driscoll at Commencement
To ensure IUP and its sister institutions are
serving the public’s best interest and earning
their taxpayer funding, the Pennsylvania
State System of Higher Education evaluates
performance and rewards the universities
accordingly through budget allocations.
Moore and company cater to entities that require a constant supply of information—agencies that grant accreditation; the College Board and consumer guides; the Voluntary System of Accountability, an initiative of public four-year universities to provide comparative data; and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, the agency in Harrisburg to which IUP and its 13 sister institutions report.
For the last two decades, State System universities have had to meet certain performance measures—an exercise that helps to justify the portion of the budget they receive annually from the commonwealth. In total, IUP receives roughly 29 percent of its budget from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“It’s important to be accountable to our taxpayers, the parents, and the students,” said Moore, who supplies that proof to the commonwealth each year. “As higher education dollars have been dwindling, it’s very important to be able to provide evidence that we are meeting the mission of our university and of PASSHE.”
Every year, the State System awards the universities basic budgets and sets aside funds to reward those that meet the required measures, based on comparisons to the previous year’s performance and to that of their peers. According to Moore, IUP’s performance last year garnered $5.1 million out of a performance funding pool of $36.5 million.
This year, IUP is working on the following performance measures in an effort to reap that performance reward:
- Number of degrees conferred, which shows progress toward meeting a long-range expectation to increase the number of degrees awarded. Statistics cited by the commonwealth show that, by 2025, 57 percent of the adult population will need to have a postsecondary education to meet expected workforce needs.
- Achievement gaps, another long-range measure, which challenges IUP to reduce graduation-rate gaps for low-income and minority students
- Access gaps, similar to the previously mentioned measure, only pertaining to enrollment rather than graduation
- Faculty diversity, using race and gender as indicators
- Stewardship, based on the three-year average of private funds raised by the university
- Student persistence, or a student’s continuing in college, from the first to the third year and the first to the fourth year
- Support expenditures as a percent of cost of education, or the expenditure of unrestricted budget allocations on administrative functions
- Instructional productivity, a measure of the number of instructional faculty members against the number of credits students take
- External grant support, which challenges IUP to obtain more federal funding per full-time faculty member
- Number of individual donors of private gifts, which compares the number of people who have made donations to IUP through the Foundation for IUP over a three-year period and challenges IUP to exceed previous numbers
“It’s our duty to prove that we are worthy to receive the allocation that we do,” Moore said. “We at IUP also embrace the challenge to be rewarded based on our performance.
“We tell our prospective students and our alumni that we are committed to a high standard of excellence, that we are committed to creating opportunities, and that we are committed to serving the public through scholarly pursuits. We need to live up to those promises—and we do.”