Former Chancellor Lombardi to Speak on Measuring Universities’ Performance in Jan. 29 Talk Hosted by UMass Amherst Libraries

AMHERST, Mass. – How do universities improve? By measuring their performance using data and expert analysis, says former UMass Amherst Chancellor John V. Lombardi, director of the Measuring University Performance (MUP) Center. The UMass Amherst Libraries will host a talk by Lombardi about the center, now affiliated with UMass Amherst,  and his new book, How Universities Work (John Hopkins University Press, 2013), on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 3 p.m. in Room 2601 of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library.

The talk is free and open to the public. Books will be available for sale and signing.

Lombardi was chancellor of UMass Amherst from 2002 to 2007 and served as president of Louisiana State University System and University of Florida, and provost and vice president of academic affairs at Johns Hopkins. He is a regular contributor to Inside Higher Ed, a leading professional website.

Lombardi and colleagues created the MUP Center in 1999 as an outgrowth of a decade of improvement initiatives at the University of Florida when he was its president. The center is a joint venture between UMass Amherst and Arizona State University with collaborators and staff from the University of Florida and the University at Buffalo. The center also co-sponsors the United Nations University’s International Institute for Software Technology’s Global Research Benchmarking System. Lombardi is an associate director of libraries and professor of history at UMass Amherst.

“The Libraries and the center are both known for commitment to assessment at every level to achieve goals,” says Jay Schafer, director of Libraries.  “The Libraries are a fitting home for the center, as we are both data-driven organizations, focused on improving the university.”

 “The highly competitive environment for research universities, in America and around the world, increases the importance of reliable data and a careful approach to assessing comparative research performance,” says Lombardi. “The annual MUP reports provide a stable and reliable set of indicators of American university research performance and each issue offers an essay on some aspect of research university competition. The MUP Center’s multi-institutional and international collaborations give its directors, staff, and advisory board a broad base of experience and expertise.”

The MUP Center is an internationally recognized research enterprise focused on the competitive context for major research universities. Lombardi says it offers a data-driven alternative to popular press college rankings, providing information that can help universities identify strengths and weaknesses as they forge strategies to improve. The center released its current annual report, The Top American Research Universities, this month.

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